Student Initiated Project: After

Our Student Initiated Project is finally done! We are very excited to have finally finished with it, although our video was not too successful overall. It only got 51 views in total, which is very few. However, we were lucky even such a small number of people watched it, as many well known YouTubers participate in Project For Awesome, and sometimes it can be difficult to get noticed at all.

Despite this, there is a lot of room left for improvement on our part. Although our video was functional and it achieved it’s goal, which was informing people about Alboan, it was not particularly original or interesting, except for the short sketch at the beginning. This was mostly due to our shortage of time when it came to recording the video. If we had been able to speak to Alboan before, I am sure we would have had more time to work together on creating a more fun and creative experience for our viewers. Aside from this, we could have also publicized it a bit more, perhaps distributing the video amongst our school’s community, and encouraging people to share it with their friends and families as well. Lastly, if we were to do this video all over again, we would make sure to contact Alboan much earlier, especially now that we know how to do it. This would allow us to plan our time more effectively beforehand, surely leading to a better product.

With the creation of this video, we have learned a lot about Alboan as a charity and, in the process, we have also learned quite a bit about the causes for which they fight. For example, we found out about the minerals being mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo right now, and how this unregulated mining negatively affects the people who work there, especially young children. We also learned how to arrange meetings with professionals and how to educate ourselves about global issues. Finally, we also grew more familiar with YouTube as a media-sharing platform, and I was able to practise my video-editing skills, which is always advantageous in order to develop my own pastimes and hobbies.

Finally, both Nolan and I met both our learning outcomes. We “demonstrated engagement with issues of global significance” by working closely with a charity and learning about the situation in Congo right now, as well as other international issues of great importance, such as the economic crisis in Venezuela. We also “recognized and considered the ethics of choices and actions” because we acknowledged that putting together a promotional video for Alboan might have an impact on people’s lives, changing the way they look at the technology they use daily, and perhaps even leading them to donate to Alboan, which would in turn lead to changes in the lives of miners in Congo. We also reflected on the outcome of our video and thought about how we could have made it reach a greater number of people, as we know that if more people were informed about the situation in Congo, it would lead to quicker and better change for the people working in those mines.

All in all, although we could have done a significantly better job, Nolan and I have achieved our goal of producing a promotional video for Project For Awesome, and we are proud of our work and achievements.

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Student Initiated Project: During #3

We have had some very busy couple of weeks preparing our video for Project For Awesome, but we managed to get it in on time!

First of all, we finally got an answer from the Alboan crew (after being provided with a different email from someone we know)! Therefore, we did get to have a short interview with a man who works at the organisation. He provided us with a lot of useful information, but we did not include the interview in the video because we could not film the event. However, the man did tell us where we could find some of Alboan’s own video footage to use, which we did!

The interview gave us so much new information that we had to change the script from focusing on refugees to, instead, paying more attention to their “Conflict-Free Technology” campaign, as we discovered that that is Alboan’s main project right now. This is related to how people in Congo are being exploited to mine for minerals used in technological devices, such as computers and mobile phones. In addition to this, we decided to make the video a bit more fun by including a short sketch (featuring my little sister) at the beginning. We use it to inform the audience about how their own mobile phones are affecting the situation in Congo right now.

After that, Nolan and I met up in my house to film the video. The filming process was plagued with inconveniences ranging from faulty electronics (we ended up using two different cameras to film the whole thing!) to silly laughter that led to us messing up our lines. Still, we managed to film the video in a few hours, as it is quite short.

Then, it was time to edit the video! Fortunately, I did not have any problems with that, and I got it done quite fast, as I already have experience with video editing. I used a video-editing software called Movie Studio Platinum 13.0, created by Sony, to cut out the parts where we were laughing or being silly. I also added music and some of the extra Alboan footage we had found, along with a couple pictures. I had the video done in a few hours, and there was still a week left until Project For Awesome!

The video was uploaded to YouTube on December 11th, just in time for the P4A Livestream, including all the relevant links and credits in the description. The video was submitted to the P4A webpage at the same time.

I don’t think we will get too much attention during P4A 2015, as we will probably be overshadowed by the many YouTube celebrities and great charities that participate each year, but let’s hope we get some views and comments on our video by the time P4A ends!

Singing Lessons: During #5

I have finished working on “How To Be a Heartbreaker” by Marina and the Diamonds, and I recorded it this week. I am quite happy about how it turned out, as it was rather a challenging song to sing because of how much power it required. I needed to control my diaphragm very carefully in order to breathe appropriately, which was very difficult for me at first. However, I ended up managing it all quite well, and the result was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be!

Since I last updated this blog, other aspects of the class have changed quite a bit, as more exercises have been introduced to us. Possibly the one I like the most consists of counting up to 13, and sometimes 15, in one breath. (Of course, this is done with a song!) It is very fun, and the music we use to complete the exercise has great rhythm, which makes it even better. Another enjoyable exercise has one improvise a melody with the lyrics “I’m like a bird / Flying in the wind / High low high / Flying”. Each verse is followed by your classmates echoing your melody, making it a very interactive exercise.

Unfortunately, there are also some less enjoyable, yet still beneficial, exercises that we must practise now. One of the hardest makes you, the singer, regulating the dynamics, or loudness, of your voice. What makes this exercise possibly the hardest one up to now is that it requires you to maintain a single note for 12 beats, which is a long time. Sometimes I only manage to hold it for 8 beats, although I have reached 12 a couple of time. Of course, practise is needed!

I am thinking about singing Titanium by Sia next. I have no particular reason for choosing it other than the fact that it sounds like a very fun song to sing. Let’s see how that goes!

Journal Club: During #1

Find the ASB Newsletter here!

I have written my first Journal Club article! It was about third grade’s bridge-building project, in which they had to design and build a bridge in pairs. They were also supposed to be able to explain why they designed the bridge the way they did, and why they used the materials they used to construct it. This project was the culmination of their unit on Inquiry, or “how the world works”, in which they learned about building materials and the importance of the design of structures. When the students were finished with their projects, their teacher made them set up small stations to display their creations on and invited in all of their parents, who got to walk around the stations asking the children questions about their bridges. According to the teacher, everyone had a fantastic time, and the children loved the project!

Writing the article itself did not take a long time, as it was rather short, but fitting the whole story in only 150 words was impossible. There was just too much to talk about! Therefore, I had to make it a bit longer: about 160 words long. However, I then had to translate it to spanish, which made the word count decrease by about 10 words because of language differences, making it fit within the word limit!

It is also very important to mention that I could only write the article because I had help from the third grade teacher: Ms. Kate Barker. She was considerate enough to answer some questions about her class’s project via e-mail, and she was the one that made writing the article possible (or at least easy) for me!

All in all, I am done with this term’s Journal Club work. I am already looking forward to next term’s article!

Pilates: During #1

It has been about a month since I started going to pilates classes, and I am just beginning to appreciate its benefits! I am getting better at the breathing exercises every day, and it is becoming easier for me to stand up straight. My legs and arms also feel more muscular, and I even noticed that I seem to have lost a little weight as compared to when I started (although that is not my main goal, and I don’t really care whether I lose weight or not)!

In general, everything went as I expected. The classes are quite relaxing and the people who attend are always very nice towards me, as I am usually the youngest one there! If anything, some classes have proven to be a bit more challenging than what I expected. This is because, sometimes, we are made to practise exercises that involve poses taken from yoga. These require a lot of balance and a heightened awareness of your body weight, which I still lack. Therefore, the poses I manage to strike are… far from perfect!

Aside from this, I have not encountered more problems in terms of the classes and the exercises we must perform. I am  very happy with this activity, and hope everything will go fine next month as well!