Experiential learning

Avatar was a wonderful movie. It had fantastic special effects and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the 3D effects in the movie. Until recently, film-making was a special and complex art that required years (and perhaps a lifetime!) of experience. Films were transported in bulky reels in tin containers the size of my car wheel! This is indeed strange for me that within the last decade a major transformation has occurred shifting the film maker from the hallowed chambers of Hollywood or Bollywood to my bedroom!

I can now make a movie on my Mac! I even knew I could do it, but why would I do it? Well, often it takes an experience to learn. Angelo, one of the members of the AMT team of Panacea discussed a session on Digital Storytelling for the 3rd Annual Panacea Workshop in Bangkok from February 3rd. I approached it with some trepidation. Was Angelo crazy? How can one make quality movies that communicate a message on his laptop in a few hours! He must be dreaming. He must ha've been carried away by capabilities of technology thanks to IDRC and Panacea.

But, no. It IS possible to make a film carrying a strong social message on one's computer. And Mac's iMovie (sadly as apple and as proprietary as things can get) can add all the transitions, voice-overs and effects that, a decade ago, you would have needed to hire a studio!

This experience taught me that being open to learning is critical. Knowledge and skills are something else, but the attitude to learn is important. And I might have been able to one day read a simple manual of movie making written very well, or delivered through a well researched e-Learning course, but there is nothing like learning through experience. In making the digital story for Angelo, the trouble we took to bring out a story with a message and package it into a movie was a great learning experience. I am all geared up to now start using short films to get my message across!