Channel Your Inner Guru, Computer Guru That Is…

If you teach media or journalism in today’s classroom, you need to know your tech. I can’t say enough how important this is and I often can’t believe it when a fellow media teacher tells me that he/she does not understand computers.

Just today I spent much of my non-teaching time dealing with a printer that didn’t want to print and a software issue with our district’s web software (Adobe Contribute). Both stopped working correctly today and I’m not sure why. The printer – a Konica color laser has always been a kludge, was a hard fix. I had to search the web most of the day (during lunch) to find a third party and free driver solution. It finally worked and I spent about an hour after school loading it on every computer in my lab. The Contribute issue is more strange and still not solved. But that is just an average day.

It seems like there is always one computer acting up, and if not the computer, then the software or drivers or who knows. Here are some skills you should know to be a good media teacher:

-How to install software packages correctly as well as configure them for use.
-How to add and uninstall fonts.
-How to network computers with ethernet standard Cat-5 cable and hubs.
-How to add RAM, change a hard drive or add a video or network card to a computer.
-How to troubleshoot a printer problem.
-How to connect a digital camera or a card reader and download the photos.
-How to use a DV camera with a firewire cable to download video.
-How to set up a network drive and create user accounts.
-How to create a PDF in InDesign for printing a newspaper or yearbook page.
-How to crop a photo at 300 dpi in Photoshop to fit in picas or inches.
-How to hook up and use an LCD Projector.
-How to create a web page using a WYSIWYG editor.

These are just some of the basic computer skills you should have as a media teacher.   Today, teaching media is always done on the computer.  But don’t be scared if you aren’t the master of all things digital.  Most media creation software is based on a few simple concepts and once you master one or two, the others come easily.  Technology is easier today than ever and much more likely to plug and play too!  And if all else fails – read the manual!  But if you are going to teach it, you have to know it.

Do You Hate Photoshop?

If you hate having to learn photoshop or if you hate teaching photoshop to students who sometimes just don’t care – then this VERY SARCASTIC series of videos is for you.  This is NOT SAFE FOR SCHOOL and has BAD LANGUAGE.  But if you need a few good laughs at home after a bad day with photoshop, then this fun little series is your friend.  Final warning “You Suck At Photoshop” is NOT for the workplace!

Lost and Found: Robert Capa’s “Mexican Suitcase”

There is a great article in the New York Times today about the discovery of Spanish Civil War photographer Rober Capa’s lost negative cases.  This is a really great part of photojournalism history.  Thanks to Mark Hamilton at Notes from a Teacher for the tip.

Mr. Peabody, Please Bring Out The Wayback Machine

If you’re my age or near it, then you will remember The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show and the Wayback Machine. If you teach web design, html or css – then this will be a fun lesson to your students who were only between the ages of 2 and 6 (if in high school) back in 1996 when the Wayback Machine first began cataloging the internet.

It might be interesting to look at a few corporate sites, your own district web page or some other pages to see how they have changed over the years. I would be a great discussion when looking at design elements, navigation tools or just plain design styles over the years.

Today’s kids have grown up with the web as ever present, so we should show them that it wasn’t always all powerful or all knowing.

Tutorial Time Roundup

I was looking for a good tutorial for SeaMonkey and found a treasure trove of cool tutorials and PDF downloads.

The Penn State Faculty Media Center has great tutorials for iMovie, Garage Band, Photoshop, Final Cut, Adobe Premiere, and more.

Training Tools.com had great tutorials for older software like Photoshop 5-6-7, or Dreamweaver 2-4. Check it out if you have older versions of current software.

And the best of all was Northeastern Illinois University, they have great tutorials for Mac OSX, Microsoft Excel, Powerpoint and Word, iMovie, HTML and SeaMonkey.

Digital Cameras: Pricey But Good

digital Photography School has a great graphic on how much their readers paid for their most recent camera purchase.   The numbers are lower, but still pricey.  They also have two other polls about the age of the camera and the preferred software platform.  Worth a look before buying a new camera.

Hail To The Knight

The University of California has a great site called the Knight Digital Media Center.   It looks like it is still developing, but they have tutorials for web design, video, audio, reporting, photography and more.  Props to News Videographer for setting me down the road to finding this site.

How Helvetica Came To Life

Great documentary film about the typeface Helvetica. Really interesting if you are into type. You could show bits of it in class to show the history of printing and how typefaces really work. Here’s the web site for the film where you can buy a DVD copy of it.  Of course you can buy it at Amazon.com.

Why Become A Journalist?

If you are a young talented writer, photographer or video journalist – why would you want to go into newspaper journalism or to a lesser extent television?  The journalism iconoclast has a great post about how journalism is bleeding out its brightest and youngest talent.

And the question you have to ask is why would someone want to go into this career right now?

The answer I have is don’t.  Don’t do it.  At least don’t depend on big media mega companies being there forever.  Have a backup plan.  And don’t major in journalism, minor in it.  And if you have to major in it – double major.  Have another major that you can fall back on if journalism collapses.

And if you are a writer, then you have to learn some other skills – web design, photoshop, video editing, video shooting and more.  If I was going into journalism today, then I would double major in journalism and graphic design – with a heavy emphasis on web design.

Anyone who calls themselves a journalist in 2008 and is still a journalist in 2058 will have more than a few curves to navigate on their career path.  Be ready for it, be aware and be willing to learn new skills and new technology.

How Do You Say That?

Thanks to Journalistopia for a link to HowJSay.  This is a really cool site for radio or television journalists who need to know how do you say that?  I would think all multimedia journalists will want to bookmark it.

Mr. C

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