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My 104 seconds of fame

July 26, 2011

This story aired at 7pm on my local news station, 11Alive:

You can read the full story here: Angry Birds…in the classroom?

It was great fun to spend 90 minutes today working with reporter Matt Pearl who spent a tremendous amount of time interviewing me about how I used Angry Birds in my physics classes.

Some observations:

  • Social media is changing local news reporting just like it is changing education. Matt discovered this story from reading one of the many blog posts that picked up the story a few weeks ago, and he was tweeting about it before, during and after the interview.
  • Technology is making news reporting one very lean operation—Matt did everything from directing the interview to setting up all the shots and lighting to, I assume later editing and logging the final video and written story for production on both TV and the blog all under a pretty tight deadline. How can we get our students to think in similar ways? Wouldn’t it be cool if students didn’t just write a paper on Hamlet, but instead learned how to turn that paper into a blog entry, and then direct a short staged video interview of Hamlet to understand his psyche?
  • In any process like this, I’m always amazed by the amount of work that goes into even the tiniest finished product. Putting together even the shortest video requires a big investment of time and research. This seems like a great lesson for students.
  • I’m also struck that the most important part of producing stories like this seems to be the decisions made in editing, something that is often completely neglected in school—and writing blog posts quickly on the fly. 🙂
  • Even though I’ve taught a journalism class, I’ve never been the subject of a television interview, and it is fun to see hints of how a story might come together during an interview, and then see how it actually does come together in the end.
  • I could really use a nice wireless microphone—those things are sweet, and it would solve all my problems with trying to record my own class, if I could pair it with a good room mic. Suggestions?

Some thank you’s:

  • A big thank you to Rhett Allain, who totally inspired me with his original post on Angry Birds.
  • Thanks to my School and Director of Communications who did so much to help organize everything during the shoot.
  • A HUGE thank you to my in-laws who were willing to babysit my daughter at the last minute today when 11Alive called around 10am to ask me to do the story today.
9 Comments leave one →
  1. July 26, 2011 2:13 am

    That was great! Congratulations on your 104 seconds of fame. You deserve it. 🙂

  2. July 26, 2011 6:07 am

    John, great highlight of your work in this area! As for the mic – we can get you one of those. I believe the CTIS are ordering some for those who screencast regularly. Contact JA, CH, or JG.

  3. July 26, 2011 9:48 am

    I use an Audio Technica Pro 88W system when I record plays and choir (put the mic by the stage and I am in the back of the auditorium with camcorder). Never thought about using it to screencast????

    • July 26, 2011 9:55 am

      I don’t really need it for screencasts. The mic on my computer or headset is fine for that. What I need is a mic for recording my classes. And what I want is to be able to mic myself with a wireless lavilier mic, and the whole classroom with a better than on camera mic, and then combine the two feeds to capture the the full audio from my classroom when I am filming my teaching, and whiteboarding meetings in particular. And I’d prefer to do this with a minimum of post production fiddling, so this probably means combining the two tracks into one and feeding that to my small Kodak Zi-8 (which takes an external input), rather than recording the tracks separately.

  4. July 26, 2011 8:42 pm

    15 minutes = 104 seconds, I guess. Close enough. But congrats anyway. Who’d have thunk this story would become so well-traveled? FYI, I did a physics workshop last week, and I included your Angry Birds activity with Tracker. So about 30 more teachers in rural OK now know about it too.

    I smell an online collaborative database of video clips which could be used for physics investigations. (Or is that something else I smell?) Seed it with Angry Birds. Whaddaya think?

    • July 27, 2011 1:27 am

      I think that’s a great idea. I think it is something we could support in the SBG problem dataabse that we are already working on, so there might not be a need to create a whole new database.

  5. pam rousseau permalink
    July 26, 2011 10:40 pm

    Need a “like” button 😉


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