This assessment was my first real exposure a task founded on Project Based Learning. As I’ve said before, it was also my first experience working in a group in a tertiary environment. Overall I found the task very rewarding, and really appreciated the scaffolded structure. I enjoy learning through discovery rather than instruction, and this task really encouraged that - all the while providing support and guidance as required. It initially took me a while to find my place in the group, but once the personnel logistics were sorted, it was most enjoyable to be able to group self-manage with Dave, Sara and Kate.
Regarding the technical aspects, although I had had some experience with Macs, it was mostly in an overseeing role or for very specific tasks, so working on a Mac was in fact my first task. Asking help from group members, and if they were at a loss also, from Andrew, I managed to resolve these issues and now feel confident working on this platform. Regarding the use of technology, Facebook provided an excellent platform for group communication, although it did on occasion have to be augmented by texting.
I've already spoken of the difficulties encountered with the video camera itself, and so there’s a definite lesson learned there. Always do some test shots!
I found the editing particularly rewarding. While I have had a fair amount of experience cutting promos and what not, I had always been assisted by a fully trained editor and acted in more of a producer role. Working with Final Cut Pro was at the same time exciting and terrifying. Kind of like going into Photoshop for the first time, there are so many options, filters and plugins etc, so much power to work with that it was a little overwhelming. It ended up taking me the better part of 12 hours to cut a 4min short film, and even then I would have liked a lot more time. Many initial ideas, such as applying the 'Sin City' effect would have been so time consuming that it really wasn’t an option. I have a much greater appreciation now of why post-production takes months and even years. Despite this, I really did pick up the basics of final Cut, as well as some of its nifty little tricks. Despite all the processing and editing power however, I was annoyingly unable to do anything about the ghosting on the image.
So, overall my first PBL experience was very positive. I find that it really suits my learning style, and it is something I can definitely see myself using in a History context in my classroom. IMHO it is superbly suited to the inquiry based approach required in the study of history, and I’ve actually (rather poorly I’m sure) utilised it for a WebQuest as part of another subject, if you're really bored you can check it out at http://sites.google.com/site/australiansinwwii/
Next time, the thrillingly titled Multiliteracies and Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge. It's not as terrible as it sounds, really!