Media Studies,  Teaching

Media Arts Unit

This unit is designed for students to become introduced to the creation of media quickly. It is aimed at year 9-10 students, who often cannot wait to get into the action and don’t want to spend a lot of time planning. This is fair enough, they may not have much experience understanding the importance of planning, but are suitably excited by the subject. This unit responds to and harnesses their enthusiasm by setting a small formative task for the first assignment.

The course focuses on gaining technical skills in video editing software and media elements, as well as theoretical skills in story, narrative and character development. For more details about how the assignments connect and the unit descriptors, please review this link: https://laurenmartyn.com/courses-available/character/short-film-development/ 

This unit starts with creative exploration and concept development and considers what can make a great story. Students are given a constraint to their project development that they must work within a one minute time frame. The next lesson is to jump right in and film the project and from there editing in Premiere Pro, this is the start of the practical software skill development, and it is ideal if the teacher is really across this software.

After sharing films amongst the class in a screening, the next step is to go back and review the original work and extend it. They are asked to consider how they could reimagine the storyline that is there, via recutting, reshooting and editing, exploring different shots and timing of scenes. This is just another quick assignment to build skill quickly and should be a lesson maximum in duration and lays the foundation for the final project which should now be started. This project asks students to collect references for their film ideas from a range of topics including indigenous and Torres Strait Islanders, this is a feature of all arts studies that an indigenous and diverse perspective is included.

The final assignment builds on the formative assignments and creates a longer film, but students will ideally have a realistic idea of what they will be able to achieve in the time.

Lesson 1Mind mapping, concept development what makes a great story
Lesson 2Film your projects
Lesson 3Editing in Premier Pro – Skill Building
Lesson 4Take it to the next level – brain storming
Lesson 5Further experimentation in Premier Pro
Lesson 6Starting assignment 3 – final film
Lesson 7Planning with story boards
Lesson 8Filming the final project
Lesson 9Reworking and finalising from experimentation
Lesson 10Final outcome and peer review

This learning design follows a design thinking process with peer feedback on formative assignments. It is an iterative process and the reflection on work and narrative occurs firstly as group to build practical hands on skills and active learning. Projects are open enough that they can cater to individual student needs and interests, and students should be encouraged to follow these.

The lesson plan above is described in the ‘Short Film Development’ course in the learning management system installed on this site. This is available through the navigation at the top of the page under ‘Courses’ and could be used by students at school and at home. Here is a link to the first lesson with embedded resources and instructions for both teachers and students: https://laurenmartyn.com/courses-available/character/short-film-development/lessons/short-film-ideas-and-developing-a-concept/ 

To complete the unit students will need access to computers with a minimum 8GB Ram. This is needed to run Premiere Pro to which is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud. If this software isn’t available, DaVinci Resolve has a free version of similar software but it might be a bit limited, so it’s something the teacher will have to navigate for each delivery of the unit. BYOD laptops may or may not have enough RAM, so the technical aspects will need to be investigated. It would be best if students could film on an actual video camera, and download that to a high performing desktop computer with a good amount of RAM, however, if there are only mobile phones and laptops, you can work with this too, but some of the extensions for differentiation and extending assignment are dependant on the software.

This is a unit plan that builds student confidence in making media through a range of formative assessment tasks. As there would be a range of skills in each class, the unit plan is flexible enough that students can build skills at whatever level they are at.  The resources have been selected as they support the development of the skills. The teacher will need skills in video editing, camera use and photography. Experience recording and producing sound would also be useful.

Students will also need to record their progress in the unit. This can be in a visual diary, and any work completed on the computer should be printed out and added in to this record. There is a degree of independent learning built into the unit, each lesson the teacher should be demonstrating the technical aspects of students activities. They should demonstrate how to use the camera, how to import footage, how to record sound and ensure that students have a good working knowledge of the cameras and the software in order for them to complete the projects. There is the opportunity to extend each lesson where students are interested or progressing at a faster pace.

Work can be completed at home with this website, and it can also be used in the classroom as a resource and point of reference for each lesson. 

Learning designer, digital designer and educator with extensive experience teaching creative subjects. Qualifications include: MA Creative Media (Multimedia), Ba Arts (Fine Art), Cert IV Training and Assessment, Dip Training Design and Development, Dip Vocational Education and Training, currently studying an MA in Secondary Education.

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