Case Study – A Little Something About Me, Bev Carter
Why did you take part?
I was invited to take part by Giles, and was delighted at the opportunity given to me to learn how to develop ‘eBooks’ on the Diffusion Generator and work in the Proboscis studio with Karen (mentor) and support from Giles and the rest of the team. I took part because it fitted in well to the aims of an arts and communication project I have been developing with a school in Umulogho Village in Nigeria since January 2007 and art workshops I have been running in the Watford area.
What did you achieve?
- I learnt how to use the Diffusion Generator, with excellent support from my mentor Karen.
- I wanted my eBooks to be illustrative, including photographs and painted images, with some text to ‘tell the story’.
- I learnt how to import scanned images from ‘Flickr’, which was a new site to me.
- I developed two eBooks. The first was an eBook called ‘A Little Something About Me’ and the second was called ‘Kedu?’ (How are You?)
- The eBooks were used as a tool for discussion about the village of Umulogho, Nigeria, with primary, junior and secondary aged pupils in schools in the Watford area.
How did you go about this – what was the process involved / your approach to the eBook Generator…?
I spent about five days in the Proboscis studio between May to September 2007. Karen was assigned as my mentor and guided me through the Diffusion site, she helped me to understand how to develop a draft eBook up to the generated version, scan in images from ‘Flickr’, write text and resolve any problems encountered. This help was definitely necessary and I don’t think I could have worked out all technical issues, without her help. I understand it was useful to Proboscis to have my feedback on my experience of making the eBooks (plus experience of other case studies) and this helped in making further improvements to the Generator, which I gained the benefit of in my later sessions in the studio.
My approach to developing the eBook was as follows:
- The first eBook ‘A Little Something About Me’ summarized the words/ messages that were written by Umulogho Village students and included copies of their paintings, so that a short story could be told of their concerns, hopes and dreams for the improvement of their school, and to tell the reader something about their life and experiences in Umulogho Village.
- The second eBook is called ‘Kedu?’ ‘(How are you?’) This is a collection of questions that came from primary to secondary aged children from Watford (plus some of my own). The aim was to capture their curiosity about Umulogho Village life and young people’s experiences there after seeing the first eBook and a look at the paintings made by Umulogho pupils. These questions were asked by pupils during art/discussion workshops in the five schools I have been working in. The ages of the children I worked with ranged from 6 year olds to 13 year olds. Some of these questions were inputted into the ‘Kedu?’ eBook alongside pictures of the Umulogho students’ paintings. The eBook will be sent to the students in Umulogho Village in March 2008. I have already discussed how the eBooks will be used by students in Umulogho and I am trying to resource this to happen.
What did you learn from this process? How did this process influence (if it did) your way of working?
The experience of the case study helped me to further develop the overall strategy for the work I have been doing with Umulogho Village and schools in Watford and it has had a positive impact on the development of a new charity I have been setting up called ‘Friends Out There’.
Although I have not yet used the eBook in schools as the main focus in the workshops I have been running, it has been an excellent resource to hand out to the pupils after the initial discussion about Umulogho Village and as an aid to the paintings, questions and messages that pupils in England have been making, with the intention to sent back to Umulogho. It was good to watch the pupils look through the eBooks, see their interest in them and want to talk to each other about their content.
What other ways could you see yourself using the Generator for in the future?
- I would still like to develop a few variations to the eBook, ‘A Little Something About me’ changing the amount of words, length of the eBook and use of language for different audiences/ages etc and perhaps breaking up into different themes about village life.
- I have about 200 paintings that have now been produced by up to five schools in Watford and I am excited about developing further eBooks, hopefully with some school and pupil involvement in the process. The next set of eBooks I hope to make are from the paintings and messages produced by Queens Secondary School and from Field Junior School in Watford. They would like to send a record of their images back to students in Umulogho and get a dialogue going between the schools. I haven’t approached the school about making an eBook yet. Queens have made a four minute DVD of the art workshop I ran with them that I would also like to send back to Umulogho Village.
Any other comments?
I think the case study experience has been a fantastic opportunity for me and I now need to find the time to continue on with ideas I have for future eBooks and look forward to discussing this with Giles. I could see it becoming more integrated into the work I am doing, not just as part of the workshops, but using the format of the eBook as a way to record events, workshops with schools, helping to establish and continue conversations between different school communities I have been working with in England and in Nigeria.
Overall, I think it’s an excellent, usable tool for educational learning and sharing. I particularly like the detective like, pocket sized feel of it. It’s great that it is available on the Diffusion website, and so can be accessed around the world and I have sign-posted many people to it.