Blog Prompt #8: Self Directed Project

Project Summary

For my self directed project, I chose to explore paper stop-motion and see what it was like to create a similar project of my own without having done it before. I chose this primarily because I always found the process of creating stop-motion projects to be so interesting and exciting to watch. I often wondered how long it took the professionals I’d see in YouTube videos to create the works of art that they would make through stop-motion, considering that the process is very demanding and high-maintenance.

To begin, I figured I would watch a few paper stop-motion YouTube videos to get a feel for what I could potentially include in my own. Every video I watched was at most a minute or less, which told me one unexpected thing — just one minute of paper stop-motion required a ridiculous amount of work and time. I began to worry that my initial idea of creating a lengthy “Draw My Life” video through stop-motion was a far reach for a beginner such as myself, and so I made a change to the content of my stop-motion project. Instead of a “Draw My Life” video, I chose to create a short animation inspired by one I had watched on YouTube. So, I began the actual creation of the project. First, I drew the images I needed for the video and took all the inspiration from a paper animation from YouTube. This step was undoubtedly the easiest. Then, I set up my phone at a birds-eye view angle, opened my “new to me” application called “Stop Motion Studio”, and took a picture. And then another. And another. The process repeated for another hour and a half, until I was left with 200+ photos, a fairly decent 30 second stop-motion animation, and an aching back. To be completely honest, the process of taking a photo and then slightly moving several tiny pieces of paper over and over again was physically and emotionally strenuous just because I felt like it was never going to end. However, I was extremely content with the results.

After finishing the actual stop-motion process, all that was left to do was to edit the video. Unfortunately I came across an unexpected issue with the app, which was that features such as adding sound effects and music was a paid feature. That put me in an odd predicament for a bit, until I realized that I could just save my video and add audio (for free) on iMovie. After editing, I re-watched the video about a million times to keep an eye out for any flaws, and also because I was truthfully very proud of my 30 second animation! I had so much fun with this project and now have a much greater appreciation for the directors, producers, editors and artists of the world, especially those who are involved with stop-motion animation. Although projects such as these consume an immense amount of time and energy, the end results prove to be worth every second.

Blog Prompt #7: TED Talk

Briefly summarize the content of this talk.

Sleep is essential, especially for students, as it is the prime time for the body to heal itself, and for the brain to strengthen in terms of learning abilities, information retention, and emotional processing. But when these teens are forced to rise in the morning and get ready for school practically before the crack of dawn, the little but vital time that their body needs to improve itself is stripped away from them. That is what this video is all about. In this TED Talk, sleep researcher Wendy Troxel elaborates on the issue that school commences far too early, when the teenage brain is hardly as active as it should be in a learning environment.

Why did you choose this talk?

I chose this talk primarily because I agree with just the title alone, and so it caught my eye right off the bat. I have always been one to believe that school starts a little too early, and that there is a good chance that results and overall averages in school would be a lot higher in the event that school started later. I feel that students would be a lot more attentive, motivated, and positive if they were only able to achieve a healthy amount of sleep at night.

What did you agree with in this talk? Why?

I definitely agree that in general, teenagers do not get enough sleep considering how much time they spend consistently learning and listening, and that this issue can have detrimental effects physically, mentally, and emotionally. As mentioned in the TED Talk, although most teenagers claim to be content with the eight hours of sleep that they get, they do not realize that eight is the bare minimum recommendation. In essence, a majority of these teenagers in school are functioning through dragging lessons and never-ending assignments without getting the right amount of sleep at night, therefore hindering their ability to learn effectively. As a result of sleep deprivation, students feel more irritable, lazy, unmotivated, and inattentive, which are the last characteristics any learning adolescent needs.

What did you disagree with in this talk? Why?

I disagree with the fact that sleep deprivation is not entirely a result of social media usage, mainly because if you spend all night watching Netflix shows and lose sleep because of it, it really is your fault. You will never feel tired at night if you constantly excite yourself and your brain with intense plot lines and addictive social media sites. So, at that point, the school’s policies have nothing to do with what time you go to bed and what time you wake up, as in the end, you have complete control over that.

What questions do you have after this talk?

With the research and relevant statistics involved, I feel that Wendy Troxel did a great job at explaining the science and facts behind sleep deprivation and how school start times have an immense influence on teenagers’ unhealthy sleeping patterns. With that being said, I am definitely curious about whether or not education directors or authoritative figures of the like took this TED Talk (or any other similar research involved) into account and actually went through with changing their school board’s start times, in order to make a positive impact on the health of their students.

Would you recommend this talk to a friend? Why or why not?

I would definitely recommend this to all of my friends who can relate to the issue, such as friends who take naps after school, friends who are often late to first period, and friends who feel exhausted less than an hour into the school day. They would appreciate the fact that someone from a generation far before ours actually understands a relatively simple but extremely important concept that we believe in. I think they would also find the concepts and science very interesting and enlightening considering that sleep deprivation is something they’ve probably experienced before.