Today’s social media sessions at SWU took place against the backdrop of graduation ceremonies. The whole campus was alive with people dressed in gowns, having their pictures taken, posing with flowers or teddy bears. Groups of students would gather around and dance for graduate, forming a circle and then performing a quite complex synchronised chant to an accompanying drumming.
Our learning objective of the day was to do two things. The first was to record a vlog, i.e. a video blog, and the second was to record a live video feed while walking through the campus.
I’ve used video blogs in the past, as they are an effective tool for self reflection. It’s a simple as sitting in front of a laptop or smartphone and recording your thoughts about a topic. This is how vlogging started, before YouTube became focussed on celebrities, staging and sets. It was someone in their bedroom recording their thoughts. It is still a very powerful tool to use.
I’ve found that vlogging like this is a great way to explore my thoughts, and to develop some ideas in a logical format that I can then revisit and note. It feels strange to begin with, as any kind of talking to oneself would be, but it is useful because it helps as a technique to verbalise and structure our thinking on complex topics and ideas, and then to hear them back to ourselves.
I got the students working in pairs for their first attempt, to sit and introduce themselves and to explain what music they are interested in. The first go is usually heavily self-conscious and can seem very strange when watching yourself back, but one we started to analyse and think about how the students had used the process, we could think of some easy improvements to make that would enhance the process quite quickly, and if they were shared online, then they wouldn’t feel so strange to just be putting thoughts out like this.
We then went for a walk through the campus, taking a selfie-stick with a phone recoding video on the end. We’d plugged in a couple of clip mics to get a bet sound input, but with the iPhone it carries on using the inbuilt microphone, so the sound that was being recorded was too general to be heard properly. It took a while to figure out that its best to use a splitter, with a separate headphone and microphone inputs.
We had a second go at recording once we’d figured this out, and we were able to immediately hear the difference when we played back the audio. The clip mics that I carry with me are omnidirectional, so this might be better if directional microphone is used. This is something that we can play with and consider the challenges of using ad-hoc equipment like this, rather than lugging around bags and lots of media equipment.
Working with a small group means that it’s much easier for everyone to get hands-on experience, though the noise on the campus literally made it difficult to hear myself think. Hopefully not everyday is like this at SWU, but it was great to see so many people celebrating and having fun.