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Posts Tagged ‘product

While the video below is a short documentary on chicken rice, it is also an elaborate advertisement for the iPhone 13 Pro. But that should not stop us from learning something about maintaining portfolios.

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The collaborative project resulted in a product — a short documentary. The next video provides some insights into some of the processes behind that product.

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We only get slivers of sight into how the documentary was shot. We do not have any insights on the sound design and editing, the video post production, the logistics and coordination, etc. But this does not make the second video any less valuable. We still see what we would not otherwise see.

For me, this was a reminder to teachers and students that products are not the only evidence of learning. When learning is externalised in portfolios, they must not only contain products of learning but also processes of the same. The latter should be as complete as possible, i.e., showcase what was learnt, how it was learnt, the issues the learner faced, and how they overcame those issues.

It is the first day of the Lunar New Year of the Tiger. In the run up to the new year, Apple typically features a creator’s video. This year’s video did not disappoint. 

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My takeaways are that a) the affordances and limitations of a tool (like the iPhone 13 Pro) are opportunities to be creative, b) the energy of the young is sometimes present in the old (re: the father in the story), and c) it often takes a village to do something of worth. 

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I also enjoyed the making-of video which provided insights on the processes behind the product. It is a pity that this video was so short. I would have loved to see what each cog in the machine did to contribute to the final product.

That said, such a short video is a model for a process e-portfolio. It creates opportunities for Q&A, discussion, unpacking, repacking, critique, etc.

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I only just discovered the fantastic YouTube videos of DIY Perks. The creator of these videos, Matt, combines science, art and design like very few can.

I particularly like how he recycles parts from old computers and devices to create beautiful working pieces of art.

His videos are mostly how processes lead to a final product. This is quite the opposite of what we see in schooling — the final product is obvious and, if current assessment is any indication, valued more than the strenuous processes behind it.

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Matt also provided even more insights into how he creates his videos. While this is also a process-behind-the-product approach, it also adds environmental context and tool use to the mix. These could be a tip for any educator who wishes to reflect on their work.

Sadly, these videos contrast with the black box that is teaching. Very few people want to see how educators prepare because such work is tedious and unglamorous. But I would bet that if more people gained such insights, they would appreciate educators much more.

I will admit something — I watched and enjoyed Edgar Wright movies without knowing that he had written or directed them.

But after watching a recent movie of his, Last Night In Soho, I did a deep dive. One of the gems was this collective process-and-product YouTube video.

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I usually focus on the importance of gaining insights on the processes behind products and link this to education. This time, however, I noticed how Wright would state the names of his collaborators and crew.

This is a good sort of name-dropping because it gives credit where it is due instead of showing off who you know. Attributing your influencers is something else that those of us who maintain portfolios need to do more of.

The best cold open on any screened show might belong to episode 7 of Wheel of Time.

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I appreciated those few minutes even more after watching this behind the scenes (BTS) video that revealed how they shot it. They used a robot to move the camera more rapidly than a human could. When combined with a slow-mo camera, this enabled the team to record sequences they otherwise would not normally get.

Just as impressive were the abilities of the stuntwoman who played the pregnant warrior fighting her enemies. The first half of this BTS video might be a calling card she can wield in future for more work.

I end the calendar year by reminding myself how important it is to record and showcase the processes behind a final product. This strategy is not just for an Amazon Prime show, it is for all learners. 

A “finished” product — an exam result, a project report, a final presentation — does not reveal the processes of learning. A product can be subpar, but that does not mean that the student did not learn anything worthwhile. We only know this if we have insights on the latter. 

Much of schooling and even higher education is still product-oriented (e.g., term papers) because this is more efficient. We try to be process-oriented by providing feedback after experiencing what learners struggle with. This is less efficient, but it can be more effective because there is diagnosis and remediation.

It has been a while since I have highlighted a processes-behind-the-product video. It has also been a while since the Squid Game phenomenon, so why not combine the two?

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The video above provided wonderful insIghts from the writer and director of this imaginative Netflix series.

Some of its characters had significant numbers. For example, as a non-speaker of Korean it did not occur to me that “218” sounded like a swear word. It suited the character who had that number.

The level of detail and the thinking behind the first massacre scene also showed how much pride, patience, and persistence the show’s collaborators had.

If the writer-director did not share these thoughts, we would not be able to appreciate the processes behind the TV product.

I think about how little administrators and auditors appreciate the processes of designing and implementing lessons. I recall having to describe these only twice in my career.

When I was a professor, we had the option of sharing our design process in annual evaluation and ranking exercises. But I doubt these were taken seriously — they were just administrative checklists.

More recently, I informed a collaborator that I could not simply transfer a blended course online. I asked for a redesign fee and provided written justification for the cost.

Even though that written piece was only about a page long, it was impactful enough because it did not to go through revisions nor was it questioned by higher ups.

I wonder if those readers were surprised at the amount of thought and effort that goes into designing for effective learning. These might not be as entertaining as Squid Game behind the scenes, but I dare say they are more important in the long run.

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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.


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