For my artifact this week, I decided to bring in something from my classroom since the focus of this week is on teaching.
Last semester, I tried out a new course theme: superheroes. The third paper of the semester was one I called “The Hero Remixed.” Students had to change one element of a hero and explore how that change would ripple out and potentially alter foundational elements of the hero chosen. To assist students with the theoretical work of this butterfly effect, I gave them a preliminary, tactile, tangible visual assignment first.
Students were asked to use a basic editing program to splice images together to visually show the change they were proposing to their character. In one 50 minute class period, I explained the assignment and showed how to edit the pictures. The grade for the assignment was not based on execution but rather the ideas behind the image and a short written assignment and presentation that were associated with it.
I asked students for suggestions of what to edit. I had a few pictures selected beforehand. One was this image of Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit:
Students proposed putting Bilbo on a bike or motorbike instead of having him on foot. We searched for a bike image as a class, and this is the end result:
It isn’t the prettiest image ever created, but the students were able to see the editing skills in action. I showed them how to use Microsoft Paint because it is free and allows students to make an image’s background transparent for the overlay. The in-class activity also made the point that the final execution was not the most important part of the assignment.
One of the more memorable submissions for the project was what if the hero from the movie Hancock had been sober instead of a drunk. The student cut images of Sunny Delight to splice over the bottles of alcohol in an image from the movie. Another student wrote about a video game hero and his “what if” was what if the hero’s best friend was missing from his life. His image left a gaping black hole where the friend would usually appear.
By exploring the change in a visual means, students were able to express the overall changes that would occur in the character and his or her context. The topics varied from silly to serious.