Our first project in Year 3 of MAET was an iCinemagraph, a project which introduced us to Adobe Photoshop. Here is my final product, followed by a reflection I wrote the same day I finished it. I want to publish the reflection “as is” to be transparent about my design process and open about the voices in my head that I assume are not unique to me. Knowing that other people experience our same struggles can be liberating!
My iCinemagraph design process began with a vague idea, which was the rewards that I see in teaching and learning mathematics with the Common Core Curriculum. My audience is parents and teachers anyone else who is skeptical about its implementation in math classes. This was as specific as I got and I did not spend time chiseling this out or sketching out an idea for a visual before I began recording. Instead I wandered around Galway looking for a picture to strike me inspired. I got close once with a clip of a fish swimming upstream in a small rapids, and I think this would have been great and much easier to attach a thought to than the image I settled on. A fish struggling upstream is exactly how I feel in my job as a math teacher in Boise schools, and my audience then would have been specifically teachers who are struggling with the rocky implementation process in Boise. I did not use this footage, however, because I could not figure out technically how to make just the fish move; the water behind it also moved and so it looked quite tacky when it was done.
However, I chose to go with the moving flowers in color against the static, colorless backdrop of the water over the dam. To me this represented new ways of learning, i.e. the Common Core, sprouting out of and despite old ways of teaching. In my mind, the viewer can make other metaphors with math education: That struggle is worth it and brings color and vitality and enrichment to life, for example. All of this was jumbled in my head, and my lack of clear direction was evident in my process, if not somewhat in the cinemagraph. I had a very hard time coming up with a statement for my image, and I realized during the process that it was because the statement is the purpose of the picture and drives its creation. I did this in the opposite order and now I understand why the purpose drives the product.
I did not begin with a specific vision or experience that I wanted my audience to have other than a vague feeling, and the production process as well as my final product, reflected this lack of focus. However, I really got a good picture of how I operate within the design process and the places in that process where I struggle. It is these points of struggle the derail me in designing. While creating my cinemagraph I really saw that when I do not feel inspired I tend to give up and change ideas totally rather than sit down and persevere through the difficulty. I am now consciously staying in a growth mindset about creating, and flushing out my thoughts thoroughly and persevering with one idea through iterations rather than throwing out entire ideas and starting from scratch whenever I get stumped.