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HSI, Day 12: Self-Reflection on Media Literacy & HSI

27 Jun

Finish Flickr Slideshows

If you still need to finish your Flickr slideshow and upload photos, please do that now.

Class Discussion & Blog Post: Self-Reflection on Media Literacy & HSI

Your HSI experience is almost to an end. How do you feel about that? What stories will you tell about HSI? Let’s take some time to answer these self-reflection questions. Be honest and thoughtful when you answer these questions. In the distant future, you will want to remember what kind of person you were at HSI.

  1. What are the top 5 lessons you will remember from this class? Remember that the goal was for you to become more media literate and more knowledgeable about multimedia and storytelling. Did you meet this goal?
  2. What are the top 5 lessons you will remember from your sciences/math class?
  3. What is your favorite memory from HSI? Describe the memory in detail. Why did that memory make such an impression on you?
  4. How do you think you’ve grown as a person from coming to HSI? Have you become more outgoing and friendly? Have you conquered any fears? Have you learned to be more independent?
  5. How do you think HSI prepared you for college life and your future career path?
  6. If you could re-live HSI, what would you do differently?
  7. What will you tell your friends and family back home about HSI? You know that question is just waiting for you back home…

 

I’m curious about what everyone took away from HSI. Let’s hear it!

Our Class Monument

Finally, your job is to create a class monument that we can show your family. The monument will feature objects that will spark conversation about what you learned from this class. Get creative.

 

 
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HSI, Day 11: Media Stereotypes, Photo Scavenger Hunt, & Flickr

26 Jun

Class Discussion & Blog Post: Media Stereotypes

Today we will examine various media stereotypes of the past and discuss if you think any stereotypes have changed.

 

On your blog, please write a post that answers these questions:

  1. To what extent have gender stereotypes changed?
  2. To what extent have racial stereotypes changed?
  3. What stereotypes on TV exist for people who are GLBT?
  4. Please provide some example TV shows from the past decade to illustrate your arguments.

 

Photo Scavenger Hunt

You want to show photos in your slideshow that capture your emotion from your time at HSI. Here is a checklist of the photos you need to capture today. Be creative!

Note: If you already have photos on your camera that capture these emotions, please use those. Otherwise, let’s get outside now and explore campus!

  1. Something/someone on campus that makes you smile or laugh
  2. Something/someone on campus that makes you annoyed or jealous (in an endearing way, perhaps)
  3. Something/someone on campus that makes you want to go home
  4. Something/someone on campus that makes you sad to leave HSI
  5. Something/someone on campus that inspires you or educates you
  6. Something/someone on campus that frightens you
  7. Something on campus that makes you love summer time
  8. Something on campus that makes you wish it were winter time
  9. Something/someone on campus that you wish you could spend more time with
  10. Something on campus that you are eager to forget

 

Finish Any Photo Editing & Create Flickr Sets & Embed Into Your Blog

For the remainder of today’s class, let’s finish up any photo editing we need to do. And, let’s make sure we get all of our Flickr slideshows posted to our blog.

 
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HSI, Day 10: Digital Media & Multitasking, Photography & Flickr

24 Jun

Class Discussion & Blog Post: Digital Media & Multitasking

Today we’ll watch a 15-minute clip from a Frontline documentary about the impacts and implications of digital media use. After the clip, please answer the following questions:

  1. To what extent do you multitask with media during school? Do your teachers allow it? Consider the fact that taking notes with pen and paper is more effective than taking notes on a laptop.
  2. How about when you’re outside of school; do you multitask with media?
  3. Do you think you’re effective at multitasking? Why or why not?
  4. After watching this clip, do you anticipate multitasking in the future during school? Why or why not?
  5. What are the implications or consequences of multitasking with digital media? Do you see problems for society or for yourself?

Photo Editing

Let’s review the basic photo editing tools in Photoshop. While we will use Photoshop during class, if you do not have access off-campus to Photoshop, then consider using Google’s free photo editing software, Picasa, or another popular open-sourced application, GIMP. Also, you can download a free 30-day trial of Photoshop. Finally, Pixlr is another free photo-editing service and you can use a mobile app version as well.

  • Cropping: You can crop to ensure that only one clear subject exists. You can crop to ensure the photo fits a certain aspect ratio (e.g., 150 pixels height by 350 pixels width). The Crop tool is located on the toolbar.
  • Resizing: Sometimes, you’ll need to resize your photo in order to make it fit a certain area. You can go to Image –> Image Size. Keep the constrain proportions option checked.
  • Image Adjustments: Go to Image –> Adjustments and you’ll find several options. My favorites are Brightness/Contrast, Levels, and Color Balance. Play around with them to get the look you want to achieve, without over-doing it and changing the essence of the photo. You can also make an image Black and White here.
  • Dodge/Burn: The Dodge Tool looks like a lollipop icon in the toolbar and can be used to lighten specific areas of your photo. Right-click on the Dodge Tool and you’ll find a Burn Tool to darken areas of the photo. This tool is appropriate for photojournalists to improve the lightness of a specific part of a photo. However, be sure not to go too far with this tool and alter the photo completely.
  • Bandaid
  • Text: You can write text on any image and apply effects and filters to the text
  • Saving Photos and Resolution: Publishing photos for the web is different than publishing photos for printing. You don’t need as large of an image resolution for the web. Therefore, when saving your edited photo in Photoshop, go to File –> Save for Web & Devices. You have the option of choosing a resolution that is appropriate for the web. It doesn’t need to be more than 72 pixels per inch.

Now it’s time to edit our photos! Edit the personality profile shoot photos you took of your partner and post them to your profile blog post.

HSI Photography & Flickr Slideshows

Let’s set up our Flickr accounts so we can upload our photos! We will learn how to create a “set” of photos that we can embed into our WordPress blogs. This way, you can share your HSI experience with everyone using your photos.

Check out my HSI Album on Flickr!

 
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HSI, Day 8: MTV & Media Literacy, Start Audio, & Embed Audio

20 Jun

Class Discussion & Blog Post

How many of you watch MTV?

Today we’re going to take a critical look at MTV and how MTV promotes the “mook” and “midriff” stereotypes of young men and women.

Now, let’s write a blog post and discuss these issues.

  1. What is a Mook and a Midriff?
  2. This video is 13 years old. Are Mooks and Midriffs still relevant today? In what new media outlets can we find Mooks and MidriffS today?
  3. Are Mooks and Midriffs reflective of society, or a creation by MTV?
  4. How has MTV content changed in the 13 years since this film was made? Why?
  5. What direction do you think MTV should move in?

Start Audio Editing and Embed Audio

The rest of the time, we will finish the audio editing and embed the audio to our blogs.

Breakout Meeting: Group 5 Advisory by Group 4 & Instructor

 
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HSI, Day 7: Ethics of Media Consumerism, Finish Profiles, Audio Editing, & SoundCloud Tutorial

19 Jun

Happy Birthday, Collin!

 

Class Discussion & Blog Post: Generation Like, Corporate Marketing, and You

We will watch a PBS Frontline episode about this topic. Then, we’ll write a blog post and discuss.

  • What messages and information do you remember the most from the video? What “spoke” to you as a teen in “Generation Like”?
  • Did anything surprise you about the video?
  • Do you think the practice of integrating advertising/marketing into social media is ethical, appropriate, and acceptable? Or, do you think this practice is irritating, unethical, or inappropriate?
  • Did you know what “selling-out” was before you saw the video? Do you think it’s a problem or a concern? — Check out a music video from a 90′s ska band that is all about “selling-out”. (Silly fact: I saw this band live when I was in college! Lol…)
  • Do you have any other thoughts about the video clips you saw?

Today we will wrap up the profile, for those of you who haven’t finished yet. And, we will continue the audio editing for the short audio clip.

The only formal instruction material for today is the SoundCloud tutorial. Let’s finish that and then work hard on our projects!

Breakout Meeting: Group 4 Advisory by Group 3 & Instructor

 
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HSI, Day 6: Media & Body Image, Writing Profiles, & Editing Audio

17 Jun

Class Discussion & Blog Post: Media & Body Image

 

Take a look at these magazines.

 

bodyimage

Advertisements and media imagery plays on our insecurities to make money.

The average female is 5’4 and 165 lbs, yet the average female model is 5’10 and 120 lbs.

The average male is 5’9 and 195 lbs, yet the average male model is at least 6’0 and weighs about 175 lbs.

What are your thoughts? Please write a blog post that discusses these questions:

  1. Describe some examples of media images that are problematic for girls/women and boys/men. What does the media “say” girls/women and boys/men should look like?
  2. To what extent are unrepresentative media images a problem for society? How so?
  3. How do media images affect children, teens, women, and men?
  4. Have you or your friends ever been affected by media images? How so?
  5. If you think this is a problem, what suggestions do you have for solving or minimizing the problem?

Let’s take a look at some critical views about media and body image. Advice for girls. Advice for boys.

Continue Writing the Personality Profile

Keep working on your written personality profile. Aim for 400-600 words. I’ll work my way around the room and help anyone.

Start Editing the Audio

Once you’re done writing and/or waiting for my help, please start listening to your audio interview and creating a short clip of your partner’s interview. Remember, we shouldn’t hear your voice. Only your partner’s voice should be heard on the audio clip.

Here is an example of edited audio from an HSI student interview (Marissa Hegy interviewed Reo Radford).

 
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HSI, Day 5: Interviewing Self-Reflection, Organizing Your Profile, & Using Quotes

16 Jun

Class Discussion & Blog Post: Self-Reflection on Interview Day

In a new blog post, I’d like you to reflect on your experiences from last week when you interviewed your partner. Please create a new blog post and answer these questions:

  1. Give a review of your interviewing experience. How did it feel to be interviewed by your partner? And, how did it feel to be the interviewer and ask your partner questions?
  2. What the best part of the experience? What was the worst part of the experience?
  3. What did you learn from the experience?
  4. If you had to do anything over, what would it be? Or, if you had to give yourself advice for future interviews, what would you say?
  5. Do you think your new interviewing skills we be helpful in the future?

 

What Tips Do You Have For Writing A Story?

We need to outline and organize our personality profiles before we jump in and start writing it. Recall these tips from last week:

  • Use the student’s full name on first reference and their first name only or last name only on second reference onward.
  • Find a theme.
  • Write an attention-grabbing lead (i.e., the first sentences of the story). –> See more tips in the next section below.
  • Tell a story that readers can see, hear, smell, feel, and/or taste. That is, write with visuals and imagery and passion and detail.
  • Organize the story using these ideas:
    1. Time frames: Start with the present, go to the past, go back to the present, and end with the future.
    2. Chronology: Don’t write the entire story in chronological order, but some part of the story is OK.
    3. Sections: Use topical areas of the person’s life to organize the story.
  • However, do not write in chronological order (i.e., “Kristen was born in New Bedford, Mass., and moved to Florida when she was 6. Then, she went to elementary school…).
  • Insert biographical information (e.g., age, hometown, high school, family) where and when they make sense in the story.
  • Write short paragraphs — about 1 to 4 sentences long.
  • Show people doing things: Set a scene, let them talk, let the action and dialogue carry the story.
  • Use concrete details instead of vague adjectives.
  • Weave strong quotes throughout the story. Include a quote every three paragraphs or so.
  • Don’t bury quotes in the middle or the end of a paragraph.
  • Use the active voice. OK writing: Kristen was cooking. Better writing: Kristen cooked.
  • Ask yourself: Have you answered all of the readers’ possible questions about this person?
  • End with a strong quote or paraphrased (i.e., summarized) statement that reflects the person well.

 

Excerpt from a well-written personality profile:

Don Sheber’s leathery, cracked hands have been sculpted by decades of wrestling a living from the earth.

But this year, despite work that often stretches late into the evening, the moisture-starved soil has yielded little for Sheber and his family.

Sheber’s hands tugged at the control levers on his John Deere combine last week as rotating blades harvested the thin strands of wheat that have grown to less than a foot high…

Writing a Lead (Beginning) for a Personality Profile

The lead is the beginning of the story that draws in a reader. It’s important to grab their attention. Here are some ideas:

  • The lead can be more than a paragraph or can be very short.
  • The lead should reflect the theme of the story.
  • The lead can be anecdotal–a memorable story that represents the person.
  • The lead can be a scene describing a setting that reflects the person.
  • Avoid beginning the  lead with a quote unless it’s very powerful.

 

Using Quotes

You want to use a quote from your partner every few paragraphs. Here is the proper way to write and attribute a quote:

“I hardly knew what science was when I came to the university,” says Jake Smith with a laugh. “I came here as a pre-medical student. Then I met a professor named Carlos Martinez del Rio.”

In truth, Smith made sure they met.

“He was a student in one of my classes, one of about 150 students,” recalls Martinez del Rio. “But he sat right in the front and always asked very, very inquisitive questions. Difficult questions.”

You can see that both people’s full names are used at first reference. Then, only the last name is used.

Paragraphs are very short. Quotes are not buried in the middle of a paragraph.

Writing Your Personality Profile

Now that you have an idea about how to write and organize a personality profile, let’s get started!

Breakout Meeting: Group 3 Advisory by Group 2 & Instructor

 
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HSI, Day 4: Ethics of Banning Books, Interviewing Tips, & Interview Day

13 Jun

Class Discussion & Blog Post: Ethics of Banning Books

Our initial discussion today deals with commonly banned/challenged books. First, let’s look at a list of books that are commonly banned. As you can see, the reasons often deal with foul language, racism, sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, and homosexuality.

The sides of the debate are typically either:

  • Pro-censorship: Protect children, protect integrity of character
  • Anti-censorship: Protect free speech

 

I want to know what you think. Let’s write a quick blog post about your thoughts. Here is the scenario. We’ll watch the clip together and then you’ll write a post that answers the questions below. There are no right or wrong answers; it’s just your thoughts and opinions.

The local public elementary school has banned the children’s book And Tango Makes Three. The book is based on the true story of Roy and Silo, two male Chinstrap Penguins in New York’s Central Park Zoo. The book follows the six years of their life where they formed a couple and were given an egg to raise.

  • Discuss why you think the book was banned.
  • Discuss both the pro-censorship and anti-censorship viewpoints.
  • Was the ban unwarranted?
  • Or, was the ban appropriate?
  • Do you have any personal experiences with your own school or parents banning books?
  • How many books on the Top 10 Commonly Challenged Books Lists have you read? Which books have you read?

 

— My Thoughts —
Books should not be banned. Parents should decide what books are appropriate for their children, depending on the age and their worldview.

Quick Review: What Should I Do When I Interview Someone?

  1. Be prepared: Inform yourself about the topic, source, and/or interviewee. Do some background research on the story and educate yourself. Informed questions are the best questions.
  2. Practice your interview questions beforehand if you’re nervous or want to feel better-prepared going into the interview. It never hurts to practice. And practice being curious-sounding, professional, and calm rather than accusatory, aggressive, or a know-it-all.
  3. Make small talk before the interview. It relaxes you and the interviewee. And begin the interview with a softball question that you may not care too much about. This will relax the interviewee and yourself.
  4. Keep it conversational. Don’t ask one question after another with no casual feedback and discussion. You want to have a give-and-take, turn-taking conversation, rather than a firing-squad style conversation.
  5. Listen. Really listen to your interviewee talking as you take notes. Think about if you have any follow-up questions about their statements. If you don’t, then move on to the next prepared question.
  6. Prepare a basic outline of questions, but avoid reading them word-for-word. Again, you want to know your questions enough to ask them in a casual way to your interviewee. And you want to ask them when it’s appropriate to in the conversation.
  7. Don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions and the “do you have anything else to add before we finish” question. You want to understand the interviewee and the story well. You want to clarify things so you can clearly explain things to your audience.
  8. Allow silence. Silence is awkward. People fill silence with additional banter. It may be helpful banter for your story.
  9. Make eye contact, smile, and nod to show your interest. Try not to make the “uh huh” and “go on” noises. This is a bad habit and will ruin audio interviews if you engage in those behaviors.
  10. Any other suggestions from you and your classmates?

 

Audio Gathering Tips

Know Your Equipment: Be comfortable operating your audio recorder. You should know where the buttons are without looking at it. You should know what all of the buttons do. If you’re uncomfortable with the audio recorder, your subject will be as well.

Location: Find a quiet location with little background noise. Find a spot with soft surfaces that absorb sound. A couch or fabric chair is better than a wooden chair. Cover a table with a blanket. A car with closed windows is a great location. Avoid hallways and large rooms that echo.

No Ambient Noise During Interview: While you do want to use ambient noise in your audio story, you don’t want the ambient noise to interfere with the person speaking to you. Avoid consistent background noise by picking a small quiet room with carpet and soft chairs. If using the TASCAM, try using to foam covering to see if it helps quiet ambient noise. You want to collect ambient noise separately and not fight it during the interview.

Get Close: Put the microphone about 2 inches away from the person’s mouth if you’re recording at a moderate “rec level” (about 5-7 on the TASCAM). You can put the microphone farther away if you’re recording at a higher “rec level” (about 9-10).

Use Headphones: Put your headphones into the headphone jack on your digital audio recorder. Hit the “record” button. Now ask the person to talk. Ensure that you can hear the person clearly. If you can’t hear them clearly, put the microphone closer to their mouth and/or increase the “rec level” to a higher sensitivity. Keep the headphones on your ears during the whole interview. You’ll know exactly how the person sounds the whole time.

Speak Up: Ask the person to speak up and speak louder if you can’t hear them properly and clearly when you have your headphones on.

Don’t Fidget: Do not fidget and play with the audio recorder while gathering sound. The audio recorder picks up the noise when you rub your hands on it. Avoid this by not fidgeting.

Focus: There’s many things to think about while conducting an audio interview. Can you hear them clearly? What are they saying? What’s my next question? Where is the interview going? How can I take the interview in a different direction or somewhere I hadn’t planned if they say something interesting?

But Also Engage: Listen to the person. Make eye contact (don’t look at their mouth). Seem genuinely interested in their story. After they’re done speaking, stay in silence for a moment. They may add more detail to their thoughts. Empathize with them. Share information about yourself with them. This will help them ignore the microphone and their surroundings.

Uh huh: Don’t do it. Avoid saying those filler words during an interview. You don’t want YOUR voice recorded when the person is talking. Instead, nod, smile, use eye contact, and learn forward to encourage the person.

Interview Time Is Here!

Find a quiet place to conduct interviews. We can go outside as well. Remember to check for background noise because you’ll be recording these interviews with your audio recorder. Don’t be afraid to start over if you want to. You don’t need to get anything perfect the first time around. Stay close to our location and I’ll be walking around to the groups and checking up on everyone.

When you finish the interview, come back to the classroom so we can begin to brainstorm about the profile’s theme and organization.

Breakout Meeting: Group 2 Advisory by Group 1 & Instructor

I’d like to meet with Group 1 and Group 2 after the interviewing. I would like Group 1 to share their advice and experiences about the HSI DVD with Group 2.

 
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HSI, Day 3: Mixing News & Entertainment, Interviewing Skills, & Audio

12 Jun

Class Discussion & Blog Post: Mixing News & Entertainment

In today’s media, news and entertainment are often mixed. Entertainment shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are popular with young people and often discuss newsworthy topics. News shows often discuss entertainment or trivial news more than “fourth estate” worthy news.

Let’s watch this clip from The Colbert Report and then write a blog post about these questions.

  1. The 4th Estate: How is news related to democracy?
    • What responsibility does the news media have to educate and inform the public?
    • Can you think of an example where the news media did not do a good job at informing the public?
  2. Mixing news and entertainment
    • To what extent do you think comedic news shows are informative and helpful as a “fourth estate”?
    • How often do you watch these types of shows?
  3. Your News Diet
    • What is news to you?
    • Name what sources you get your news from. Why do you use these news sources? Why do you trust your news sources? Is the news you consume slanted or bias in any way?
    • How often do you talk to other people about the news? Who do you talk to? What do you talk about?
    • What improvements to your news diet can you make?
  4. Your Entertainment Diet
    • What are your favorite entertainment sources? For example, TV shows, websites, movies, books, gaming, etc. Why do you use these entertainment sources?
    • How much time do you spend with entertainment? Does it interfere with other aspects of your life, like your social life or academic life?
    • To what extent do your parents regulate your exposure to entertainment? Are they more lenient now than in the past because you’re in high school now?

     

— My Thoughts —
News must carefully balance the following qualities. Comedic news shows serve to reveal the problems with traditional news. Comedic news makes citizens more “media literate.”

  • Impact: Who cares?
  • Prominence: Names make news
  • Proximity: Local angles, geographic or emotionally close
  • Timeliness: The newness
  • Conflict: The drama
  • Novelty: Bizarre, rare, or strange activities

 

Review of Interview Questions

Let’s take some time here for me to answer any questions about your potential interview questions.

What Should I Do When I Interview Someone?

  1. Be prepared: Inform yourself about the topic, source, and/or interviewee. Do some background research on the story and educate yourself. Informed questions are the best questions.
  2. Practice your interview questions beforehand if you’re nervous or want to feel better-prepared going into the interview. It never hurts to practice. And practice being curious-sounding, professional, and calm rather than accusatory, aggressive, or a know-it-all.
  3. Make small talk before the interview. It relaxes you and the interviewee. And begin the interview with a softball question that you may not care too much about. This will relax the interviewee and yourself.
  4. Keep it conversational. Don’t ask one question after another with no casual feedback and discussion. You want to have a give-and-take, turn-taking conversation, rather than a firing-squad style conversation.
  5. Listen. Really listen to your interviewee talking as you take notes. Think about if you have any follow-up questions about their statements. If you don’t, then move on to the next prepared question.
  6. Prepare a basic outline of questions, but avoid reading them word-for-word. Again, you want to know your questions enough to ask them in a casual way to your interviewee. And you want to ask them when it’s appropriate to in the conversation.
  7. Don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions and the “do you have anything else to add before we finish” question. You want to understand the interviewee and the story well. You want to clarify things so you can clearly explain things to your audience.
  8. Allow silence. Silence is awkward. People fill silence with additional banter. It may be helpful banter for your story.
  9. Make eye contact, smile, and nod to show your interest. Try not to make the “uh huh” and “go on” noises. This is a bad habit and will ruin audio interviews if you engage in those behaviors.
  10. Any other suggestions from you and your classmates?

 

Audio Personality Profiles — Inspiration For Your Work

For your personality profile, I want you to record your interview so you can build a short audio clip (30 seconds to 1 minute). Your voice should not appear on the audio clip that you build. It will consist of your partner talking about themselves. Ultimately, you will post your short audio clip of your partner on your blog post with your personality profile.

With audio profiles, you can hear the emotion, hear the ambient sounds, and hear the expressions of your sources. Now, we can do audio journalism online and not just on the radio. Before we learn about the logistics of audio, it is important to first understand what makes excellent audio profiles. Here are some examples.

One in 8 Million – A New York Times audio slideshow about a few of the 8 million people living in the New York City region. Let’s listen to one teenager mother’s story. What did you like and dislike about the story? Could this story be told better with any other style or method?

Working With Your Audio Recorder

Before you interview your partner, it’s important to know how to record your interview. You won’t be able to write EVERYTHING down while you take notes during the interview. Thus, let’s get to know our audio recorder now and practice working with it.

— Activity: Audio Recorder Practice —

  1. Record Yourself
  2. Transfer File To Your Computer
  3. Open in Audacity (free sound editing program) on the Lab Computers
  4. If an m4a file (on the iPhone) or another file that Audacity won’t open, then download this zipped file.
  5. Listen for my instructions about unzipping the folder and opening your file in Audacity now.

 

Audacity Basics

Now that we have a file imported into Audacity, let’s see how we can edit sound.

The most important tools are: Cut, Paste, Zoom, and Envelope. Adding a new track is also important.

Here is a PowerPoint slide of Audacity tools, if you would like to learn more.

We will play with Audacity more in a few days after we have our interviews conducted.

Voluntary Interviews About HSI Experience

Arrayia and Collin will be doing interviews for the HSI DVD on your initial expectations and experiences with HSI. If you’re willing to be interviewed and help, please let me know now.

 
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HSI, Day 2: Photography, Online Identity, Partner Pair Up, Profile Basics, & Writing Questions

11 Jun

Blogging Workshop

— Finish Blogging Workshop, if needed —

Document Your HSI Experience with Photography

Today, you need to start taking photos of your personal HSI experience. At each major event you attend, each activity you participate in, and each silly dorm antic you experience, you should have your camera ready. Start documenting now. Because you want to remember this experience. And believe me, by the time you’re 31 (like me), you’ll forget this amazing experience you had when you were 15 or 16.

During the last week of class, we will edit our photos in Photoshop and you will create a Flickr slideshow to showcase your HSI photography and memories.

Here is a list of photos that I want you to capture for your slideshow. You may have already captured some of these already. But, you should be documenting your activities, events, and dorm life as well.

  1. The outside and inside of the Wyoming Union
  2. The outside of the Engineering Building
  3. Inside our classroom
  4. The enormity of Prexy’s Pasture
  5. An extreme close-up photo of something in Prexy’s Pasture
  6. The “University of Wyoming” sign
  7. The outside and inside of the dorms: Your room, roommate, dorm food, dorm sign out front.
  8. Something with the UW mascot (cowboys) on it
  9. An object from a popular “hangout” location on campus for students
  10. A brochure or map of the UW campus
  11. Photo of you with an instructor or PC from HSI

 

Let’s get started with how to take better photos using Creative Devices.

How to Take Better Photos Using Creative Devices for Composition

Good photography begins with understanding basic composition and design principles. Here’s some easy ways to improve your shots.

  1. Steady Does It: Hold the camera steady by digging your elbows into your chest, placing your elbows on something, using two hands, or leaning against a wall.
  2. Move Around and Get Closer: You need to constantly be moving around to get a variety of good shots. Go on your stomach, your knees, a ladder, or chair. Change your position and your angle. Don’t be afraid to get very close to your subjects.
  3. Use Vertical Shots: Don’t always shoot horizontals, be sure you use vertical shots as well.
  4. Pick A Focal Point: The automatic focus on point-and-shoot does a good job at focusing on what you desire, but it is sometimes limiting to work with. So, when you want to focus on something very close and want to blur the background, you can use the “macro” function on your camera (if it has one).
  5. Light: Natural light provided by the sun is the best light to shoot in. If there is bright sunlight and you’re shooting people who are facing the sun, they may squint and shadows may be cast on their faces. Be sure to avoid those shadows by moving around to find the best angle. If there is bright sunlight and people have the sun behind them, their faces will be dark. You can compensate by using a flash. Noon and mid-day sunlight is typically bad sunlight for photography. Sunrise and sunrise light is better. But, partly sunny days provide the best light because it is much softer.
  6. Look Around: Are there any objects protruding from any subjects’ heads? Like a tree or pole in the distance? Are there any potential “photo bombs” around that will draw your attention away from the main subject?

 

Now for the Top 10 Composition Tips as outlined by Photography Mad (No. 1-10), as well as four more suggestions of my own.

  1. Rule of Thirds: Example
  2. Balancing Elements: Example
  3. Leading Lines: Example
  4. Symmetry and Patterns: Example
  5. Viewpoint: Example
  6. Background: Example
  7. Create Depth: Example
  8. Framing: Example
  9. Cropping (Note: This does not refer to cropping in Photoshop; this refers to compositional cropping when you take the photo): Example
  10. Color: Example
  11. Texture: Example
  12. Establishing Size: Example
  13. Contrast: Example
  14. Focus: Example

 

Let’s take a look at my photos here and you tell me your thoughts on creative devices that I used.

Now that you know how to take better photos, you can avoid cutting people’s heads off and having poles or trees stick out of people’s heads!

Class Discussion & Blog Post: Your Online Identity

Important note: There are no right or wrong answers to the blog post questions and discussion. In fact, more diversity in the class’s opinions is actually helpful. We get to learn more when people share their unique and genuine opinions.

Our first discussion topic today revolves around your online identity. Check out this visual data about what teens are doing online.

Let’s write a blog post about these questions and discuss them as a class. Please answer:

  • How does your own online behavior compare to the data that we just examined?
  • How many limits do your parents put on your online identity and internet time?
  • How do you think your online identity should look for college? For when you want to get a job?
  • What privacy concerns exist for you and potential college admissions officers and employers?
  • Is it right for a college or employer to reject/fire you based on your online identity?

 

— My Thoughts —

Be proud of whatever you write on your blog and whatever you share online. You do not want to regret something in the future. Remember, if it’s posted online, it’s there F O R E V E R!

Partner Pair Up

Now that you’re familiar with your blog, we are going to pair up with a partner. Ultimately, you will write a complete personality profile about your partner (and they will write one about you) and post it to your blog.

Along the way, you will learn how to interview your partner, how to write a personality profile about your partner, how to use an audio recorder and editor to insert an audio-interview clip into your profile, and how to take high-quality photos so you can post a few photos of your partner and their HSI experience to your profile.

Sound daunting? Maybe. But, it’s not! I swear it will be a fun experience! And you’ll get a personality profile about yourself out of the process as well.

So let’s pair up! Get to know your partner for a few minutes.

What is a Personality Profile?

There is no such thing as an uninteresting person! Your job in this class project is to:

  • žResearch and interview the person to obtain most interesting tidbits
  • Present to readers a ‘snapshot of a life’ using interviews, observations and creative writing
  • žžConvey importance and uniqueness of person

 

Let’s take a look at some examples of personality profiles from past HSI students:

 

How Do I Write a Personality Profile?

— Activity: As we review each suggestion below, we will examine the example stories above. —

  • Research the person. Your partner will complete a short worksheet about themselves for you to develop questions from.
  • Ask interesting and explanation-required questions during the interview.
  • Find a theme.
  • Write an attention-grabbing lead (i.e., the first sentences of the story).
  • Organize the story using these ideas:
    1. Time frames: Start with the present (e.g., at HSI), go to the past, go back to the present, and end with the future.
    2. Sections: Use topical areas of the person’s life to organize the story (e.g., Academic Over-Achiever, Adding Volunteering and Academics, & Eye on College).
  • However, do not write in chronological order (i.e., “Kristen was born in New Bedford, Mass., and moved to Florida when she was 6. Then, she went to elementary school…).
  • Insert biographical information (e.g., age, hometown, high school, family) where and when they make sense in the story.
  • Weave strong quotes throughout the story. Include a quote every three paragraphs or so.
  • Don’t bury quotes in the middle or the end of a paragraph.
  • Use the active voice. OK writing: Kristen was cooking. Better writing: Kristen cooked.
  • Ask yourself: Have you answered all of the readers’ possible questions about this person?
  • End with a strong quote or paraphrased (i.e., summarized) statement that reflects the person well.

 

What Questions Should I Ask During My Personality Profile Interviews?

The secret to writing a good personality profile is getting to the know person. We’ll use the GOAL method to learn about our partners and to write our profiles.

G = Goals: What were your original goals? What are your next goals?

O = Obstacles: What obstacles did you face in accomplishing your goals? What new problems loom?

A = Achievements: What pleasure of problems have these achievements brought?

L = Logistics: What background (logistics of who, what, where, when) led to your current situation?

Example Interview Questions

  1. Describe the activity you selected to discuss. What skills does it involve? How much time does it involve? Who else is involved with you?
  2. How did you get involved in this activity? What made you decide to begin this activity?
  3. Who is a big influence, or mentor, to you in this activity? Your parents? Siblings? Coach? Friend? Pastor? Teacher? How have they mentored you?
  4. Explain a typical ____ (insert activity of story).
  5. What’s been your best experience with this activity?
  6. What’s been your most difficult, disappointing, upsetting experience with this activity?
  7. If applicable, describe a time when you want to quit this activity. Why didn’t you quit?
  8. What advice would you give to someone who is interested in this activity?
  9. Recall a major event or moment from this activity. Please describe why it was a major event and how it impacted you.
  10. What is the best piece of advice that you received about this activity?
  11. What is your best lesson that you’ve learned from this activity?
  12. G for Goals: What were your original goals? What are your next goals? Fast forward a decade with this activity, where are you and what are you doing with this activity.
  13. O for Obstacles: What obstacles did you face in accomplishing your goals? What new problems loom?
  14. A for Achievements: What pleasure of problems have these achievements brought?
  15. L for Logistics: What background (logistics of who, what, where, when) led to your current situation?
  16. Always ask: Do you have anything else to add or that you think others should know?

 

How Do I Know What To Ask My Partner?

You may be thinking, “This sounds great, but how do I know what to ask my partner? What activity do they want me to ask about?”. That’s where the next activity comes into play.

— Activity: Complete the Short Personality Profile Questionnaire — (Download, Complete in Word, and Email to Partner)

Think about an area of your life that you’re passionate about and that you’re comfortable answering questions about. It could be academics, athletics, volunteering, family life, college preparation, career ideas, hobbies, music, dance, politics, personal struggles, entertainment, etc.

Answer the worksheet questions with that passion in mind. Exchange questionnaires.

Start Writing Questions

Here are a few more tips to think about before you write your interview questions:

Ask Explanation-Needed Questions: Don’t just ask, “How old were you when you first realized you wanted to _________?” You’ll get the answer, “A few years ago.” Ask questions that need more explanation, “What inspired you to _________ and when did you make this decision in your life?” You want the person to answer in complete sentences that clearly answer the question, not short phrases.

Ask Again: Don’t be afraid to ask “Why?;” “Please explain that more in-depth.” “Please say that again, I didn’t quite understand the first time.”

Ask Sensory Questions: “Tell me about…”; “What did it sound like when…”; “How did it feel when…”; “What did it smell like…”; “What did it look like when…”; “Describe the scene for me.”

Last Question: Always ask, “Is there anything else I should have asked? Is there anything else you want me to know?”

— Activity: Start writing questions! —

Aim for at least 10-15 interview questions.

Bring Your Audio Recorders and Headphones Tomorrow!!!!!

 
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