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A Lifelong Influence December 24, 2005

Posted by Michael McVey in Lifelong Learning.
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Mclaren   My earliest formal training in educational technology was a hands-on session on how to thread a 16 millimeter film projector. That was it. The session was a requirement of all graduates from the College of Education I attended.

But you know, even if that was all we had today in the classroom, I believe I would still be trying to push the limits. I was honored to have several excellent English teachers at Markham District High School who tried very hard to bring literature to life. These teachers encouraged us to examine things we might have taken for granted and use them in new ways.

At one Open House, we took 16mm movie file that was simply clear acetate for the most part. We then took markers and dabbed dots of color in the blank frames between the film’s sprockets. After some minutes of filling the frames with dots and lines, the teacher ran the film through a projector and played as accompaniment to the riot of colors an Invention by J. S. Bach played on the Moog synthesizer.

It was wonderful and it was eye opening. It was also, I learned later, homage to Canada’s own Norman MacLaren, a superb experimental filmmaker who took film and manually added colors and scratches to great effect.

So what did I learn from that one brief experience at an Open House in 1973? On that evening the seed was planted for a lifelong interest in exploring the limits of technology in the classroom. I learned about experimental films and music. I started on a path of learning about the physics of animation and color. I had never really appreciated the music of J. S. Bach before that evening and my love and appreciation for his music has evolved over the years. 

More importantly, I learned that curriculum was a starting point to an adventure.

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