For my final media tools project, I decided to use Gimp to create a remix picture of some of Banksy’s work. I’ve never really used anything photoshop-like to create an image of my own and so I used Camtasia to record that process of me trying to figure out how to use Gimp.
I connected my ludic experience with a few theory concepts from class, including some of Kellner and Luke’s ideas on critical and political learning environments where students are given tools to deconstruct media and then create their own productions that break out of the hegemonic reinforcement of messages created by those in power. Kellner and Share state, “the new technologies of communication are powerful tools that can liberate or dominate, manipulate or enlighten,” which is why it is crucial that educators teach students how to critically analyze technology and use it to create their own powerful messages resisting and moving beyond oppression.
When starting out with the tool, I had no idea where I wanted to take it or what I was going to do with it. I opened a bunch of Banksy photos and decided to just go for it and do what I felt like doing with what I saw. The rest is above and I found that even though I had no idea where I wanted to take the piece, because I was given the tools to create something that was meaningful to me, I played around and created a remix picture that adds further meaning to Banksy’s already very powerful photos. I feel like I really had an “embodied learning adventure” and made learning my own, which ultimately allows for deeper learning and critical thinking to be applied outside of the classroom, without the presence of a teacher (Thumlert 2015). Even though I hadn’t used photoshop or a program that is photoshop-like, I found Gimp to be quite intuitive to use and I didn’t run into too many issues when wanted to create a certain affect with the burning tires and police signs across the girls’ bodies. The tools were well-labeled and if you hover of them the tool provides a small explanation of what it does. I didn’t find any constraints while I was using the tool.
Camtasia was a fantastic tool as well and I had no trouble figuring it out as I have used iMovie quite extensively and they felt quite similar. It was funny hearing my own voice recorded and played back to me and I found myself getting quite awkward in the beginning because it felt like I was talking to myself. But once I got started with Gimp and figuring the tools out, it no longer felt awkward and I almost even forgot that I was being recorded. Fantastic tool to use both in the classroom and for personal projects. While I was using it, I thought about how great Camtasia would be to model projects, ideas, assignments in class and it would be a whole new virtual instruction manual for students looking for a little extra support outside of class.