Where We Are Right Now:
The last two months have been extraordinarily busy in both good and not-so-good ways. I haven’t posted many entries lately, partly because we are now deep into this current round of podcast episode development (more on this in later posts) and partly because of things going on at my school (MATC).
My two Multimedia I classes are both deeply involved in planning and research for their topics and we have begun to videotape them already. One topic chosen by a team this year was stained glass, its history, and how it is made. I contacted a renowned local studio (Holdman Studio at Thanksgiving Point, owned by Tom and Trevor Holdman) to see about the possibility of videotaping how they do stained glass. I was able to visit the studio that afternoon and found that they also have a blown glass facility, and watched as Trevor Holdman and an assistant (Brent) created an amazing glass platter using techniques that haven’t changed much in 1000 years. The science and physics of the glass as a material are fascinating. We also found a marvelous subject expert on blown glass in Gay Wyn Quance, who teaches classes at the studio and agreed to come to MATC for an interview, which we conducted on Jan. 28. This gave my students some practice setting up and using the equipment. Then yesterday, Feb. 11, we traveled to Thanksgiving Point and videotaped Gay Wyn, Trevor, and Brent in the studio creating blown glass plates and platters. The video footage and photos are excellent, and our task now is to capture the footage, write transcripts, create final scripts, and edit over five hours of tapes down to about 15 minutes for our final episode. We plan on having the episode ready by early March. We still need to return and videotape the stained glass portion of the workshop.
Other teams are looking at liquid nitrogen and oxygen, pottery making and ceramics, and synthetic diamond manufacturing. Over the next few days I will be setting up tours and contacting experts to go over the wiki site that these students have been creating, at:
Another factor in not updating this blog as well as I had planned is that I have been writing a series of grant applications, including a big grant for Informal Science Education through the National Science Foundation. I managed to get the grant done in time on Dec. 18, then spent most of Christmas Break creating supplemental materials to send in, including a podcast episode with all of our previous entries summarized as description and rationale for the project in video format, with images and animations. It was difficult to create, at 23 minutes of animations and images with no video footage at all (except some news footage of the Mona sodium azide spill mentioned above). I am now working on a grant for Intel Corporation, and preparing for several presentations at Utah teacher conferences coming up in the next few weeks.
On the unfortunate side, after discussions with my program managers at Mountainland Applied Technology College (MATC) I have decided to remove this project from my courses at MATC once the current round of podcast episodes is complete. I was hoping that the students there could continue their involvement in the project, gaining invaluable practical experience in video production. But because of lack of vision and fear of risk on the part of the managers at MATC, it is clear that after this May I will no longer want MATC to have any involvement in the project. It won’t make any real difference to this project as a whole, other than it would be good to have more students act as reviewers who know something about video editing. It may mean we will now involve students in media design from other schools instead. But because of the separation that is now needed for this project, I haven’t been able to spend as much time updating this blog. Now that our video projects are in full swing, I will return to this and keep you posted on our progress.