Wednesday, 1st April 2009.
I'm sitting in a lovely room at Columbia University as I'm early for my appointment with Ellen. Universities are often humbling places to be as you are reminded of how many people have pursued the road to higher learning. We're off to Houston this afternoon. I've learnt so much from our hosts here. Mike has been into film and theatre all of his life so he has really inspired me. He's even done animations for Sesame Street.
I'm now waiting for our flight to leave LaGuardia airport.
My meeting went really well. Ellen was running late from an earlier meeting but her associate and I talked until she arrived.
The main points from our discussion were:
Wednesday, 8th April 2009.
Today is my biggest day of appointments for this trip. I've already met with Linda from the Center of Education at Rice University here in Houston. It was a good meeting and she particularly liked the idea of students making commentaries on their own work.
I'm writing this from the M.D. Anderson library at the University of Houston. Bernard invited me to lunch and to stay on for a class tonight on "Using digital video in education". I'll be presenting some of my videos from "A Day in the Life 2008". I wish I had some student animations ready to show too. At least this justifies the amount of time I spent working on those films. I also need to keep working on the script for "Knock on Wood" as I've promised to give it out to the children when I return to Melbourne.
Thursday, 9th April 2009.
Last night went pretty well. I got to present for about 40 minutes so I mainly focused my presentation on how to stage a Film Festival. My main points were:
1/ Always hold the event at a real cinema and not at school so it is a special occasion that justifies the work you put into it.
2/ Export the finished film back onto DV tape for the highest quality playback and improved reliability.
I also covered practical issues such as filming outside in windy conditions, voice overs, editing, etc.
Monday, 20th April 2009.
We fly back to New York tomorrow but much has happened since my last entry.
My meeting last Tuesday (April 14th) at Texas State University in San Marcos was another fruitful occasion. After talking with Liz about curriculum reform I realised that such reform is primarily a political and regional process. Research can inform curriculum reform but not to the extent that I had envisioned. This helps me to understand what is realistic in terms of possible outcomes from my research. She was also big on "design" and gave me some references for further reading.
My meeting with Min at the University of Texas the following day was also good as she specialises in Multimedia authoring. She was impressed with my enable series of CD-ROMs and described me as an expert in creating mutimedia which was nice. She also encouraged me regarding the commercial potential of the enable series.
I've started storyboarding the punctuation and mathematics animations in preparation for my next staff presentation at Elwood Primary School. I don't have a time organised but I'm sure something can be arranged for later in Term 2.
My main work over the last two weeks has been finishing the "Knock on Wood" script. Last night I went to see Mavis Staples sing at the Houston International Festival. I managed to get back stage after the gig and spent around 10 minutes with her chatting about the musical I'm working on. Meeting her was awesome and the perfect way to consolidate my thoughts on the script.
Wednesday, 29th April 2009.
I've been back in Australia since Sunday and back at work since Monday. I've updated Rhonda about my punctuation ideas for animations and decided that I should make one myself so I can show the staff exactly what I have in mind.
I also had my grade 6 ICT class yesterday. Their animations are coming along nicely. I also mentioned to them that short animations without audio can be easily made into animated GIFs.
My University of Melbourne ethics submission has been approved but I'll need to have it amended now as I'd now like to include all of the Storyboard content on the Internet.