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September 6, 2007

ladies making stuff: keynote=go

Posted by dogpossum on September 6, 2007 11:23 AM in the category teaching

poster.Cda.StrongArmsOfCanada.woman.WWI.jpg DFE logged this story about pecha kucha (pronounced peh-chak-cha) on faceplant this week and it's caught my attention in a massive way. I think I want to do it. I've been thinking about making keynotes into little films (there's a neat export option which automatically makes them into quicktime files) and to think that there are other nerds out there, just like me, who're into this action... how wonderful! But of course, part of my thinking is centered on the fact that that is one hot teaching tool.

I'm already a really big fan of Keynote. I just LOVE the way I can combine pictures, little bits of text, little movies, music or sound files (oh yes, please - jazz up the wazoo), 'slides' which change automatically, or use basic animated transitions (like a page turning or one slide being pushed aside by another) and me strutting about talking crap in front of a captive audience.

I am just obsessed with the opportunities for visual puns and bad jokes - I'm still thinking I'm the queen of lecturing for my joke about laundry trucks and Roland Barthes (which I can't really tell here because it takes some setting up).
Writing that lecture about the media and war, I was also struck by the possibilities of keynote for making quite full on emotional points.

RosieTheRiveter.jpg I really enjoy making these things (even though they're a lot of work), and I think they're a really effective way of teaching - the stoods like them and stay interested, and I find they slow me down and stop me talking a zillion miles a minutes (which I tend to do otherwise). Not to mention the fact that when you're teaching media it actually helps to show some.

I also like the 'found object' approach to keynotes that I've been taking. Basically, I write my lectures in a word file, including all the necessary information, then I break it down into 'slides' (which usually means one major point per slide, so I'm looking at about 70-90 slides for an hour and a half lecture), then I go looking for images and clips. Hello google, my fine friend. And hello youtube. Once I've found clips, I download them and then insert them into my keynotes. Because I'm using a mac, it's all a matter of click-and-drag: easy peasy.

watson.jpg I'm also a fan of sound files - I've found some truly fabulous audio files from the site. There's one I especially like called 'Loyalty and German-Americans', which is a speech by the American James W. Gerard speaking in 1917. It's a neat example of wartime racism, making quite clear the idea that the media is a useful place for developing anti-enemy emotions, including dehumanising the enemy. And it's particularly effective when you match it with a series of posters like this one from WWII.
I've just dropped that sound file of that speech into my keynote so the stoods can hear exactly how people talked about this stuff. The fact that most of them are first or second generation Australians (if that!) makes Gerard's anti-German immigrant talk extra pertinent. Talking about WWI is interesting because we don't have cinema or TV or radio working in the same way as it was in WWII and then later wars - we're looking at a culture dominated by visual print media and public speaking.

And of course, when it comes to WWII, I just have to play songs like Ellington's A Slip of the lip (can sink a ship), because it illustrates so perfectly the sentiment in posters like this one and this one.

And then, of course, I show them pictures of the current war-time, racism-inciting, 'anti-terrorist' posters like this one*.
A slightly different message: talk more about the things you see, rather than talk less, but still inciting a sense of paranoia and mistrust of the people around you. Or more specifically, mistrust of the people who are 'unusual' or 'not like us' around you.

Looking at all these amazing posters, and watching the doco Hype yesterday (which I picked up for a few dollars in the recent JB sale - ah, serendipity!), I'm suddenly all inspired to print my own posters. I'm not sure whether I'll be promoting kick-ass chicks in sensible clothing or punk-ass indy rock, but I can be sure it will be wonderful. Though I'll probably have to get ducky to tell me how.... when I get time, of course.

*My favourite line on that poster is this one: "I know this person who has downloaded a lot of documents from suspicious websites". I'm just waiting for one of my stoods to ring up our Fearless Leader and dob me in.

Posted by dogpossum on September 6, 2007 11:23 AM in the category teaching