Student Reflections

David Yam's Reflections

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Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 11 | Final Reflections

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First Day: Lots of Things to Do

Today was the first day in the class of MIT219. I felt pretty much overwhelmed with the amount of coursework required from the get go, but also pleasantly surprised by the amount of enthusiasm from students and teacher alike within the course.

This will be a day of many firsts then-

First time making a blog.

First time using tumblr.

First time making a video describing something myself (previously we had it done in a group setting and it wasn’t such a good experience.)

I believe that this will surely be a course that will stretch and challenge me within this short period of 3 weeks.

One thing I hope to take away from this would be to be able to speak effectively and bring out my personality on the camera (which I had heard is pretty hard to do, and from whatever initial experience is not easy.) Secondly I hope to learn the skill of explaining something seemingly complex and difficult in a simple-to-understand manner.

All in all I thank God for this course and hope it goes well. *crossesfingers*

Link back to Day 1

Day 2 Thoughts

Wow. It surely was interesting pitching ideas to 6th grade students. It was like trying to angle whatever I know and feel to be interesting in such a way that they’d also understand it. It sure was a difficult task. And one that came unannounced until 12.10 in the afternoon. Was kind of disappointed that none of my ideas were mentioned as favorites of the kids there though, but then again its pretty hard to compete with lots of the other great ideas that the other students had about robots and bracers. I’d be very interested to watch videos about such things they had mentioned also!

Wondering how on earth the subsequent days of filming and editing will go. It seems that many of my thoughts seem to be described with animations, similar to those numerous videos of Ted-Ed that I was watching in Singapore before flying over here. But it was clear from today’s lecture that animations would be a difficult task to do within such a short time of 3 weeks. What method would I then possibly use to flash out a reasonable video within this time period? Possibly stop-motion cameras / holding out drawn objects.

Link back to Day 2

Day 4

I found today extremely interesting when I got to see a snapshot / hidden view into how people in the animation industry really did storyboarding. Prior to this I had not understood and hence emphasized the importance of storyboarding. This was when teachers in class wanted us to storyboard our videos, but then it wasn’t explained why such importance was placed onto it.

I see storyboarding as a quick way to save time and money, much like how quick and dirty prototyping is to creating a product. Of much importance to this is how there has to be many inputs into, in terms of opinion, when making and “re”-storyboarding (from the video). Thankfully this is present within the course we’re going through!

Storyboarding my script will be interesting. I really value the positive words from our teacher Elizabeth when she keeps mentioning again and again how hard scripting is, because I really feel it. The words always don’t seem to be optimal and adequate, and there’s always “something” better, but starting is already better than thinking about it and doing nothing.

Here’s to starting. :D

Link back to Day 4

Day 5 Reflections

Today was good learning how to edit and film and shoot in theory. I knew before that filming something and doing it well was not something that was easy, but I’d never been briefly exposed to the thought process behind all that goes through when filming something. Kudos to all those directors / short-film-makers / video editors throughout all the decades! Now I believe I get a better understand of exactly what it means when the director “brings you into his / her world” whenever you watch a movie. Everything, (or if not almost every), that you see in screen is there for a particular reason: Lightings, camera angle, focus, sound, and all.

What was awesome was to be able to get outside and shoot for ourselves. I was paired up with Yuliya, who was really helpful and positive about what was good within the scene and shooting angles and whatnot. I felt that a lot more would have to be grasped to really produce something good. May be not something that we can achieve in these 3 weeks. But already coming to learn from everything up till now, and all the help and advice we’ve been given, will allow us to produce much better videos than we could have had previously. It was really great how Elizabeth told us how exactly she went through the process herself to kinda give us an example and a model to follow.

Tonight will be editing the script and sending it off because tomorrow there’ll be skiing! Lots of stuff to do because I’m also sending a teaching video for an interview to be a TA in school. Wish me luck.

Link back to Day 5

Day 6 Reflections

I thought that the comments given today at the table-read were brutally honest but right. When I was reading through the script that I had revised the day before I was also getting bored and uninterested. Duh. No-wonder I didn’t have much good experiences with making videos before. The wordings weren’t natural and had too many long sentences too.

I think what was most important was how Elizabeth was going through the flow for Videos as compared to Essays. In videos there really needs to be a hook to pull in others. Videos aren’t thesis statements / essays that others have to trudge through, and even so, the sentence structures for a script and an essay is so different.

Streamlining the story and putting the questions in context was a good way to keep everything in check and not seem to be a bunch of random information that is unlinked. Thanks Jamie for this good comment.

Really hope that this next script is something better. Started it from scratch, without looking at its predecessor, as advised. Kind of getting tired now from writing it again. I think tomorrow I’ll look at it and read it again to make sure that the wording is better.

Felt that Paul and Yulia had really interesting scripts and everybody who presented today presented really well. (On a side note, I feel that people in America present better in general overall!) I would be very interested in watching their videos when it comes out! All the best guys. We’ve got about a week plus left. XD

Link back to Day 6

Day 11 Thoughts

I’d really like to thank all the teaching staff for all the work put into this video making process. Before MIT 20.219, I hadn’t imagined the collaborative and creative effort required to piece together an ~3 minute video. Really kudos to all the people who made K12 videos before us.

I strongly believe that the iterative process was what made our videos better and hopefully a success? Without it our ideas wouldn’t be fresh / flashed out in a proper way.

Really hope that the relationships / experiences shared during this 3 weeks will continue in the long run! Hope you guys will contact mysel / Joshua / Kenneth when coming to Singapore! We’d be more than happy to bring your around! XDD

Anyways, I’m glad that PJ is going to do his video with Science Out Loud! (Can’t wait for it to come out so I can catch it!)

Link back to Day 11

Final Reflections

This course was really an eye opening and stretching one for me! As per mentioned during the showcase: The course was really a course of firsts! And hopefully I can carry on whatever I’ve learnt here to other portions.

I’m glad to say that I’ve survived it and am actually pretty proud of my work! I won’t say its perfect (or really good) and there’s so many others in class who have more awesome work, but I think it was really worth it. XDD Through this I’ve learnt the nitty gritty dirty portions to short video makings. And can really appreciate and understand how intricate videos are.

Really like to thank Elizabeth, Jamie and Ceri for their awesome work in shaping our scripts / storyboards / video editing and cuts. But more than that, for encouraging us to express our creative-sides and pushing up to achieve more. Like I had mentioned in the showcase: I really feel that all our projects are a combined effort of all the teaching staff as well as inputs from various students! Thank you everyone!

One thing I would like to mention was that at the start I was torn between 2 problems to answer through the video:

  1. What makes math problems too hard to solve?
  2. How does one survive the cold?

I ended up doing qn 2 only after much debate because of feedback from the 6th graders, Elizabeth as well as finding a succinct and concise YouTube video on “P vs NP”. I feel now that maybe doing the whole video on “cold” is not something within my area of specialty and possibly a further improvement would be to do one within that.

Another area of improvement would be delivery and hosting. I felt that certain other videos had better hosting compared to mine. One reason was that I was unsure in front of the camera, and I feel the answer to this is just more practice and keeping the script only to main points. The second reason was that at the start of the storyboard I was having a more “Ted-Ed” (voice speaking with animation) mindset to creating the whole video.

Although I must say that I am unlikely to start another video on my own time, I do hope that these lessons can be brought forward when I do need to use them.

Other than learning about video making / hosting / script writing, another lesson I have learnt through class is framing opinions / feedback. I noticed how individuals in class, Elizabeth and Jamie especially, would give a precursor before stating their opinion. They said stuff like “This might be just me”, or “Coming from…”, or “You don’t really have to do this, but if I were you…”. (This enabled the listener to better understand the context in which the opinion is aimed towards.) I felt that this really helped in the creative process. Also, framing the feedback didn’t cause any unhappy moments, as is often seen when ideas get “shot” down in more direct manners.

I’d like to end off by saying that I’m really glad to have gone for MIT 20.219 and for the friendships made. I would really like to extend the invitation to all students and teaching staff to keep in contact and visit us in Singapore if you can! Please do visit!

(P.S.- @Paul: All the best with the video! Hope to see it on Science Out Loud soon.)

(P.S. 2 - @everyone: I hope everyone is doing okay with the snow barrage and all!)

With Best Regards,

David Yam

Link back to Day 13

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