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Posts Tagged ‘product

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John Krasinski is the writer and director of A Quiet Place Part II. He could also be a model of how to operate in a reflective place.

In reflecting on the processes behind the opening scene of his product, he addressed these questions:

  • How did they do it?
  • Why did you it that way?
  • What did you think about your effort?

These are questions that any learner crafting a reflection in a portfolio should ask. 

And here is a bonus at the end: Krasinski mentioned how a mistake at the end of the scene turned out to be a boon. The camera came loose in the action and accidentally zoomed in on his on-screen and real life wife, Emily Blunt. This created an unintended but desirable visual effect.

A few mistakes might turn good. Most are likely to be painful to recall and process. But these are the best way to learn.

One of my educational mantras is to focus on processes of learning, not just supposed products of learning. The processes are often more revealing and more important than the products alone.

Another way of looking at this call is to not just show what but also to show how. The Instagram video above illustrates this principle in a few seconds.

First we watch a videographer swinging a cameraphone to take two clips. Then we see what the combined clips looks like. The how (process) preceded the what (product). I can think of at least two takeaways:

  1. Some might point out that such transparency allows copycats to make their own versions. I do not see this as a problem as long as they also learn to credit their sources. It local laws are not in place, then learn how to use Creative Commons to label and attribute.
  2. Perhaps the idea to create such a video was original, or maybe the videographer learnt it elsewhere. The more important issue is that the process behind the product is more visible. If the point of a learning experience is to learn a new skill, it must be clearly and generously modelled first.

Such a culture and habit of sharing openly and freely does not necessarily make the sharer poorer. It builds the sharer’s reputation and we are all richer from the process.

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I won’t tire of videos that focus on the process behind products, particularly when they are as well created as those by Alvin of ATE.

The hard work behind the scenes of an Indian restaurant remind me of the preparatory work of educators who are passionate about their craft. No one really sees what they do there and then, but these are what makes them good at what they do.

Furthermore, process videos like these reveal the values and attitudes of those involved. That is what good e-portfolios should have too. They are not just archives of artefacts, but also include reflections that reveal the thoughts and feelings of that work.

I do not think I will ever tire of well-made behind-the-scenes videos.

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The one above combines my first academic love (biology) with my subsequent one (education).

It is one thing to appreciate the beauty that BBC documentarians capture — a “brinicle” forming in the antarctic in this case. It is another to see how they do it and what they reflect on. The first is the product and the second is the process. The two are linked, but the product is obvious while the processes that created it are less so.

I place more weight on observing and evaluating processes instead of focusing on a finished product. After all, an artefact has many ways of becoming. Some processes are more skilful, ethical, or otherwise better than others, so I want to know.

Isn’t “How did they do that?” the most natural question to ask when you see something surprising or amazing? It is until you are immersed in traditional schooling.

By then, much of the focus is on end-products of work and/or learning. I separate the two because a product could be a result of much work and still be very little evidence of learning.

To get to the learning, teachers need to be able to evaluate the processes that led to the product. The Instagram post is a 15-second reminder on how to put the horse back in front of the cart.

I like the team that makes About To Eat videos on YouTube. The group is a good example of how to adapt to the changes imposed by pandemic shutdowns and distancing.

Before they called themselves ATE, one of their most popular video series involved two hosts trying foods at different price points. Since they could not visit eateries to do this, they branched out their efforts, e.g., cooking in their own kitchens.

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In the gradual reopening of restaurants, one of ATE’s producer-videographers, Alvin, opted to create reflective documentary-style videos. His latest effort is embedded above.

His video provided insights into how much continuous work that a Michelin star chef still has to do. These are things that customers or laypersons will probably take for granted because they only see the final product served up in a plate or bowl.

For me, this is a reminder about the importance of seeking and appreciating the processes behind a product. It is a principle that applies in work and in school.

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This video illustrates two teaching principles that I am a squeaky wheel about.

Focus on ability, not disability
When teaching learners with special needs, it is easy to focus on what they cannot do instead of what they can.

While such learners will need knowledge and skills to fit into larger society, e.g,. taking public transport or working to support themselves, they are no less people than “normals” are.

It might be easier to pigeon-hole Jeff and his condition to, say, a simple service job with repetitive tasks. This video illustrates how he has developed his strengths and passions to be an artist, TikToker, and online seller.

Process and product
It is easier to focus on products of learning than on processes of the same. But this video illustrates how important and impressive the processes are behind the products that Jeff makes.

It also reveals the support that he gets and illustrates the roles that others play in the education of the so-called disabled.

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It is not often that one enjoys watching two greats, Dench and Cumberbatch, sharing screen time. This was one of their efforts to promote Red Nose Day 2021.

I like how the behind-the-scenes process video was actually longer than the polished product video. It took the opportunity to illustrate and reflect what the product video could not. It is a valuable lesson on what to focus on when implementing portfolios of learning.

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I appreciate both the final product and the insights into the processes behind that product.

If only more schools and educational institutes invested in portfolios that would do the same. We would then have insights and measures on student learning.

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This was Apple’s product tribute to the new lunar new year. And, yes, it is lunar and not Chinese since one race does not have dibs on it.

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But mine is not a rant on how peoples of other countries also celebrate this event. It is an appreciation of the processes behind the product.

The cynics might say that both videos are advertisements for Apple. They are. But the educator in me would point out how many more focus on the product (like a test score) and how few focus on the processes (like the actual learning).

Here’s to more product and process (P&P) videos over the weekend!

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