pdf annotation exercise: Hx of AV Ed

Finding this assignment a mite frustrating. My first attempt at downloading a pdf annotation app, resulted in me having to update my OS, which resulted in all kinds of new craziness on my iPad and I still wasn’t able to download or find and use Mendeley.

Tried Evernote without luck as well. Finally decided to try the bundled Mac app Preview, and had difficulty opening some of the readings in it. So here’s my first stab at the only reading I could get to work with the various challenges presented.

Preview

Saettler, P. (1955). History of A-V Education in City School Systems. Audio Visual Communication Review 3(2), 109 – 118.

Hmmm…doesn’t look like any of my notes are showing up. Let me try again.

HxOfA-VEd

Trying one last time – this effort on my laptop with a different article using the Kami extension on Google Chrome. https://goo.gl/apJdtD

 

Nichols, J. (2006). Countering Censorship: Edgar Dale and the Film Appreciation MovementCinema Journal 46(1), 3 – 23.

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Let’s Get the Rhythm at PCFF: Review & Analysis

Film Review 

Let’s Get The Rhythm (USA, 2014) is a 53 minute long documentary that explores the importance and universality of girls’ hand-clapping games. Utilizing both archival and current footage of hand-clapping, interspersed with interviews with girls, parents, musicians, cognitive neuroscientists, and ethnomusicologists about its significance in girls’ lives and in life in general, first-time filmmaker Irene Chagall develops a beat of her own, almost polyrhythmic enough to hold the attention of a roomful of children for an hour in the late afternoon on a school day.

Starting out with one woman’s assertion that a remedy for dis-ease may be rhythm, the film did a good job of stretching ones thoughts about these games that (mostly) girls play with each other, in all parts of the globe, to include a recognition that they are one of our most wide-spread oral traditions, as well as a very social and joyful activity.

Making connections between other genres of hand-clapping such as Spanish flamenco palmas; and water slapping of the South Pacific; and the patting juba and hambone of African-American slave traditions and the African diaspora, the video clips provide time travel as well as global travel for viewers.

One segment presenting information on the release of oxytocin – the hormone of love and trust – that occurs during these musical, rhythmic games, includes speculation about them contributing to the more developed social-relational skills and greater ease with affectionate touch that many girls exhibit in contrast to many boys. Another segment interviewed some young girls about what some provocative (sex or drug references) lyrics of their clapping game meant, and it was obvious from their answers they didn’t understand them in the way many adults might. I was glad to see this included in the film. One of the core principles of media literacy is that “People use their individual skills, beliefs and experiences to construct their own meanings from media messages.” Pope and Round (2014) have written about their research into this aspect and their conclusion “that children’s responses to children’s literature—already massively overlooked in comparison to the perceptions of adult reviewers and critics—need to be further explored.”

With the help of experienced documentarian Steve Zeitlin, and interview segments with the likes of folklorist Bess Lomax Hawes (the archival footage was from brother Alan Lomax’s collection), cultural anthropologist Dr. Kyra Gaunt, and neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks, as well as footage taken during her own world travels, Chagall has constructed a cogent argument for taking girls rhythm games seriously.

PCFF Screenings Program Elements Description and Analysis

At the 2016 Providence Children’s Film Festival (PCFF), Let’s Get the Rhythm was screened three times, in three different locations, and had an after-screening film talk or workshop at each. I attended the entire event at the Wanskuck Library and arrived toward the end of the film screening at the Wheeler School Gilder Center for the Arts. My goal for this report was to review the film, compare and contrast these two events being held in very different venues and parts of the city, and provide some analysis from a media literacy perspective.

The format and program elements for most of the PCFF events I attended was the same. As start time nears and audience members enter, a kid-friendly, colorful, cartoon-like, and very professional-looking festival promo reel plays. Stills or snippets of many of the films in this year’s festival are included. At start time, audiences are all welcomed to the film festival, a few festival features like the PCFF Film Passport and the voting ballot are explained, and a brief appeal for donations is made. The film about to be shown is introduced in some brief way. With this film, the filmmaker, Irene Chagall, who was in attendance, was also introduced, and her talk or workshop after the screening was mentioned and attendance encouraged. Not all films at PCFF offered a talk or workshop following the screening.

Setting and Behavior of the Participants

A free screening and workshop event on Friday, February 19th at 2:30PM took place at the Wanskuck Library, a branch of the public Providence Community Library system in the North End of the city. About 45 people attended, predominately children of color, 6-7 adults, and PCFF staff and volunteers. Wanskuck Library is a well-used neighborhood library, with an active children’s area and programming serving 30-40 children every afternoon. Besides the attendees at the film event, there were many children upstairs working on computers and activities at tables in the children’s area.

The film was screened in the downstairs activity room with folding chairs set up horseshoe-style in front of the screen. Along with PCFF materials on a display table, popcorn in brown paper bags was offered and disappeared quickly. Additional folding chairs were brought out to accommodate late arrivals, and some attendees stood in the back.

When the promo reel ran, some children gasped audibly at the scene of a tightrope walker falling off the rope from high in the sky. There was some concern expressed by the festival’s Director of Programming about how kids were horsing around.

In her article on film festivals, media and community, Carole Roy (2012) wrote:

“For some festival attendees, the films were their first exposure to information that did not come from the mainstream media.” (p.299)

“Because most people approach films and film festivals as leisure, they are often more open and receptive to new information.” (p.305)

I wondered if both statements might be true for some of the children attending the film that day. Being surrounded by friends and peers after a day at school plus popcorn certainly would lead to a relaxed and leisurely attitude and atmosphere, which could bode well for an expectation to sit quietly through a documentary film…or not. As it turned out, it was a bit of both. The children were, for the most part, engaged during the first half of the film, but eventually, some started getting up and going in search of more popcorn or leaving the room to go to the bathroom, or perhaps upstairs. Most returned, but movement and activity for about a quarter of the children participants was common in the second half. There was some talking, and occasional giggles or shouts (“I saw a naked man!”) at some more adult-oriented moments or when the kids in the film said something they found funny (“Patty cake is so last month!”).

In Teaching with Movies: A guide for Parents and Educators. (Heartland Film, 2012) the authors discuss the research about the development of overarching patterns in media viewing which begins early in life, and I wondered if the half-hour children’s television show time slot pattern might have been at work here. I also thought about Akthar Badshah’s quote in the Dialogue on Public Libraries video that the library “is the family room of the community.” These kids were definitely acting like they were in a family room!

When the film was over, the room was cleared of chairs, leaving a newly popcorn polka-dotted carpet for the workshop. Irene Chagall taught the 25 or so kids and adults who stayed a Turkish hand-clapping game, and two students from Providence College taught them another. Both kids and adults were very engaged in this workshop, which was starting to wind down when I had to leave at 4:45.

At the Wheeler School on Saturday, February 20th at 12:30PM, the ticket-required ($10 adult, $7.50 youth/seniors) screening at the Gilder Center for the Arts was a somewhat different experience. Wheeler is an independent school on the East Side of Providence, and the two-year-old Gilder Center for the Arts auditorium is a modern venue with an audience capacity of 350 or more in comfortable tiered seating.

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I counted a total of 68 predominantly white attendees when I arrived, including 28 children. I noticed two African-American families.

The audience watched quietly during the part of the film I saw, and had a number of questions for the director during the Q&A. Chagall also taught the Turkish hand-clap game here, and many audience members participated, with a bit more difficulty in the theater-like seating than in the open space activity room at Wanskuck Library.

Conclusion/Thoughts

Throughout the week of the Providence Children’s Film Festival, I saw three feature films, 19 shorts, attended three workshops and the opening and closing events. Via the magic of film, I visited eleven countries – more than my PCFF Film Passport could accommodate. I spoke to and met many new people from Rhode Island and beyond. From my media literacy perspective, even some minor additions to the festival could produce much more film-savvy and media literate audiences. My experience with facilitating media literacy presentations and workshops for both youth and adults, parents and professionals, is that all audiences enjoy learning these skills and insights. Some thoughts about introducing more of these elements to PCFF are:

  1. Include, at the very least, a bit more in the introduction about the genre of the film.
  2. Make more attempts to engage the audience by determining prior knowledge of the subject matter of the films about to be screened. In a film like Let’s Get the Rhythm, that could mean asking those present if they know any hand-clapping games, and maybe even allowing a quick demonstration before mentioning the workshop.
  3. Using prior knowledge, challenge the audience to watch actively: How many of the games in the film do you recognize? Whose voices are you hearing? There are a number of very helpful guides listed in the Bibliography section and online (Baker (2010), Buckingham (2003), Heartland Films (2012), etc.) for introducing youth to media literacy.
  4. Consider use of the PCFF passport (a fantastic idea!) and The Language of Film word search inside to bring attention and awareness to one element (animation, documentary, setting, sound, costume) prior to the screening that could set up some follow-up questions at the end. In a film like this, you could ask, “How many countries do we visit during this film?” which might engage some youth to pay closer attention.
  5. Could PCFF partner with some local schools to provide short media literacy workshops either for teachers or students prior to the festival venues?
  6. Acknowledging short attention spans, could you consider stopping the film halfway through, have a bit of active participation, allow a water or bathroom break, engage about the second half, then restart?
  7. It would have been great to see more diversity at the larger venues and ticketed events. I wonder if sliding fee scales, promotional contests in the schools to win tickets, or more collaboration with youth-serving organizations in the city would be helpful in that regard. Roy (2012) shares an interesting model for community partnerships in her article.

The Providence Children’s Film Festival obviously took many hours and many heads, hearts and hands to organize. I was thrilled to see the growing list of festival partners and supporters, and hope this event will continue to grow and enlighten more Rhode Island and New England families for many decades. Thanks for all your hard work. I had a great time at the 2016 PCFF!

Bibliography

Baker, F. (2010). To Kill a Mockingbird. Seeing the Film Through the Lens of Media Literacy. Media Literacy Clearinghouse.

Buckingham, D. (2003). Questioning the Media: A Guide for Students.UNESCO: MENTOR. A Media Education Curriculum for Teachers in the Mediterranean. UNESCO: Paris (p. 1 – 15).

Heartland Film (2012). Teaching with Movies: A guide for Parents and Educators. Indianpolis, IN.

Pope, J., & Round, J. (2015). Children’s Responses to Heroism in Roald Dahl’s Matilda. Children’s Literature in Education46(3), 257–277.http://doi.org/10.1007/s10583-014-9233-z

Roy, C. (2012). Why don’t they show those on TV? Documentary film festivals media and community. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 31(3), 293–307. http://doi.org/10.1080/02601370.2012.683610

 

LSC597 Essay 1: Information, Participation, Reflection

I entered LSC597 – Library Film Education – as a writer and discussion facilitator who wanted to explore film education and film review issues and become more familiar and comfortable with online formats for education and expression. I was not prepared for how quickly I would be jumping right into these learning pools with both feet. In the first week, the open network learning environment of the course forced me to create a WordPress blog, a Twitter account, learn how to use MUUT, Flipgrid and Padlet (well, almost) and become familiar with Google hangouts – all new experiences for me.

As a visual and experiential learner, I usually grow to love those aspects of online courses, but this was lot to learn in one week! So glad Dr. Hobbs walked us through some of the formats, provided tutorials for others, and is patient with tech-challenged and older students. I love that I can revisit the recorded class discussions, the MUUT discussion board, and the course Twitter feed online at any time, a major plus for an older brain. As a former videographer and actress, I enjoyed the opportunity to revisit and update those creative experiences in this process, including costume, set and lighting decisions for my on-camera appearances. All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close up.

I like the short video clips we watch both during class and as assignments. While not an aspiring librarian, I do hope to use the library venue to curate and facilitate some film education sessions in the future. So I loved the Gloria Rubio Cortes quote from the Dialogue on Public Libraries clip “Libraries and communities are stronger when they’re connecting people to each other”, and Akthar Badshah’s assertion in the same video that the library “is the family room of the community.” I only wish the places in which libraries usually screen films were as comfortable as most home family rooms. The addition of popcorn might help.

popcorn6

Frank Baker’s film workshop clip took me back to my Media SmART! Project days and the media literacy workshops I facilitated for students in elementary schools. It shows how media awareness and production activities can be done even without expensive technology. Loved that he used Because of Winn-Dixie for a point of view activity, and how cool that he was able to show students the actual storyboards for the film, and donate them to the school.

One of the week #2 readings that I chose introduced me to some research about the relationship between books, and films made out of those books, as it relates to youth reading (Eleveth, 2014). This piece raised some comments and questions for me that I posted on the discussion board: “Would have actually liked to have more information about that process. Collected from teachers? Where are they getting the information about what their students are reading?” Having worked in research for the past six years, I now know how to better analyze research studies than I did before, and of course because I’ve learned to analyze all texts through my media literacy studies.

The ALA’s Video and Copyright guide provided easily understandable information about fair use, educational use, and public performance rights for showing films and videos. Knowing a library’s coverage of these rights will be important before starting any film series. It was one of my first questions after a local children’s librarian said she’d be willing to work with me on a film project. Her answer was Movie Licensing USA for public libraries, which I’ve checked out and am so far impressed with the selection.

Both How to Offer More than a Movie and LOL on Screen (pp. 41-42) provided some good tips on offering up a bit of film education along with a film screening, but both left me wanting more media literacy components in the introduction or discussion of films. Thought about these articles during Providence Children’s Film Festival events I attended. I felt the same way there – that the experience could have been enhanced with just a little more introduction or audience interaction prior to and after the screenings. Was at least glad that an attempt to recognize age difference in reaction to film content was made at the Between the Stacks showcase, when a break with explanation was provided before a film with an implied shark attack was shown to the “All ages” audience. Many parents and children left before the film, and a few others left during it. I also thought about the “Matilda” reading about kids point of view on movies during the festival, since it wasn’t being asked much, except via ballots (1 – 10 ratings) and in some of the workshops. I have lots of other thoughts about PCFF, but will save some for later discussions, essays or projects. Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 8.25.45 PM

The following week’s readings took me further into the world of youth film studies, film review and film criticism. I especially liked Anne Jerslev’s piece on youth film studies, which provided a great overview of some of the existing literature and perspectives on youth films, and a nice discussion at the end of her research into one way teen girls use horror film viewing as an empowerment tool. My flipgrid quote and review piece was on the very helpful and readable Thompson Writing Program at Duke University piece on Film Review. Since writing or recording film reviews is also something I’d like to do, this piece was invaluable for providing the nuts and bolts of that process. And if you think I’m too old to do film reviews, let me introduce you to Reel Geezers. Maybe I’ll try being the geezer and partnering with a child. Reel Fun?

A couple of aspects of this particular online learning group that I like is the age diversity among colleagues and the populations we work and live with. It’s helpful to see that represented in comments in class and on the discussion board. I look forward to getting even more of a sense of how different age groups interpret different media features, genres, and messages. And it’s been great meeting people “out of the box” of the online class format and in person through attendance at the film festival.IMG_4268

Reading Citations:

American Library Association (2014). Video and Copyright. Chicago, IL.

Eveleth, R. (2014, September 17). Kids Actually Do Read the Books that Movies are Based On. The Atlantic.

Jacobson, A. (1011, July 27). How to Offer More than a Movie. American Libraries Magazine. American Library Association, Chicago IL.

Jerslev, A. (2008). Youth films: Transforming Genre, Performing Audience. In S. Livingstone and K. Drotner, Eds. The International Handbook of Children, Media and Culture (pp. 183 – 195). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Lupa, B. R. (2007). LOL on Screen. Young Adult Library Services, Summer, 41–43.

Thompson Writing Program, Writing a Film Review. Writing Studio, Duke University, Durham, NC.

University of California Berkeley Library. Film Reviews and Film Criticism: An Introduction.

Media Moment Memories, or How I Learned to Dance and Other Stuff

Exploring the media preferences and key media moments of one’s youth can be a powerful tool for reflecting on identity formation and development as well as on adult patterns of behavior. Like one of Pavlov’s dogs salivating to the sound of a bell, wherever I was in my childhood home at 4:30pm, when I heard this theme music I rushed to the living room to grab a good spot in front of the television for The Early Show – a feature film showcase that aired every weeknight on one of the three channels on our TV in the 1950s and 60s. It was the best impetus for me to finish my homework before that time, a requirement in my family before being allowed to watch TV.

I can’t say that I remember any of the specific movies that aired on that show having any great impact on me, but the overall experience of lounging in the living room watching a movie I could get lost in, surrounded by the smells of the dinner my mother was cooking and the percussive backing track of her activities in the kitchen, while we all waited for my father to return home from work, provided a deep feeling of security and comfort. I still retain a love of movies and the feeling of comfort that accompanies watching them in my home, alone or with others, when the work day or work week ends.

During that time, I also learned to set a table or make a salad in the amount of time of a commercial break, valuable skills I retain to this day. Luckily for me, as I grew older and salads grew more complicated, commercial breaks grew longer, and videos, DVDs, and remote controls with pause buttons were invented.

Being one of four, and later five children in the family, however, in a home with only one television, meant that there were the inevitable disputes about what to watch. There were days when I had to relinquish control to my older brother or sister’s choice for afternoon viewing, usually The Mickey Mouse Club and later American Bandstand which was produced in nearby Philadelphia. Both shows also had an impact on the development of a sense of my once and future self. Seeing girls a bit older than me having roles as Mouseketeers, and also acting in adventure series aired on the show, like Corky and White Shadow and Spin and Marty, added to my own adventurous tomboy spirit and interest in acting. Found this online description of Corky laughably familiar :

Freckle faced, buck toothed Darlene Gillespie, whose rampant enthusiasm masked an envy for Annette Funicello, Uncle Walt’s personal favorite, hams it up throughout this series…If Annette was the girl every preteen boy wanted to kiss in the backseat of an Impala, then Darlene was the one you wanted helping overhaul the Chevy’s 283.(http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0327276/)

Seeing local teens, including a neighbor of mine, appear on American Bandstand, and dance and talk on camera, made being on TV seem like something within reach, and instilled a lifetime love of dancing. Sadly, by the time I was old enough to skip school myself to go stand in line to get into the show, Bandstand had moved to Los Angeles, but I can still recognize a good song with a danceable beat when I hear one.

For a story about a feature film that did have an amazing impact on me when I was young, see my Flipgrid video about seeing The Red Shoes in a theater for the first time. I am still exploring just how deeply the repercussions from that experience, and other key media moments from my childhood, have affected my life to this day.