Three Videos, ED 659

So, I think this first video is most in the spirit of the assignment, that is creating an instructional video.  Don, previewed it and made some suggestions about timing the narration a little better and a couple of other fiddly details. And I appreciate that feedback. I have not made those changes mostly to show a progression in learning as we step through the videos.

All of these videos are filmed with a GoPro I borrowed from my son. I assembled them in Movie Maker, well because it is cheap, cheerful and ubiquitous. I used Audacity to create the narrative for the first video. I used Movie Maker’s narration tool in the second video. In the third video, all the narrative is captured real-time with the microphone on the camera. I think that audio quality and balance is a consistent weakness in my videos. If I were to continue making videos I would want to really get control of that element of the presentation. Some of it would be capture equipment, some would be editing software and a systematic approach to making the audio.

If you read other of my blog posts, you hear me riffing on YouTube content creation in two specific ways. First, is,

Initial Exploration of Structures and Boundaries in Creating a Web Presence


Exploring Digital Citizenship.

I return to and explore these themes in other posts. However, in filming for these videos, I was testing my interest and passion for YouTube content creation. If I was a better photographer and perhaps had better equipment, I might be more passionate. I also felt like I struggled self-consciously turning my trips into narratives at the same time I was trying to experience them.

With this video, I begin to meander away from the instructional mission of this assignment. Although, I do get a few factoids into the narrative. I think I also do a better job of timing the story with the imagery.  Technically this video was much more challenging to make. I ended up loading the footage into Camtasia and stripping the audio track (an unpleasant roar of the airplane engine) once I did that recording the narrative was easy.

I think that with this third video I am pretty far afield from the direction of creating an instructional video. However, I like that the narrative filmed real-time hangs together and except for lacking footage of the thunderstorm I have a complete description. I think that better audio capture and a real selfie-stick or a tripod would significantly improve my use of the GoPro. Even better would be to have a digital SLR for the vlogging sequences. Because this third movie breaks my three-minutes or less rule I stayed entirely focused on setting up the campsite, cooking dinner, and surviving the storm. I had some excellent footage of paddling, wind, and waves, to the island, but in the end chose to focus the story.

Current Topic Two, ED 650

 Chapter 3

I like how our authors call “cramming” out. “Cramming” has always been discouraged in my schooling, moreover, in my experience, I could see that it did not suit me. Interestingly they offer that intervals between study sessions, and allowing for a bit of forgetting seems to be a more optimal approach.  They introduce a multi-faceted concept “interleaving” which switches study between topics or skills and at its best may mix up the sequence of switching between practice sessions, hence stimulating attention perhaps.

I think my first recollection of this kind of learning strategy came from sports practices. Weirdly, it wasn’t until graduate school that I used the strategy intentionally for academic practice. In particular, I recall writing papers and stopping before all my inspiration from the previous day was recorded. I would reflect on the topic and the inspiration and the thoughts that the days writing had produced until it was time to write again on the paper the next day. In this way, I was able to keep the inspiration flowing over an extended time. I find myself necessarily doing interleaving in the workplace. I recall creating a practice of working on multiple projects across a day moving each forward incrementally and switching between them. I found that steady progress allowed me to manage my time better and that time was more productive. As an adult practitioner of martial arts in mixed-age classes, it was interesting to see the Senseis routinely employ all aspects of interleaving in teaching the skills.

Chapter 4

We meet a highly motivated Marine who discovered or recognized her fear of falling in being assigned to parachute school. The emotional tension, in this case, served her well heightening her motivation. The authors recycle the notion of “testing” that they introduced in the first two chapters here. The describe every practice session as equivalently a testing session and emphasize the importance of that.

They then begin to develop their notion of learning and develop encoding, consolidation, and retrieval as key elements.  “Encoding” moves sensory input to mental representation. “Consolidation” I love that they use a trope of writing an essay as an example of the mental process of stripping away the noise and focusing on the essential elements of an information/skill (consolidating information/skill is a personal favorite technique). “Retrieval” hinges on a healthy consolidation process that moved memory from short to long-term additionally is making associations either to existing knowledge/skill or some other set of recall cues.

The intensity of effort involved in the recall significantly improves they combine this with interleaving to create a potent tool for learning.  A personal favorite is a practice of creating of mental models, and the authors identify this as a major factor in their effortful learning model. Building mental models is a powerful technique because it allows one to test their knowledge in different situations. Testing refines the model and makes the knowledge/skill available in various locations rather than just one.

They continue developing their ideas with three additional concepts, fostering conceptual learning, improving versatility, and priming the mind for learning.The heart of interleaving is conceptual learning and interleaving with real variety. Repeating the martial arts advice “practice as you play, and you’ll play like you practice” they define their meaning when speaking of versatility. They describe the unfair but critical moment where a learner is called on to solve a problem before being shown how.

All of this work on “desirable difficulty” puts me in mind of concept I learned about as an undergraduate taking a course on enhancing creativity. The notion was “activation level, ” and the point was that we could optimize our creativity by managing our “stress” so that we were at an ideal, though uniquely individual, level, eustress rather than distress. And when I turn to our authors’ discussion of “undesirable difficulties” it seems these are parallel constructions.

Chapter 5

The authors explore the illusion of knowing.

The truth is we’re all hardwired to make errors in judgment. Good judgment is a skill one must acquire, becoming an astute observer of one’s own thinking and performance…. One is that when we’re incompetent, we tend to over estimate our competence and see little reason for change. Another is that, as humans, we are readily misled by illusions, cognitive biases, and ths stories we construct to explain the world around us and our place within it.

So how do we interpret the stories we construct so that we can get back to the data as it presents? I like their recipe.

  • Testing — practicing retrieving learning from memory
  • Peer Instruction — social process aimed at understanding, explanation, feedback, and comparison
  • Cues –mental models, integration, with existing knowledge
  • Feedback — strengthens retention, delaying it may produce better
    • Teams — collaborative problem solving (need to avoid the Bay of Pigs)
    • Simulations — necessary to “practice as you play, and you’ll play as you practice.”

Important to each of these techniques is that all can be or are necessarily social. So the message is that other people can be both a source of reality. And accessing that is through the systematic use of these techniques.  However, what about when all the people we can access share an illusion, cults, or the team that ok’ed the Invasion of the Bay of Pigs, for example? Perfect learning isn’t the same thing as perfect or even correct knowledge/skill/outcome. Perhaps, we are aiming at helping folks discover better ways of asking questions, of being self-suspicious as well as, practicing techniques like the ones listed above?


Brown, P. C., H.L. Roediger, and M.A. McDaniel (2014). Make it stick: the science of successful learning. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press

6 photographs Assignment, ED 659

Photo manipulation is daily work for me.  My job involves sizing and optimizing images for the web, and print. I am handy with Adobe Photoshop. That is not to say that I am a good photographer. I started using 35mm film SLR when I was a kid. My Grandfather tried to teach me about his retirement-passion amateur photography. So, I am familiar with some of the concepts of this assignment.  I use a Canon EO5 at work. I purchased an iPhone just last year when I moved to Dillingham. I have amused myself a little with the native camera app. So, the charge to take six different quality photographs is perhaps the more challenging facet of this assignment.

Office Still Life
Office Still Life

The photo was taken with Canon EO5 Digital Rebel XSi camera; the lens is EF-S 18-55 on a tripod. Original image dimensions 4272 x 2848 at 72 ppi., exposure speed 1/6 second, aperture f/9 with the default ISO of 400.

I was surprised that the picture was at 72 ppi and that caused me to optimize this image for web use. It also caused me to explore the camera setting to adjust the pixels per inch setting. (And I learned that that setting was not a camera setting but a Photoshop setting.) I cropped the image for composition. I changed the RGB levels individually just shaving off the high and low end of the histogram leaving as much data as possible. I then adjusted the curves selecting Brightness and Contrast for this image. Finally I “saved for the web” this involved resizing the image to 600×450 and changing the quality to medium at 512k (I use 512k as my default for rural Alaska) this gave me a file size of 17.1kb for speedy web browsing.

Office Still Life II
Office Still Life II
Office Still Life II Version II
Office Still Life II Version II

Getting this image was an iterative process I tried to frame it with the camera as opposed to relying on Photoshop for cropping.  However, in Photoshop I selected the 5×7 crop and the Golden Spiral layout after seeing the plant leaves flowing to the KDLG logo. I had to turn the plant to emphasize that flow. I then experimented with shutter speed and aperture to see if I could distinguish any depth of field differences.

The photo was taken with Canon EO5 Digital Rebel XSi camera; the lens is EF-S 18-55 on a tripod. Original image dimensions 4272 x 2848 at 72 ppi. For the first version, I set exposure speed .8 second, aperture f/8 with the default ISO of 400. For the second version, I adjusted the shutter speed 1/5 second and aperture f/4.5 and ISO 400 because I wanted to see the effect on depth of field (meh). I cropped the images for composition. I changed the RGB levels individually just shaving off the high and low end of the histogram leaving as much data as possible. I then adjusted the curves selecting Dark & Light and the snap to neutral mid-tones for this image. Finally I “saved for the web” this involved resizing the images to 600×428 and adjusting the quality to medium this gave me a file size of 25kb, and 22kb respectively.

Because the point of an assignment is to learn something I decided to install the Camera! the app on my iPhone and see what that was about. On installing it, I learned that it wasn’t updated for the operating system on my phone. The one bug I’ve found so far is being unable to delete images. The app offers some interesting features over the native camera app. The effects, and some photo framing guides I was quick to discover. I am amused to use a phone to create a print quality image, so I offer this potted plant.


I used an Apple iPhone 5SE shutter speed of 1/40 second, aperture setting f2.2 and an ISO 25, with a forced flash. Original image dimensions 2417×3912, 1.54 MB. I selected the “Roadtrip” fx setting in the app. I messed around with it in Photoshop to size 1200×1942 and adjusted it (if I left it at 2417×3912 at 300ppi the file would have been 27MB). This file is pretty large for the web at 7MB and the wrong format .tif to preview, but you can download it from the link I set the resolution at 300ppi so it will print nicely.

Freezer Image

I used an Apple iPhone 5SE shutter speed of 1/60 second, aperture setting f2.2 and an ISO 25, with a forced flash. Original image dimensions 3042×4032, 1.23 MB. I selected the “Roman Holiday” fx setting in the app. I messed around with it in Photoshop to size 1200×1600 and adjusted curves and levels. This file is pretty large for the web at 5.5MB and the wrong format .tif to preview, but you can download it from the link I set the resolution at 300ppi so it will print nicely.

Monitor images intended for display on a monitor perhaps as a desktop image.

Dillingham Panorama

Both of these images were taken with my iPhone and accordingly the f/2.2 and exposure were 1/2000 with an ISO of 25. Both were modified in Photoshop. The one called Dillingham Panorama I used the healing tool to work power lines out of the image. I adjusted levels and curves and sized for monitor desktop. The sunrise image I adjusted levels and curves. Weirdly the camera meta-information doesn’t display with that image. I am not sure what that is about. However, it is within parameters normal to an iPhone.

A quick and dirty review of one of our required readings. This useful but slightly dated article explains Braddeley’s Working Memory Model the authors then do an extensive literature review it appears both of research they then connect that model with learning theory starting specifically with multimedia learning. The literature review is extensive. They conclude: “Accordingly, we can conclude based on this review that working memory, by and large, is working during learning from text and pictures in the way one would expect it based on Baddeley’s model.” They also point out some inconsistencies between the theory and the way the model has been used in research. Accordingly, because the theory seems to be holding up they suggest several methods for more precise use of the model in future research.

While this is a very technical review article it puts me in mind of the text for my other course this term, Making it Stick. One point those authors regards the importance of retrieval of information/knowledge/skill in their definition of “learning.” In Schuler’s article, we learn about different memory channels, verbal and visual (for a quick and dirty summary) and they indicate that working two different channels doesn’t seem to overload adding to memory. However, reading (translating character’s to verbal, and visual, a picture) may compete for the same channel. Perhaps, rather than writing about an image speaking about it is better for embedding both image and thoughts about the image?


Brown, P.C., H.L. Roedinger, M.A. McDaniel (2014). Make it stick: the science of successful learning. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press

Schüler, A., Scheiter, K., & Genuchten, E. (2011). The Role of Working Memory in Multimedia Instruction: Is Working Memory Working During Learning from Text and Pictures?. Educational Psychology Review, 23(3), 389-411. doi:10.1007/s10648-011-9168-5

Current Topic One, ED 650

Sometimes I find it more efficient reading to work backward from the author’s conclusions. In our text, Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, Brown, et al. end the second chapter with this summary.

Practice at retrieving new knowledge or skill from memory is a potent tool for learning and durable retention…. Effortful retrieval and delaying subsequent retrieval… repeated retrieval. Simply including one test… testing doesn’t need to be initiated by the instructor… a better grasp of their progress… spot gaps and misconceptions… corrective feedback (2014, 43-44).

So, key concepts are captured in this ellipsesized version of their review. For the author’s learners demonstrated retrieval shows learning. Also, we see techniques for achieving “durable retention” including effortful retrieval, letting time elapse between retrievals and repeated retrievals as necessary tools for learning. Also, the authors suggest that learners can own their processes and direct their practice of retrieval. Learners, alone or in peer groups can facilitate monitoring progress, and be reflective of errors and gaps in knowledge/skills — a feedback/feedforward cycle.

I resonate deeply with any discussion of learning that puts the learner first and empowers them to own and control their process. Accordingly, I will be looking for this throughout the book. However, it is nice to see it explicitly developed so early in the text. Certainly, it is present in the two case studies they offer, the emergency plane landing, and the gunshot wound to the head implicitly, but by making it explicit the authors have my attention. Turning to their case studies, I think these are relevant examples. We often joke in the office setting that our work is not life or death and somehow that relieves the pressure or rationalizes less effort. Nevertheless, for a pilot and a brain surgeon, the margin of error matters significantly. I like very much that our authors start where learning is a high stakes issue.

I am fond of and return routinely to the example of the pro-Surfer that John Seeley Brown explores. I have summarized in several ways throughout this program; one is linked here. My quick and dirty summary of the main concepts includes these elements:

  • Shared passion
  • Face-to-face cohort
  • Practice capture technology
  • Play/practice (elements of gamification)
  • Online cohort
  • Published/peer reviewed (open)
  • Failure has a real cost (injury, financial loss)
  • Practice refinement and improvement (lather, rinse, repeat)
  • Success has potential for compensation/recognition in both real and virtual world

Although the case examples touch on many of these elements, I see three distinct points between the examples as relates to learning as retrieval. There does seem to be a difference between the two Browns, however. We see an emphasis on quizzing and testing in our text whereas our pro-Surfers have techniques, which better match their environment and activity. Interestingly this seems the case as well when in our book Brown et al. explore the pilot’s case study. Therefore, we need to think about quizzing and testing as figurative elements rather than literal and specific techniques. The important point I think is pulling the knowledge or skill from our memory rather than from a text, or any other representation.

I recall, as a new Scoutmaster, creating the first-aid scenario to test my troop’s knowledge and skills. The scenario was kids playing with explosives in a garage. The scouts heard the explosion, rushed to the scene, and were first on the scene. I recall an older scout thumbing through his handbook trying to find how to handle a severed limb; meanwhile, we had a bleed-out timer running on the actor playing the victim.

My Boy Scout needed to know how to apply direct pressure to an open wound, and he needed to understand pressure points or constriction/tourniquet techniques. His role was first aid, not reconstructive surgery – though we coached the Scouts on how to preserve the detached body part for possible reconstruction. Because moments of disaster are violent and frightening one of the points of scenario, practice is to desensitize the responder to their horror and fear instead of focusing and prioritizing. Moreover, I see this in our text though less graphically illustrated when the authors want learners able to retrieve knowledge and skills but also to create solutions. Solutions indeed based on past learning but not limited to past learning rather interpretive and flexible to the particulars of the immediate challenge – landing with a single engine, or repairing a vein before the patient bleeds out.

I wonder, however, about more complicated moments in organizations, for example, where a single person does not cannot contain all the knowledge. In their case studies, our authors do not speak to any of the other players in the surgery, or the air traffic control and airport ground crews. I wonder if they over simplify when they forefront the rock stars the pilot and the surgeon. In the example of the surgery, they do talk a little about how the surgeon prepares the room and the team by offering likely scenarios and desired responses. However, I am a little disappointed by the thinness of the example.

In the military Special Forces, units prep for missions as a team of equal footed experts each contributing to the mission planning. Entire missions can be scrubbed if the team shows the impossibility of the task. Missions can be modified if a team member shows a specific and better way to accomplish the objective. My point here has to do with specialized knowledge and teamwork. Why did our text authors ignore the Anesthesiologist or the Head Nurse in the case studies? I doubt our star surgeon did. The reason the patient lost the blood he did was that it was inevitable – or did it represent the pride of our doctor unable to take suggestions from his team? I am a little unfair to the authors here, and they do capture the importance of cohort learning in other moments of their text. But, what does it mean when we depend on the knowledge and skills of other teammates (or in the case of Special Forces as well the physical fitness and mental toughness)? I suggest that communications skills matter as much as retreival skills for moments of team learning, or team execution.


Brown, Peter C. (2014). Make it stick : the science of successful learning. Cambridge, Massachusetts :The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press

Brown, J. S. (Producer). (2013). John Seely Brown on Motivating Learners (Big Thinkers Series). Retrieved from