At Makematic, we are currently in-development of exciting, new U.S. history videos for the Untold collection. We are striving for the utmost in historical accuracy while making sure the videos are altogether fun to watch! We have numerous experts from across America who contribute immensely to each Untold video, who we’d love to showcase in this blog.Read More
In this month’s employee spotlight, we’re highlighting one of our many, talented producers Aine Carlin! Aine is one of the O.G. producers at Makematic. She’s been working at the company since it began in 2016 and has been involved in multiple projects. We caught up with her this month to talk about her role at Makematic!Read More
The history that doesn’t make it into the textbooks is the best stories to tell.
It’s a new year and not much has changed in the world. We’re still in a global pandemic, we’re still at home and we’re still washing our hands. But some things have changed. The US has a new President and Vice President, there are vaccines being administered every day around the world, and a lot of new Untold videos are being released.Read More
2021 has started off with homeschooling in the UK. A webinar I attended earlier this week on Lessons Learned from Covid-19, made it clear the correct term is online learning and not remote learning as there is nothing remote about it. It certainly brings us closer together in that virtual way, but it also opens up new opportunities, such as amazing guest lectures from people who would have otherwise never traveled to give a lecture. You can watch Educate’s webinar here.Read More
In 2020 we launched Untold, a collaboration with Driving Force Institute for Public Engagement, USC Center for Engagement-Driven Global Education. A free collection of short, compelling history videos and animations designed to shine a light on stories that don’t make it into the classroom and to question what we think we know about those that do. We believe that not everything worth knowing exists inside the cover of history textbooks. Untold has been created to fill in the gaps and bring new stories to life.Read More
Our endless viewing of vlogs, baking tutorials and those fascinating videos from Jungle Survival, has Nellie Bly to thank. She can be considered as the world’s first blogger. In 1887, her work “Behind Asylum Bars” where she went undercover in a Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island went viral and changed the way institutions are run forever. Inspired by the book Around the World in 80 Days, Bly set sail in 1889 and documented her adventures – travel blogger (or vlogging) style. Her record-breaking trip only took 72 days!
Bly’s viral work and travel blogging got me thinking about how vlogging has dominated the way we tell stories and document our lives.
And as someone who has done 7 vlogs (that you can watch here) and counting, I thought it would be interesting to dive into the evolution of vlogging and see how it has changed the way we tell stories.
But Before That
You can find out more about Nellie Bly and other historical figures within our Hidden Histories collection from the Untold series – a project of the Driving Force Institute for Public Engagement. Produced and distributed by Makematic with the USC Center for Engagement-Driven Global Education.
The Early 2000’s
Adam Kontras. You’ve probably never heard his name, but he is known to have created the world’s first vlog. Kontras set off on a cross-country road trip and along the way, he would write blogs to send to his friends and family about his adventures. On January 2000, he posted a video with his blog, that shows him sneaking a cat into a hotel that has a “No Pets” policy, thus creating the first vlog.
On 24 April 2005, “Me at the zoo” by YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim was published on YouTube. You may not be aware of the significance of this video, but believe it or not, this was the first YouTube video ever. With Karim speaking in front of the camera and explaining his surrounding in this 18-second video, some even classify this clip as the first vlog ever on YouTube, which has 99M views and counting.
The Bedroom Scene
Majority of the now-famous YouTubers began their vlogging careers in their bedroom talking in front of a webcam. However, one ‘video blogger’ as she phrased it in 2006, became the first viral sensation, first popular blogger on YouTube and first internet hoax. What a woman. Lonelygirl15 gained viewership quickly despite the seemingly ‘dull nature’ of the videos, pretty sure she says boring almost 6 times in her first video. However, a couple of months into her vlogging career, it was revealed that the channel was fake and that ‘Bree’ was actually an actress, and the whole series was produced LA-based creators.
Despite the hoax that lonelygirl15 was, she paved the way for vlogging and future creators. She showed the world the potential of YouTube and how stories can be made, and it all started in the bedroom. It also shows you how old we are if you remember lonelygirl15. So thanks ‘Bree’.
The $21,000 First-Class Airplane Seat
This was the first vlog I watched. To be honest, I didn’t want to watch vlogs back then because I would tend to feel jealous of what the person is showing me – like Casey Neistat (12.1M subs), who as the title states got a $21,000 first-class airplane seat, something that some of us can only get if we win the lottery. But after watching this vlog, I went down a deep rabbit hole and spent days watching his vlog channel.
Vlogs have evolved throughout the years and trying to write about it in one blog, is impossible. Famous vloggers, such as Casey, Liza Koshy (17.8M subs), David Dobrik (17.8M subs), have all brought something different to the vlogging world. Whether that’s playing truth or dare in public or filling the entire backyard with foam – vlogs can be about anything.
Vlogs are about the authenticity of a creator. It’s about sitting down and talking in front of a camera or filming something completely different. Some vlogs have a staged element in them – pioneered by lonelygirl15 – and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s difficult to shoot something that happens spontaneously, after all, it’s not every day that you get to film the cutest baby talk ever. So planning your vlog content to make it more interesting is a good way to start. Personally, I think this video illustrates it perfectly, it’s a planned vlog that is so chaotic and entertaining that it makes you want to watch more.
So there you have it, a condensed version of the evolution of vlogging. Vlogging continues to evolve and creators continue to rise on the internet. So why not start your vlogs today?
Throughout history, educators have learned through no small feat that in order to connect learning with students, they must adapt their learning resources into what works with each new generation. For Gen Z and Alpha, online videos is the way to go. You probably already know that however, so let’s explain ten reasons why educational videos are super effective for students.
#1 – Engagement
Numerous academic studies have been released on how video increases motivation and deeper learning, while also being able to specifically impact students’ ability to facilitate discussions and identify problems.
Want to learn more about the science behind it? We deeply recommend reading Cynthia J. Blame’s ‘Effective educational videos’ from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.
#2 – Accessibility
Let’s be honest, accessibility is still an over-looked subject even in 2020 but leaps and bounds are being made to make digital equipment & the virtual space it connects to far more accessibility to a wider range of people, particularly with disabilities.
From subtitling to audio description to transcripts, accessibility is finally becoming more mainstream and we at Makematic continue to discuss what steps we can make to do our part with our own content.
#3 – Portability
Print media is, unfortunately, becoming a thing of the past, especially for the new generations. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, is the need for trustworthy digital, learning resources that can be shared and used immediately around the newly-formed online classroom.
Unsure where to find video content for your students that will work on a wide range of devices? Why not check out our ever-increasing, educational video series on the Makematic VOD available on:
#4 – Ease of Production
You don’t need a PhD to make an effective, learning video, although it may certainly help! As long as you have access to a decent smartphone, you have all the tools at your fingertips to plan, produce and edit an educational video on a subject you love.
For kinesthetic learners, and students with learning disabilities e.g. Dyslexia. Video is a great tool alongside other resource mediums to help overcome barriers when trying to increase your student absorption of cognition & knowledge.
#5 – Replayability
Have you ever re-watched a film or television series and suddenly noticed new things that you didn’t pick up the first time you watched it?
A great benefit for video-based learning is how it allows anyone to pause, stop, rewind, and other timeline manipulation factors that can impact an individual’s learning experience. Unlike the traditional classroom or a group lecture, learning via video – you’d never have to miss something again, just as long as you can re-watch, you can always go back and re-absorb any missing info.
#6 – Visual Factor
Now, I love a good book from time to time, but even have to admit that video is only as good as the source material that inspires it. But that’s not to say the visual element of video is powerful and more appealing to learn from, particularly for my attention span.
Articles, journals, essays and more may feel more offputting to generations raised on television & online video. However, when you combine multiple sources of educational resources together with students, I truly believe you can get the best out of them.
#7 – Authenticity
Humans love to connect with fellow humans and if online video platforms such as YouTube & Twitch have taught us anything, it’s that having a human narration or even industry experts within your video adds a level of user connection that can be lost in translation through other forms of learning resources.
When we released our Teaching Online Masterclass (TOM) series, we had this in mind. The free-to-watch series contains numerous industry experts in the education industry. Why not check it out: https://tom.makematic.com/.
#8 – Collaboration
Successful learning is not just an individualistic experience. Having the ability to work with other people opens the conversation for feedback, ultimately providing students with inter-personal, social skills and the ability to take constructive criticism.
Video is a fun way for your students to create brainstorms and group learning experiences that can allow them to see easily their input to an educational topic while giving them that level of passion needed to connect to the subject matter in ways other mediums may struggle.
#9 – Contextual
Unlike relying on just reading literary materials, video provides strong visual cues. These help learners understand what’s happening, even when the language and prose is hard to follow.
Utilising infographics, source material and first-person accounts within your video help provide that much-needed cognitive downtime when learning and help keep the overall topic visually-stimulating.
#10 – Creativity
Video-based learning is a creative process, even when covering a specialist, STEM topic. It opens cognition to not just utilise the logistic side of your brain, but also your creative side too.
Creative thinking is fast-becoming one of the top employability skills for the future generation and by striving to incorporate video into your classroom, you allow the possibility for your students to begin to train themselves in these fundamental skills going forward.
We strive to inspire creativity through our videos, particularly for subjects that don’t get the reach they should. Just like our Untold Series where we delve into the fascinating history topics throughout the History of America.
Another month, another time to shine a light on one of our brilliant Motion Graphics Designer, Caoimhe Sweeney! Caoimhe has been working for Makematic for over 2 years and has been involved in multiple projects. We caught up with her this month to talk about her role at Makematic.
How did you get your job at Makematic?
A director I work with recommended a freelance position within Makematic on a project they were finalising. I really enjoyed working with the team and was happy to accept a full-time position with the company within a couple of months.
On a day to day basis, what are your responsibilities and priorities?
My day-to-day really varies depending on the type of project, which keeps things exciting and challenging. My average day consists of creating artworks and visuals, then animating and tweaking them in After Effects. Some projects need assets to be created that are ready to be dropped into an editors timeline, others involve creating entire videos.
How do motion graphic designers collaborate with other teams within the company?
Translating a script into visual form is definitely a collaborative effort that involves working with producers/writers/researchers to outline visual goals. Understandably, it can take multiple iterations to find the most suitable visuals, and having a strong collaborative team ethos throughout the journey is essential.
Are you working on any big projects?
At this moment I am working on the ‘Untold’ series, which is the biggest project with the most team members I have worked on so far. This project is so illuminating, each video is a spotlight into lesser-known, or untold, American histories. The team are creating beautiful works, which are not only really interesting but visually inspiring as well.
What’s an important lesson you’ve learned while working at Makematic?
Coming from an artistic background, the main lesson for me is how much you can learn and elevate your practise by working with others to achieve a common creative goal. If you are interested in making films or digital content, no matter what stage you are at, try to find people with similar interest and collaborate on some work together.
Ever heard of William Higinbotham? Probably not, but did you know this American physicist helped create the first Atomic bomb during World War II and then went on to create the first American video-game – a precursor to Pong entitled Tennis for Two!
Creating the Infamous Atomic Bomb
Higinbotham was born in Connecticut in 1910 and grew up in Caledonia, New York. He earned his undergraduate degree from Williams College in 1932 and continued his studies at Cornell University. One of the first achievements was working on the radar system at MIT from 1941 to 1943.
During World War II, he began working for the U.S. government at Los Alamos National Laboratory and headed the lab’s electronics group. In the later years of the war, his team developed electronics for the first-ever atomic bomb which would be utilized by the U.S. for the Pacific war in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan in 1945. He also spent his life trying to slow down the nuclear arms race that ensued as a result of the atomic bomb’s creation.
A Career Change like No Other
In 1948, Higinbotham joined Brookhaven National Laboratory’s instrumentation group. During that time, he would be responsible for the annual visitor exhibits of which thousands of people would come tour the lab. Most of the existing exhibits were rather dull. Higinbotham thought he could better capture visitors’ interest by creating an interactive demonstration
Higinbotham wrote: “It might liven up the place to have a game that people could play, and which would convey the message that our scientific endeavors have relevance for society.”
Tennis for Two
Just like that, Tennis for Two was conceptualized. The instrumentation group had a small analog computer that could display various curves, including the path of a bouncing ball, on an oscilloscope. It took Higinbotham only a couple of hours to conceive the idea of a tennis game, and only a few days to put together the basic pieces. Thanks to Higinbotham’s background in radar systems helped him immensely to design the simple, game display.
Tennis for Two is often marked as a precursor to 1970’s Pong except it had a few caveats. You had to note the score manually; no in-game counter but it didn’t matter as visitors loved it! It quickly became the most popular exhibit at the Laboratory, with people standing in long lines to get a chance to play.
Want to Know More?
Watch the story of Tennis For Two as part of Untold’s The Museum of Artifacts That Made America series.
That’s one of the questions asked in the Untold series produced by Makematic, Driving Force Institute and USC Center for Engagement-Driven Global Education. This particular video is about Hedy Lamarr, once dubbed the most beautiful woman on earth and made famous by acting in old Hollywood classic films such as ‘Boomtown’ and ‘Samson and Delilah’.
Contrary to what her Wikipedia entry may want you to believe, these days young children are more likely to learn about her as the inventor of the frequency-hopping spread spectrum, which is at the basis of mobile phone and Bluetooth technology. She was also one of the first female film producers and a wartime fundraiser.
It got me thinking whether there were other female film stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood with seemingly hidden talents, real trailblazers of their time, exhibiting skills and traits of creativity and entrepreneurship. Exactly the skills we want to actively develop in young children in this day and age. We use words like ‘empowerment’ and ‘engagement’ all the time, especially in educational settings, but back in the first half of the 20th Century, this was a different story. Perhaps at the time beauty was preferred over brains.
Ester Williams invented waterproof make-up. Marlene Dietrich was awarded the highest US civilian medal, the Medal of Freedom for all of her efforts for the troops during WWII. She was also politically active, regularly speaking with Reagan and Gorbachev. Julie Newman, who played Catwoman in the 1960s, invented ‘bum lifting’ tights and an ‘invisible’ bra. Audrey Hepburn became one of the first UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors and was completely dedicated to her humanitarian work later in life. Bette Davis was the first woman to start a lawsuit against Warner Brothers about her salary, autonomy and quality of roles. Singer and actress Josephine Baker was also a spy during WWII.
Of course, there were and are many more amazing innovative, entrepreneurial, engaged and pioneering women. The paper bag, dishwasher, windshield wipers, coffee filters and Kevlar are just a few examples of items invented by women. There are lots of great examples of women dedicated to science, politics, the environment and other causes. Young children are becoming more familiar with the names and achievements of these hidden figures. I hope we’re on our way to a society where we value brains over beauty as we teach our children about these wonderful women and their talents are no longer hidden anymore.
Watch the fascinating story of Hedy Lamarr as part of Untold’s Hidden Histories.
Find out more about Untold by visiting untoldhistory.org.
We are pleased to announce the official launch of Untold!
Untold is a free collection of short historical videos and animations that dive deeper into the stories you’ve heard before, and delve into the stories that time forgot.
Head to the official Untold YouTube channel – UntoldEdu – to watch the videos now! New videos are uploaded every Wednesday.
Untold features four series:
- America Explained – Exploring America’s history and how it impacts today’s society – from the Founding Mothers to what marijuana tells us about States’ rights.
- The Museum of Artifacts that Made America – From the first video games to the cotton gin; how do the inventions of the past impact the world around us today?
- Hidden Histories – Hidden Histories shines a light on influential Americans whose stories don’t usually make it into the textbooks – from the “Robin Hood of Harlem” to the greatest athlete of the 20th century.
- Speeches that changed America – Words have power. These speeches helped to change the course of American history.