Friday, 27 February 2015

A different kind of teacher... PV Workshop Days 1 and 2...

I’ve spent the last ten years visiting rural schools across Sub-Saharan Africa, but it was good to be reminded (as I keep trying to remind other people through my work) that no two are the same. Nasonjo and Matindi are only a few kilometres apart, but have very different issues. For example… Matindi is over-crowded, while the river running close to Nasonjo means that the school temporarily loses around a fifth of the student population every rainy season when the river becomes too wide for them to cross. Anyway, regardless, the school visits were still more familiar ground for me than the workshops yesterday and today. I’m so excited by the idea of trying to use PV for research, and so the last two days have been spent simultaneously trying to be an active participant in the workshops, learn about the kit and contribute to the activities… while also trying to predict / prompt / surface some of the ideas that might feed into the film… while also trying to conceptualise the bid… while also trying to sit back and observe the process itself and think about how we might scale it up and, more importantly why it would be helpful to do this…! It’s been pretty hectic!

It’s also been really, really fun and really wonderful to get to be so hands-on with the kit so quickly (I knew this having been to Rick and Chris’ workshops before, but this is the first time I’ve done it where the end result has to be an actual film… so all of the activities seem more meaningful). It’s also great to be trying out smaller, less technical bits of kit like iPads – which is a key element of our pilot.

What always strikes me is how great you feel when you make a film – yesterday we did an exercise where we had to secretly film an object with an iPad and the rest of the group had to guess what it was through a game of iSpy. I was oddly proud of our 10-second shot of a bottle of water, so today to shoot a mini 3-frame film (ourselves) with a plot and actors and lots of cool kit like a boom mic, a light screen etc… was amazing. Even if (especially because?!) it took five takes to get Henry’s last scene – there was a real sense of a shared desire for it to be ‘right’. I really hope the teachers feel so strongly about the film they’ll be making over the next two weeks.

We’ve got an early start tomorrow – alarm set for 5:30am - so we can all finish in time for the kick off between the Blantyre Bullets and a team from the Comoros Islands - so I'd better go... apologies for my photos on the blog by the way... all this fancy kit and I've been taking pictures with my iPhone... still, even a phone camera can't ruin this view (which we can see from various angles on our journey home from the workshop). What a commute...

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