Thank-you very much Tim.
I am sorry you appear to have had some difficulty accessing my video work. I wish I had known earlier as I would have been happy to assist you even if it were over a Skype call. Nonetheless, I am glad you persevered. I noticed the link you referenced was related to my original submission in early June at which time only a portion of the videos were complete. In my revised paper which I submitted in August, I considered that some people may have difficulty accessing the video work from the multimedia tables therefore I added a listing of all the videos referenced in the paper in Appendix A and B.
Appendix A contains the formal product of my research i.e. a set of videos produced for Special Olympics Ireland to upload to their Moodle learning management system. The integration of these videos into the online induction module is underway at present. The set of six videos is titled 'Changing Lives', and I have listed them below.
Video 1 of 6 Overview
Video 2 of 6 Introduction
Video 3 of 6 Beyond Sport
Video 4 of 6 Committee Roles
Video 5 of 6 Volunteering in Action
Video 6 of 6 Questions?
In Appendix B, I provided a listing of all the video links directly referenced in the paper which Pip kindly sent to you last week. Note there was just one link missing on Pip's posting i.e. ‘Fun with Susie Making the Video’, which I have included below along with the remainder of my own videos.
Video 1 Verbal Ethics Presentation to the Senior Club Athletes
Video 2 Planning the Film Night
Video 3 The Film Night Production
Video 4 Working with Susie – from distraction to action
Video 5 Fun with Susie making the video
In response to your questions I think that my academic writing and the videos (especially in paper 2) do indeed complement each other on the basis that both need to be examined in tandem to fully appreciate the manifestation of my values in education and the embodied meanings I have tried to communicate whilst attempting to make the 'Changing Lives' video. However, it was your initial questions Tim that made me realise just how easy it was for disconnection to occur in relation to meaning particularly when you were cut off from the videos. I also understood that I needed to forge better links and signposting in relation to the integration of the videos and my writing based on the feedback I received in this forum from the folks who could access the videos and I hope I addressed this adequately in paper 2.
I have therefore found this review process to be a most educational experience in itself and I believe it has afforded me an opportunity to listen to different perspectives and examine how I could present my paper in a way that would perhaps address diverging opinions. I carefully considered the initial review you made and in my revised paper I expanded my literature review and presented it up front in response to your queries as I could see the value of a reader connecting with the theory first.
In reality however, my heuristic approach towards my action research enquiry, drove me to connect regularly with the literature but it was a non linear procession in relation to the timeline of the action itself. For example Cycle 1 became a reconnaissance on whether video would be viable as a non formal educational medium in Special Olympics. Through the process of reflection on my actions I could attempt to make sense of what I was experiencing in this cycle using the literature to ground my analysis of meaning.
The particular challenge for me was to identify how living my values through action research affected the way I interacted with my environment, the decisions I took and how it shaped the production of the non-formal learning video called 'Changing Lives'. Without that continual process of reflection in relation to my values in my research I would have taken important aspects of the process of making the video for granted in the context of possibly ignoring the impact of my own tacit knowledge as a volunteer with Special Olympics. If I had taken a positivist stance to theory generation using propositional and dialectical logics perhaps using a deductive research approach, my focus would probably have been purely on the technical aspects and evaluation of educational video production. My fear in relation to going down this route in my writing was that I would disconnect from my values and the embodied meaning would be lost as I do not think this approach would have connected with readers in the same way.
Nancy Duarte in her 2010 book called 'Resonate', talks about creating visual presentations that connect with their audience. Duarte cites Martha Graham a famous American dancer and powerful communicator who once said 'There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost'. Graham believed that the emotional world made visible by a dancer's movement could not always be expressed in words. Although not through dance (ignoring my Thriller dance in the 'Beyond Sport' video), I enjoyed the freedom of creative visual expression within the scope of my research enquiry. This allowed me to attempt to express embodied meanings of my values as explanatory principles in why I am doing what I am doing in my own unique way.
I do think a skilled writer could convey these meanings using the written word by painting concrete imagery and emotions in a persons mind but video can portray it in seconds. In my case my value of honesty also drove me to produce the supporting video evidence because I wanted the viewer to apprehend the mediated experience for themselves.
To answer your last question Tim about doing things differently, I know technically I could have improved the videos e.g. in relation to lighting and sound although it would have required additional equipment which may have been more intrusive and took away the realism. However setting aside the technical aspects for a moment I am not sure I would have changed too much for the purpose of what I set out to do.
If I were to expand on this work in the future, I would love to have the opportunity to work with the athletes and invite their participation in the storyboard process and the production of a video that directly represents their interests in the Club in relation to volunteering. Many videos I've watched in the media relating to Special Olympics builds on the emotions stirred by the achievement of an athlete in the face of adversity. I have come to know each athlete in our Club as their own unique person and if I were to produce an appropriate video concept in the future I would welcome the athletes involvement and voice in the process. I now know from my experience that the athletes would be very open to working collaboratively on a project like this as Susie in particular demonstrated to me. Also for informal learning, I am interested in the concept of using stories within a pedagogic screenwriting framework as volunteers may remember the content over facts and figures.
Hope this is not too long of a response and thanks again Tim