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Stephan recording the talk in Sydney

Stephan recording the talk in Sydney

Geoff and I gave another talk about EduPOV today, this time at Western Institute of TAFE in Orange. I think today’s talk went better than the one at Sydney Institute. Geoff spent more time explaining and demonstrating EduPOV gear before I launched into my usual rant about the importance of social media to education.

The talk at Sydney Institute was a bit disjointed I thought, because we had 3 distinctly different groups who came for 3 very different reasons. We had trades people who wanted to see the EduPOV gear, we had educational developers keen to talk about the wider implications, and we had first Australians interested in both the application and the implications in terms of the indigenous context.

The talk today in Orange seemed to be much more coherent and presenter lead, and so in this regard I felt satisfied that I played my expected part. After Geoff demoed the gear, it was up to me to put the concept of Point Of View into a historic, educational and social context for consideration. Again a recording was made, but I think I can recall the nub of it.

I basically said that Point Of View (POV) is about more than the cameras and that the modern internet is all about POV. I pointed out that we have actually had this micro camera technology for quite some time, but it took the modern internet to appreciate the value in it. So it is social media with all its evident influences on audience reception in television, radio, cinema and all, that has made the space for Geoff to present a product called EduPOV. Teachers are more ready to consider themselves and their students as the producers of their own educational media.

The modern Internet is all about points of view, and wearable micro cameras like EduPOV gear is simply one tool and medium for presenting a POV in quite a literal way. It is thanks to the success of social media services and people’s willingness to use those services to share their points of view, that we have access to a vast array of primary resources that can be made infinately useful in educational settings. My proposal then was that the educational point of view and contribution to all this available resource, is to identify what is quality in it all, and to make that identification of quality available for all to consider. The educational point of view therefore, is one of quality.

This is not to be confused with material quality such as the image or sound quality, that aesthetic perspective has been altered by social media as well and we are all more capable of accepting a wider range of aesthetic qualities now. The quality I am referring to is that of the content. It is an educational practitioner’s role (I argue) to engage with social media, to look beyond the surface layers of services like Youtube and get beneath it, to create accounts and subscribe to new content feeds, to favorite and comment and connect, and to realise the deeper layers of what is available in social media collections, and to help identify quality information and resources and help it to emerge and rise above other content. Further, if by chance that teacher notices something missing, or something in need of correction, to see that need as an opportunity for them to create the additional or corrective media and add it back into the social media so that it can play its role in that wider collective context. Its “teachable moment”.

So a teacher (or content expert’s) point of view has an important role to play in the folksonomic organisation of the modern internet. But sadly, due to censorship, restrictive copyright, over zealous network security, prejudice, ignorance, connection issues and general inabilities, the educational point of view is the missing element in the social media scape, leaving us all to ‘fend for ourselves’ in the appreciation and organisation of primary content.

There was some heated and challenging discussion around the points in that argument, with the usual split in the room between those who were excited by the thoughts and those who were deeply threatened, or flat out rejected the thought. I fueled that with my controversial ways of putting things of course, but I guess that’s to be expected by now.

I am beginning to let go of the idea that the education sector will ever make an impact on the development of social media for education and that either something else will fill that opportunity, or that darker elements such marketing and shallow entertainment will take advantage of the illiteracy and ignorance that the education sector permitted to exist. This is no reflection on the people at Orange by the way. Its just that after 5 years of doing this, I can’t see anywhere near the level of change in the educational mindset, and the wider society to that measure, that I thought should have taken place by now. Others more senior and more experienced than I assure me that a significant change is happening, but that the education sector can only respond when those changes are prevalent throughout society, rather than be the one to make the change or prepare a society for the change. And that is a fact that I am beginning to see the fairness of.

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EduPOV have flown me over to Australia to talk with Sydney Institute of TAFE, Western Institute and Illawara Institute. The topic for discussion is EduPOV with the brief being to focus of on the conceptuial side of that. No worries.. here’s my 10 point frame for that talk. Looking forward to it.

A couple of weeks ago I received an EDUPOV sample kit. It was easy to record a couple of videos with, so I have passed the 2 kits to some of the teachers I work with who load instructional videos to the net. The chefs had a go, HortyKim is trying it out next week, and one of the art teachers promises something interesting.

Well, is it versitile?

Well, is it versitile?

I’m a big fan of the concept of Point of View (PoV). Its what Web2 has been all about. All those quality freaks have had to bow down and accept the miracle of Youtube, and see how it has influenced TV and cinema. We have come to love the authenticity of the PoV.

But since trying the EDUPOV kit I have thought the set up needs refining. It need sto be simple, out of the way, versatile, strong and not precious. It needs to be usable and something you can whip out, use and put away. No fuss.

EDUPOV have centred their development thinking around eye glasses. I think that is a mistake. Apart from it looking pretty daggy, we all seem to be having a small problem getting the right angle in the recordings. The glasses would come off too easy in those running for cover action times, they’d fog up, they’d get to be clumsy and uncomfortable, they reflect light like all glasses do, they don’t give you the right angle, break too easily, can’t be comfortably worn over existing glasses, and in the case of the EDUPOV, still require somewhere to tuck the cable and the hard drive. Oh, and when it comes to people recording, the glasses are too conspicuous for both the recorder and the recordee.

PETZL ultra

PETZL ultra

Petzl mini

Petzl mini

Enter the head torch. I have used head torches for about 15 years now. Ask any adventure sports person to show you their torch, and I guarantee you they will show you a head torch. Like the POV cameras, head torches allow the user hands free operation. Wearing a head torch you can set up a tent, cook a meal, read a book in bed, fix gear in low light, walk out at night, abseil off a cliff in the dark, go caving, etc etc. All these things are impossibly difficult with a hand held torch and like wise for a hand held camera. But its moments like those when I want a camera the most!

Take the state of the art PETZL head lamp, drop in a lense, microphone and SD card slot, and you have me buying one for $300

Take the state of the art PETZL head lamp, drop in a lense, microphone and SD card slot, and you have me buying one for $300

So I think the POV lens should be mounted in the head torch for use both day and night. Right in there with the LEDs. Not only does the camera now work in the dark, but you could use the LEDs to approximate the field of view that is being captured to video. The head torch design is already standardised to fit to safety helmets, and some even come with detachable options so you can take the torch off and mount it somewhere fixed for those moments when we all want to get in the shot.

If the POV lens was mounted in a smick head torch like a PETZL, then the market for these things is significantly larger than edumacationalists who struggle to get creative ideas at the best of times. I’d say 1 in every 20 adventure sports people will want one, all military training personnel, industry, police, ambos.. pretty much anyone that already uses head torches and has a need to record video too. If you are used to using a head torch, then you are automatically used to using a POV. If you have experienced camping with geeks and head torches, you’d know that it doesn’t take long to stop noticing them and start just doing what ever it is you’re doing.

So EDUPOV.. how about a head torch camera?

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Just thought I’d try out the edupov.com video camera glasses to record the ride to work

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Alex and Geoff at EduPOV have sent me this great little kit for recording Point Of View video. Meaning, hands free – strap the lense somewhere and get in there and do it video. They have the lense glued to saftey glasses, but I reckon a head torch is better. The head torch enables me to finely adjust the angle, and if need be I have a light source for those dark corners I get myself in to. I'm going to have a lot of fun with this little rig over the next month. Demo videos, adventure videos, love videos, you name it 😉

First thing is to get it onto the head torch.