#edtechcca4 – assignment 4 tennis video

My tennis rally video. Edited with Windows Live Moviemaker. Sounds from freesound.org.

I’m used to editing with Adobe Premiere Pro, but decided to resort to Windows Live Moviemaker, so that I was using something that was more widely available and wasn’t a high-end (and expensive product). It was great for simple editing, but I found that having only one audio track was a severe limitation. I wanted to combine sounds, but it wasn’t possible. I felt really hamstrung by the software and the final result is nowhere near as good as it could have been – it really is a case of the right tools for the job. Despite this, Windows Live Moviemaker coped well with the different video formats used in the clip. It happily imported MOV files, MP4’s and AVI’s and didn’t complain. I do however have the K-Lite codec pack installed on my computer which means that it can generally play almost any video format, so maybe this helped.

Sounds from freesound.org:

  1. ‘Pop’ sound
  2. Smashing glass
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Assignment 3 – Comic Timing – #edtechcca3

I struggled to find time to do this assignment this week. I would have preferred to draw it by hand, but with limited time I used some photographs and applied the Adobe Photoshop photocopy filter to make them look like sketches.

The practical task is one I did with students recently. They loved it and spent a whole two hours working on it and trying out different ideas. Many of the students borrowed cameras afterwards to try it at home and outside. We also researched light painting and found some amazing examples online. In future I’ll be able to give students a copy of the tutorial so they can work on it by themselves.

Here’s my comic strip tutorial on how to paint with light (PDF)

Photography techniques - how to paint with light

Here are some light painting photos we made.

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Assignment 2 – The Sight of Sound – #edtechcca2

My idea for assignment 2 was to make a soundscape for a scene from a book I had read. Almost immediately I thought of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island which I had read in High School. Initially I thought about the sounds of the island, the surf and the seagulls. After looking for sounds on some of the sound-clip websites I decided to try and create the sounds of a busy dock, the sounds that young Jack Hawkins would’ve encountered on his first visit to the port of Bristol, where he boarded the Hispaniola.

I searched for docks and harbour sounds on several sound-clip sites and also for seagulls, creaking boats, ships bells and crowds. One of the best sound effects of a crowd that I found was actually from a shopping mall, but it served my purposes quite well.

I shortlisted about a dozen clips from Soundbible.com and Freesound.org, being careful to exclude anything that had recognisable modern sounds. I then downloaded the ones I thought would work best. The sound clips I used are listed below.


  • Rowing a boat by Lazure
  • Shopping Mall Ambience
  • Small Crowd by Mike Koenig
  • Ship Bell by Mike Koenig
  • Herring Gull 2


  • 20080421 by dobroide
  • boat_on_the_dock by suonidigenova
  • drunks fighting by tigersand

I used Audacity to mix and edit the sounds as it was a tool I was familiar with. I combined the sounds, altering the volume of some of the clips to fade them slightly. I also repeated a few of the clips to extend the soundscape to 45 seconds in length. One of the audio clips included some Spanish conversation, so I layered the ships bell and seagull over the top to obscure it.

I’m quite happy with the final result and think that it does convey the impression of a busy mid-18th century harbour. The final mix was saved as a mp3 file and uploaded to Audioboo.fm. From there I found the embed code to add it to my WordPress blog. You can listen for yourself…

Finally, here’s a brief tutorial on how to edit and combine sound clips with Audacity.

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Assignment 1 Signs & Symbols #edtechcca1

Here’s an insight into my creative process.

Music ‘Pinball Spring’ Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons “Attribution 3.0

First I start mindmapping, with the main topic at the centre. I almost always use paper and pencil as it’s faster than using a computer and I find that the computer just gets in the way of the thinking process. When I run out of ideas I do some research using various search engines. If the project is quite big, and will take some time, I will keep copies of images I like and make a scrapbook or mood board for inspiration. Eventually I start drawing thumbnail sketches – lots of them, sometimes dozens and hopefully start to discover some ideas that I like best. I’ll then take those ideas and play around with them and develop them further. Once I have a fairly strong concept I’ll move onto the computer and use tools such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop to tidy up my designs, sometimes scanning a sketch into the computer to act as a template. The computer doesn’t figure in the process until near the end.

Here’s the sign I made for one of the courses I teach…

Photography course sign

It’s pretty obvious that it’s for photography. I went through a bunch of different ideas and excluded some things. I thought about using a strip of film in the design, but 90% of our photography is digital now and it won’t be long until no-one remembers film. The camera is an obvious choice, by I also chose to add a tripod as it is a piece of equipment more associated with professional photography.


Here are some ideas for a department ‘sign’. Can you guess which college course or department they are for?

p.s. The video was recorded on my compact camera. The screen recording was made with screenr.com. The video was edited in Windows Live Movie Maker. The sound came from incompetech.com which has a lot of Creative Commons licensed music. I used Adobe Illustrator to create the signs as I couldn’t get access to Aviary’s Raven editor for some reason.

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Educational Technology Creative Collective #edtechcc

Hello! I’m Colin Maxwell, @camaxwell on Twitter, and I’m the organiser of the Educational Technology Creative Collective. If you want to know more, and sign up, please visit the #edtechcc site.

I work as a lecturer at Carnegie College in Dunfermline, Scotland. I’m an Adobe Education Leader and I am also a frequent attendee and presenter at Teachmeets in Scotland.

I teach Creative Industries subjects, including games development, photography, animation and graphic design. I have a real interest in fostering the ‘creative habit’ and encouraging students to be constantly creating, analysing and evaluating their work. At the end of their course I expect my students to have dozens of examples of work in their portfolios, and not just the handful they need for their qualification. This will give them a  more competitive advantage in the jobs market where employers (particularly in the Creative Industries) want to see commitment and interest and passion as well as skills and qualifications.

That’s what #edtechcc is also about – encouraging educators to investigate ways of using digital media technologies in a creative way for the purpose of education. If this sounds like something you’d like to involved in, then please sign up – there’s no commitment, take as much as you like, give as much as you want.

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Jim Groom Meme Generator

Fantastic – pick your favourite Jim Groom quote and generate an image with the Jim Groom Meme Generator










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Computer games development

During the last few weeks I’ve been concentrating on some computer games development courses that I run. The courses will shortly be coming to an end, so many of the students have nearly completed their games. I will post more of these online as soon as they’re finished.

While the students have been working on their games, I’ve been making a game of my own and documenting the process. I hope to turn this into a set of tutorials that I can use with future classes. The game is called Dungeoneer and involves collecting treasure in a series of dungeons. I’ve been logging progress on the game over at the Dungeoneer game web page. I’d be really happy to hear your comments about the game (and any bugs that you may find).

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