Networked Learning Project – Post 1 – #CEP810
I’m currently facilitating Teaching for Understanding with Technology (CEP810) as part of MSU’s MAET program. One of the initial assignments for our learners is to blog about something they’ve always wanted to be able to do or learn about. The process set forth in the class has students using only internet help forums and YouTube videos as support and instruction. So far we have a great many interesting projects, and since I believe in participatory learning and modeling, I thought I’d share my project with our current students and anyone else that reads the blog.
I’ve always been fascinated by aerial photography, and how wonderful it is to view a different perspective of the world around us. Most of us can remember when Google Earth first emerged and we spent hours in awe looking at our childhood neighborhoods, places we’ve visited or just taking virtual field trips. I like Google Earth so much, I even have a browser extension that displays a random aerial view (Earth View) whenever I open a new tab in Chrome.
My first foray into aerial photography was after I stumbled upon a website by Charles Benton of Berkeley, California. His Kite Aerial Photography (KAP) site was a real eye-opener on the type of pictures you could capture with the right equipment. I bought a couple of kites, started to build a couple of camera rigs and then life just got too busy to keep building in the basement.
Fast forward 10 years and technology has moved faster than most of us would have imagined. In the past, I was trying to mount a cheap disposable film camera on a kite cradle to take single pictures. Today, I can build or buy a quadcopter, attach a small digital camera and take hundreds of pictures in a single flight. What a huge difference in efficiency.
Long story short – I bought an inexpensive quadcopter for $45. It has a small digital camera on it and now I can do exactly what I set out to do 10 years ago, but with the latest technology.
Here’s the problem: I can’t fly this thing very well. When I got it last week, I thought this was going to be easy to fly. I play video games and know my way around a controller – right? This is completely different. So far, I’ve learned that I’m great at scaring the cats, can hit objects in the house with it, have no idea how to control the very touchy throttle, and about 10 other critical flight features.
My plan is, before I lose this thing in a 80 ft tree, to watch some basic How-To videos on YouTube, read about beginner flying tips on help forums, and figure this thing out – all while balancing work, life and teaching a great course with fantastic learners from across the United States. As soon as I do those things well, I can start taking some pictures from upon high just like I wanted to do 10 years ago.
Lofty goal? I sure hope so!