I’ve been reading about expertise.
Let me back up a moment. Lindsey and I began brainstorming to write an article about teachers (us!) who model lifelong learning. In a shift away from the MOOC culture of putting the Sage on the (computer screen) Stage to share wisdom with the masses, we’re interested in teachers who are not sages but who instead model self-directed learning for their students.
What happens when students see teachers not as experts but as novices?
We are hoping good things happen!
And, so far, my reading about expertise has shown that we may be onto something. It turns out that experts are often so good at what they do that a lot of the process they use when applying their knowledge becomes automatic and intuitive, so the experts have difficulty explaining their process to others. Experts may even misrepresent their actual processes so that the students get all mixed-up and misled. Yikes.
Here’s an example. When I was about 19 or 20, I had never cooked chicken, and I never paid attention when anyone else was cooking it. One evening I was babysitting and was told to sauté some chicken in olive oil in a frying pan. I had no idea how to follow these simple instructions.
I ended up putting too much oil in the pan, and when I realized it was too much, I drained some into the sink. Unfortunately, the oil was piping hot at the time, and it spattered everywhere. I had burns from the spattering, and the oil sprayed onto the window screen behind the sink in a way that was unbelievably messy. (It stayed like that for several weeks, until I was babysitting again and had the presence of mind to clean up that messy screen, no matter what it took.)
My point? If I had seen a cook with just a bit more experience than me sauté that chicken, I would’ve been privy to all the steps as that cook applied previous experience to the task: “I’ve never cooked chicken this way, but I know that the word sauté means…” “When oil is hot, it spatters…” etc.
Instead, I received directions from a cook who was so used to sautéing chicken that explicit directions…well, they were never even considered until things went awry. Sautéing chicken was an automatic task for a 40-year old. Not so much for me. (And Google and YouTube didn’t exist back then in case you’re wondering why I didn’t just take out my phone to look up how to sauté chicken.)
I don’t have burn scars, in case you’re feeling worried about me or about the potential negative effects experts can have on learners. So let’s not get extreme or melodramatic or anything.
Furthermore, I don’t think Lindsey and I are complete novices in any way. However, we are definitely in the process of learning, and because we are collaborating and we hail from different disciplines, we regularly make our thinking explicit. And that part of being non-expert is important and awesome. I’ve already learned a lot from Lindsey, and I know I have a long way to go.
In the upcoming weeks, we are going to be working with two students, and I’m looking forward to it. I’m hoping they, like Lindsey, bring their past experiences into conversation with these new situations in ways that I can learn from. Really, I hope that all four us end up learning and growing in conversation with one another.
Then, in the future, as Lindsey and I gain more experience, we will end up teaching courses that guide students through their own projects. That’s the most typical model for classroom teaching in higher ed right now, I’d say. Or it should be. Lecture halls have their place, but I don’t think they should be the main attraction.
It’s weird to think about expertise as something that can cripple rather than enable a teacher. I don’t think that is always or is necessarily the case, actually. But, at the same time, it’s helpful to know that undergoing the process of learning with students is nothing to be afraid of. Learning may ultimately be the best thing a teacher can do.
Maybe that is cliche or overly simplistic, but there’s something to it, yes? What’s your opinion? How much expertise does a good teacher need to have? And how is that expertise translated to students?
Looking forward to thinking more about it!
That pretty much sums up where I’m at right now. The spring semester starts in fewer than six days, and I’m nowhere near ready! I’ve got syllabi to revise, assignments to prep, reading to do.
I’m expecting the semi-annual nightmares to begin soon… You know, the ones where you walk into the classroom on the first day only to realize that you’ve forgotten to prep your syllabus and have no lesson prepared. The students revolt (not sure where that comes from, cause students would not revolt; they’d just be jazzed about getting out of class early). It only gets worse from there.
Hey, I think there might be a video there! (Not saying any more!)
But, I’m really excited to be getting started with the production of EIGHT, yes, EIGHT, WinkyFace videos this spring! If all goes according to plan, our first video will go live in mid-February, so stay tuned! We’ll be working with two awesome production assistants, Brigid and Mackenzie, and I have no doubt they’re going to keep Laurie and I on task. Don’t worry, we’ll introduce them soon!
In the meantime, if you’re looking for me, I’m somewhere at a computer panicking and freaking out! 😉
Lindsey and I met a few days ago and figured out staging for the first 8 (eight!) videos we’ll be shooting. I’m not giving away any secrets!
But I will share some of the inspirations we considered for four of the videos–the ones titled Between the Lines, which are interviews with literary/fictional characters. We actually had lots of styles to choose from because celebrity interviews are a mainstay of talk shows and comedy sketches….
This one is classic late-night. Not only Dave, but also Johnny, Jay, Conan, Pat (Sajak! from Wheel of Fortune. Yes, he did have a late-nigth talk show back in the day. Crazy.), Jimmy, Jimmy (I completely get those two mixed up. Brown hair. Similar names. Completely confusing), etc.
Hmmm. Maybe it’s also classic male? classic white male? Yup. Because Chelsea and Arsenio have used the Ellen-style (see below) for their late-night talk shows, and neither one is a white man. Will Lindsey and I break the gender barrier? or will we leave the white men to their elevated desks?
The tall-bar-chairs-and-again-with-the-coffee-mug-and-the-snazzy-backdrop style:
Kelly and Michael may be unique in using this style. I love that they’ve brought bar stools into the morning talk show, though it would’ve really been something if they were drinking from beer mugs and shot glasses.
*Spoiler alert* We will not be using this set-up. It seems too dangerous. Such a long way to fall! And very difficult to reach the beverage without losing balance.
The comfy-chairs-because-we’re-just-friends-hanging-out-and-chatting-with-nature-in-the-background style:
This is the style Arsenio and Chelsea use, too, but with slightly different looks in each case. And I don’t know if Chelsea or Arsenio use mugs. I don’t actually watch TV. But I used to. Maybe you could tell that already?
Will Lindsey and I follow some contemporary look that is completely unfamiliar to me? Will I ever have abs that look like Justin Bieber’s?
The host-sits-on-the-left style:
This style is similar to the let’s-pretend-this-celebrity-interview-is-serious-news approach used regularly by Barbara Walters and morning talk show hosts like Matt Lauer. No flash or flare or glitter! This interview is all business! But we can still all share a warm chuckle, or we may just wipe a tear if that emotional chord is struck.
Will the interviewer (aka Lindsey) sit on the left or the right? We actually didn’t discuss this factor yet. We might just sit suddenly and end up where we end up. That seems simpler than figuring out pros and cons, though sitting suddenly could lead to us crashing into each other and getting hurt.
And, last but not least, the inimitable Chris-Farley style:
You’ll have to wait and see what Linds and I have decided to do. In the meantime, tell us your ideas. If you were to do mock interviews to put a fun spin on book characters, how would you design the set?
Can’t wait to hear your ideas!
What I Learned when making this video.
Yes, I have posted a lot of videos to YouTube in the past. However: new camera, new computer, new film editing software. And higher standards. My How To vlog was experimentation with the sole goal of learning how to compose for the 21st-century. The current goal is tied to some measure of success so Linds and I can be better teachers and guide students through online entrepreneurship.
The result of all the “new” and the higher standards? LOTS of Learning Curving!
- My camera‘s software program saves files in mp4 formats
- iMovie (the editing program WinkyFace is using) does not work with mp4 files
- YouTube editing is not a great back-up option for a few reasons….
- Viewers have trouble following a vid that has annotations on top of the regular film (see this draft)
- Annotations done using YouTube editing will not show up on mobile devices, including iPads and tablets (so if you’re viewing from such a device, the previous link & bullet point will make no sense to you)
- It’s tough to have consistency between videos without using a single editing program
- WordPress and Facebook do not always do what you expect them to do (not worth going into details here; just think “TIMESUCK”)
- It’s a bad idea to erase videos from your camera as soon as you’ve downloaded to your computer: Just wait, Ms. HurryPants! There will be plenty of time to erase after you’ve completed the project.
- Google is your friend when figuring out…
- why iMovie won’t allow your mp4 files to load
- how to edit with YouTube
- how to edit with iMovie
- lots of other stuff yet to be discovered!
- Lindsey is your friend when figuring out…
- how to balance high standards with small amounts of time & energy
- how to import mp4 files to iPhoto using the memory card so the files are translated into mpg files that make iMovie happy
- lots of other stuff (too much to say in this small space, and more that is yet to be discovered!)
- Many activities take more time and revision than you’d ever anticipate. (I have a feeling I’ll learn this lesson over & over!)
At the end, I was satisfied with the Margin Notes video (though I also have some critiques regarding music, lighting, etc., which I’ll keep in mind for next time), and I thought it supplemented the blog post appropriately.
So YAY for that!
Which of the “Lessons Learned” resonate with you? What advice do you have for coping when things go awry? Share in the comments!
So, as you may or may not have noticed, I’m late with my weekly blog post this week.
The short answer to explain this is that it was finals week. I was pulled in a number of directions with giving and grading final exams and wrapping up the semester with parties and whatnot. ‘Hard work,’ you’re thinking. I know. Excuses.
But, the more thoughtful answer is that blogging well takes work. The truth is, I knew that I needed to write a post for some time. And, I had all kinds of thoughts on what to write about. First, I thought about writing about hash tagging after I saw this video.
Laurie and I were talking about creating unique-to-us hash tags that we could use on our Twitter feed. I thought initially that this would be something neat to blog about, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I didn’t have anything really profound to write about it.
Then I saw this YouTube Rewind 2013 vid…
… and I got to thinking:
1) how cool it was to see some of our fav YouTubers (Jenna Marbles, Ryan Higa, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon) featured in the vid.
2) how cool it would be to someday see WinkyFace in a YouTube Rewind vid. I mean, come on. If the Prancersize lady can make the vid, surely Laurie and I can create something that will capture attention in the YouTube community.
But, neither of those initial thoughts were good enough to warrant a whole blog post.
In the past week, Laurie and I have been doing a lot of projecting and planning to make sure that as we move forward, we have a clear sense of direction and purpose for this work. We’ve been thinking about everything from a video production schedule to a scholarship schedule. We’ve been making plans for future production assistants, research assistants, and even possible conference and book proposals. All are longer-term goals. But, I guess we haven’t been doing a lot of thinking about the immediate, outside of worrying that our grading is completed on deadline and the Christmas presents are bought and wrapped before Dec. 25.
The pressure to produce a thoughtful blog post really made me realize that I need to do a bit more thinking and planning for the short term, especially for Margin Notes. Great blog posts don’t always just materialize. When they do, it’s completely awesome. But when they’d don’t, well, it’s rough.
So, note to self: Make a monthly blog plan. If the plans change and one of those amazing blog posts does materialize from an interesting conversation or happening, then so be it. But if not, then at least I’ll have something in place to prevent the panic. As a communication professional, I know that planning is good practice. I guess I need to practice what I preach! 😉
So, yesterday, Laurie and I decided to do a little bit of experimentation with cameras, tripods, and acting abilities. We knew we weren’t quite ready to make our first official WinkyFace video, but we get that practice is essential to success.
We met in my office at about 9 a.m. We set up our tripods (that was pretty easy), powered up the cameras (also manageable), and began “rehearsing” (another story!) with the cameras rolling.
If having fun = success, we hit it out of the park. We had a great time, and we laughed … a lot. But we also learned a lot, too. Here’s a short list of some of the things we learned while practicing.
1. We need to practice.
2. Our camera skills could use some work.
3. We probably need an assistant (or two).
4. We’ve got to find a way to improve the quality of our videos (lighting, sound, etc.).
5. We’ve got to have a more solid plan for filming so as not to waste precious time.
So, we’re going to work on all of those things. We’ve already conned (OK, they agreed willingly) two awesome students into being our production assistants in the spring, so we can check #3 off the list.
I had so much fun working on editing this video. I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy the process. I stayed up until 2 a.m. last night working. Then, I dreamt about video editing in the short five hours of sleep I did get. And, I even woke up before my alarm wondering if my video had finished exporting! I’m a nut. But, I’m a storyteller at heart. Web video is just another cool medium for telling stories, and I’m excited to experiment more with it.
Until then, check out our video and let us know what you think by either commenting here or on YouTube. We’re not gonna lie. We’re a bit anxious about how this and any other videos we produce will be received and about the types of comments we’ll get. Laurie’s working on a post with more on that, so stay tuned.
I think curving is a sport. Oh, wait, no. That’s curling.
I’m so glad curving is not a sport, because for me, “learning curving” is about being in a perpetual state of not knowing exactly what I’m doing. And that’s exactly the state I’m in when it comes to WinkyFace. (Well, that state and Pennsylvania.)
Shhh. Don’t tell anyone I’m scrambling. I’m sure I’ve fooled them all into thinking I’m a pro.
I anticipate that I’ll be returning to this subject of “learning curving” on a regular basis. And by “anticipate,” I don’t mean that I’ll be looking forward to it the way I might look forward to Heinz ketchup eventually making its way out of the bottle. No.
What I mean by “anticipate” is that I “have a sneaking suspicion based on past experience and a pattern I’ve noticed of regularly not knowing what I’m doing.”
(Remind me to tell you about buying a tripod that didn’t have any directions. Maybe I’ll even reenact that state of learning curving because if I go through hell, we might as well all get some enjoyment out of it, right?)
So. Here’s what I found out—through the miraculous power of Google!—about filming computer screens to include the user (as opposed to the screen-capture style) :
The best result you can get if your camera is good enough is to film in near darkness where the only light source is the monitor and show it reflecting off your skin… looks awesome and very real. I also have found that when you cut to the over-the-shoulder or POV showing the screen, you get a better result in a no-light situation than you do in a room with light.
… it was really easy to read the text on the screen and show user activity happening on the screen in that situation. I got great contrast, really clear image, and no distortion, flicker or annoyances.
Thank you, nevart on videomaker.com! Except when I played with it, it was not so utopic after all. I might have a different kind of screen than nevart because, apparently, the type of screen matters to things like filming. But I’ll keep playing and researching ’til I find a method that is reasonably okay.
So, yes, I do a lot of experimenting. And I rely on Google and the people on the Internets generous enough to share their expertise & experience.
Tell me: How do you cope with learning curving?
Advice & expertise is much appreciated! (even if being an expert on not being an expert seems like a bit of an oxymoron…)
So, in lieu of a very serious and thought-provoking post (yeah, like I’m capable of those!), I’m just going to share why I’m thankful for WinkyFace. (BTW, I am thankful for many other blessings in my life, but here I’m just going to focus on WF, and really, since WF is me + Laurie, I’ll just tell you why I’m thankful that we’re friends!)
1) Laurie can always make me laugh.
Laurie: Are we good to meet and start filming next Thursday?
Me: Well, next Thursday is Thanksgiving.
Laurie: What, you mean you’re going to be busy?
2) She can laugh at herself.
Laurie laughing out loud, in the library, after we just finished reading aloud one of our WF video scripts: I love how we crack ourselves up!
3) She’s game for just about anything, like when a couple of years ago I said, “Hey, why don’t you come to Ireland with me on a Study Abroad trip?” (While riding those horses in Ireland, we had the wackiest conversation–about what life would be like in 2012 if we didn’t have cars and had to use horses to commute. You would not longer need gas stations, only apple stations. And where would you charge your iPhone or plug in your GPS?)
4) She’s rarely embarrassed to be goofy. (Yes, that’s her wearing a sandwich board … in Ireland.)
5) She’s always willing to help. Here she is being interviewed for my COMM 418: Electronic Storytelling and Documentary Production class’s major project on Marywood’s Centennial.
6) She’s never afraid (or at least she doesn’t show it when she is) to stand up for what she believes in. That’s inspiring. I want to be just like Laurie when I “grow up.”
I could go on. I’m thankful to work with Laurie and to count her as a friend. And, I’m thankful to be collaborating with her to bring you, our readers and viewers, WinkyFace. I’m thankful for all she does to help make WinkyFace a success.
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with blessings and love. In the comments below, let us know what you’re thankful for!