Sunday, September 26, 2010

Reading week 4 summary

Main Idea:

The use of 3D software is replacing more traditional methods of teaching Anatomy.  While one of the bests methods of learning remains cadaver dissection, this is not possible in a high school and in many cases is not cost effective in medical school.  Students have shown a preference for the interactivity and immediate feedback from computer assisted learning.  While students feel that it is a valuable addition to the learning process, they do not want to remove traditional methods such as lectures and books.  Current software offers more realistic views and 3D models allow users to experience a more authentic view of the body.


Does software adequately address the different learning styles that students have?

Are today's students really digital natives?  Are they able to navigate software and how much teacher direction is required.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Week 4 Practical Experience Photoshop CS5 Merging Photos 3

After combining the photos, I had to flatten the images to make them grayscale.  While the end result is interesting, it was not exactly what I had in mind.  In the end, the images still look pasted together.  It will require some more time and patients in order to achieve the desired result.  I did learn some valuable tools in the process.  One the most convenient tools is the quick selection tool.  I had attempted the process before but did not fully understand the refine edge window.  With my new knowledge, this procedure is quicker and more accurate.  I will be able to get much better results with the extractions.  The greatest challenge is in the merge mode.  The images are difficult to fully integrate and the end result is a little choppy.  

Photoshop in general is very detailed and the endless options can make it somewhat overwhelming.  The use of tutorials made the process manageable but the shortcut commands were not useful to me.  Overall, I feel much more confident using Photoshop and I have learned to perform the specific functions that I need for production work.  When I have the time, I plan to experiment more with different tools and I hope to spend some more time on Flickr to get innovative ideas. 

Week 4 Practical Experience Photoshop CS5 Merging Photos 2

I have been spending time looking for photos that match up so that I can effectively merge them.  While I want the photos to be somewhat surreal looking, I also want them to look like they could possibly be real.  I want it to seem plausible that the dancer is actually in the construction site.  Once I have found a good match, I go to split screen view and I can drag the extracted shot onto the new background.  Once there, it can be free transformed using "command + T".  This allows you to resize and morph the image to fit the desired landscape.

The trickiest part is working with shadows to make the image look fully integrated.  I had some difficulty getting this to work like the instructional video.  As recommended, I used the drop shadow, added a layer mask and painted in the areas where the image would naturally cast shadows using the black paint brush to reveal the underlying shadows in specific areas.  In the end, I settled on using the original drop shadows without the layer mask.  I will continue to experiment to see if I can come up with results that are more realistic.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Week 4 Practical Experience Photoshop CS5 Merging Photos

In order to create more interesting photographs, I am learning how to extract combine and merge different photos.  I specifically wanted to experiment with my dance photos combined with photos of the ongoing construction on our campus.  I love the idea of producing images of the dancers highlighting grace and elegance juxtaposed with the destruction of the buildings.  Because of cost factors, I will need to convert the photos to black and white which has the added complication of flattening the images.

Photoshop CS5 is very useful but rather complicated.  There are many steps in this process.  Last week, I worked on techniques for extracting images.  I was able to successfully remove the background from the dance pictures and this week I am working on merging photos and making it look somewhat realistic.  The trick is to get the images to blend and look like they belong together and not like one was pasted on top of the other.  I have been following along with the tutorials and it has allowed me to follow the process.  Below some of the original photos which I will be merging.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Week 3 Practical Experience Photoshop CS5

This week, I learned some important new skills for Adobe Photoshop CS5.  The tutorials were extremely helpful.  The only difficulty I had was with the instructors use of keyboard shortcuts.  I find shortcuts impossible to remember because they seem like random combinations of "option" and various letters.  I prefer to use the drop down menus and my mouse.  My focus for this tool was on using it to extract images.  Because I do not have a photo studio and supplies, I take dance photos on the stage at school with regular stage lighting.  I do not like the way the pictures look in that background, so I extract the images using photoshop and then put them on a white background and often include gradients.  With the new version of photoshop, my job has gotten much easier.

Previously, I used the eraser tool and painstakingly drew around each image to remove the background.  I had to have an extremely steady hand and spent a lot of time backtracking and refining.  With CS5's new smart selection tool, the process is much easier.  As I show in my Youtube video, the whole process takes me about 10 minutes and the results are much better.

I now want to take it to the next level and merge these extracted images with new backgrounds to create some more interesting shots.  This year our school is going through a rebuild and has a really interesting construction zone.  I want to take the extracted pictures of dancers and place them in the construction zone so that it looks like they are dancing in the rubble.

Here are a couple of examples of photos that were extracted using CS5.

Week 3 Practical Experience Photoshop CS5 Extracting Images

Click here for my Youtube video on using Photoshop CS5.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Reading Post 3

Klein, A. (2008). VIRTUAL SCIENCE. Science World, 64(14), 7. Retrieved from MAS Ultra - School Edition database.

Article talks about the use of V-Frog which allows students to perform a virtual frog dissection.  In this frog, organs still work and students can zoom in and look at multiple views of structures.

Mathai, S., & Ramadas, J. (2009). Visuals and Visualisation of Human Body Systems. International Journal of Science Education, 31(3), 439-458. doi:10.1080/09500690802595821.

Believe that students learn structure best through visual material and function best through verbal material.  Suggest the integration of verbal and visual methods to train students to be able to take spatial information and articulate it verbally.

Foreman, Lloyd J., & Pomerantz, Sherry C. (2006). Computer-assisted instruction: A survey on the attitudes of osteopathic medical students. JAOA Medical Education, 106(9), 571-578.

Surveyed students about their preferences and attitudes towards using computers to learn anatomy.  Opinions varied based on technology literacy with students that had advanced computer skills showing a preference for leaning using computers while others thought the learned best through books and lectures.  Highlights the need to adequately train students in technology and to maintain traditional teaching methods while incorporating technology.

Bay, BH & Ling EA. (2007). Teaching of anatomy in the new millennium. Singapore Medical Journal. 48(3), 182-183.

Surveyed professional anatomists and found that they there preferences for learning anatomy ranked in descending order: cadaver dissection, prosection, living and radiological anatomy, computer aided learning, lectures and the use of models.  The authors acknowledge the difficulties associated with training on cadavers but stress that the method is the best teacher.

Bennett, S., Maton, K., & Kervin, L. (2008). The ‘digital natives’ debate: A critical review of the evidence. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(5), 775-786. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2007.00793.x.

Sought to find out if so called digital natives really learn differently.  While a very large number of subjects owned computers and cell phones, most used basic technology and few created multimedia content.  It was also uncommon for them to be proficient in emerging technology.  Argued that claims that this generation learns differently are overarching and without proof.

Kennedy, G., Judd, T., Churchward, A., Gray, K., & Krause, K. (2008). First year students' experiences with technology: Are they really digital natives?. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 24(1), 108-122. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database.

The authors investigated the true technology skills of incoming college students and found that while they were very proficient in their daily use of technology, that proficiency did not transfer to emerging technology or unfamiliar platforms.

Cross, T. (2006). Digital Immigrants, Natives, and "Tweeners": A Glimpse Into the Future for Our Students With Gifts and Talents. Gifted Child Today, 29(3), 52-53. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database.

Highlights that technology has its own language and that today’s students speak in fluently and comfortably.   Also states that this proficiency is increasing with each younger students as they grow up with increasing exposure.

Sandars, J. (2006). The e-learning site. Education for Primary Care, 17(5), 516-517. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database.

Today’s students do not see technology as something distinct but as part of normal life.  The author is especially focused on social networking and the powere of sharing information.