Sunday, June 4, 2023

Creating a Video-Sound Stage

 "The Best Conditions Became Evident at the Right Moment"


My previous blogs offered my personal stories to encourage the application of creativity,  as I did successfully that results in enthusiastic, engaged learners.

 I have earlier related “How to Follow Oral Directions” was my masters 1980 experimental project. Puppets were shown to be as effective as peer role models. 

Then, obtaining unusual outstanding results with my students/clients, solid longitudinal data verification was deemed necessary authentication.

 The historical role model puppets emerged as the data catalyst. 

This outcome revealed any type of action puppet can be noteworthy for instruction to motivate current non-focused, screen-addicted, students having weak listening memory.

 My objective with this immense filming project was to condense, consolidate, and complement my unpublished instructional and training manuals (each lesson, research documented). 

And then, convert earlier filmed lessons, as a live data collecting prototype, to an easy- to- use, high-quality, stand-alone-deliverable product.

 The staging creation process was not easy to formulate, as there were many decisions and time delays locating and installing the needed equipment.

 Fortunately, I have had a life-long background for understanding staging requirements.

 By age 4, I existed on a home stage in our living room.  My earliest fond memories were those of acting in front of a home movie camera in bright lights. 

Now, everyone is in front of a cell-phone lens, taking multitudes of self-absorbed “selfies” every few hours.

Yet for me, it was not a spontaneous, reactive occurrence, because it was then 1941, and 8 mm silent movie cameras were rare, new, products, available only for the invested person. 

But, we became one, using Kodacolor movie film. Family members were often the subject matter in the home stage environment.

 This action involvement progressed eventually to my early 1960 teaching with classroom stage productions. 

The family 1970s puppet show staging followed naturally with lighting instruction offered by the University of Kansas theatrical department where I was enrolled.

           With 5- generations of filmwork development completed over decades of technical, upgrade hurdles, and finding that commercial film companies were not a realistic pursuit; the home stage studio became a work-in- process, trial endeavor.

 Now, let’s fast- forward to 2017. My grand-daughter was enrolled in film studies at Cal Arts and offered lighting and staging input to complement mine. 

A freshly engaged, novice, photographer and sound editor, put the studio production into slow, steady, forward gear, as there were many sound and lighting considerations.

 Subsequently, moon-lighting his day job, he could only schedule four hours weekly, as an up- skilling training project (2-3 hours filming, and 1-2 hours editing and producing uploads into Drop Box). Although he had his own rock band, was fond of comic action, he welcomed the opportunity to practice studio photography. 

He soon realized increased dedication to this immense, ongoing, project.

It was a high-risk endeavor, and I never thought we would get beyond the first 3 or 4 lessons. Subsequently, I was agreeable with the initial slow production set-up pace.

 We ordered the necessary lighting equipment and a 5’ camera slider that had serious shipment delays. Finally, the historical stage puppets were in place ready for the necessary action. 

I had become a multi-vocal puppeteer who could readily switch vocals with the required timed pacing. This aspect eliminated the need to hire several puppeteers with additional film production staff. 

And, most importantly, it would be the same photographer, not rotating ones trying to learn the complex choreographed, panning system.


My small filming-sound studio was now soon complete with computers/screens. As if my magic, we gradually finalized over 3 - 6,000 lesson segments through countless takes and retakes. An early-effort, 2 minute segment, had up to 13 retakes of my vocals with constant staging challenges. 

We re-filmed the first eight lessons several times, because the practiced filming and puppetry improvement was noticeable.

In a culture of pill-popping, as an easier solution than mental, action workouts, the re-filmed lessons run from a brief 10- minutes up to 24, averaging 16.  The participant applies resilient, cognitive, whole-brain responses and interaction. 

Workouts give feelings of exhilaration and pleasure

 Artificial Intelligence (AI) can imitate this complex staging with “faces and voices”, but, creating the same warm, comforting, interactive, appeal is questionable.

Hopefully, this article will encourage others to engage with in-depth, meaningful, projects that offer insightful well-being and accomplishment.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

The Stuff Dreams are Made Of

 " Schemes and Dreams of the Chipper Chopping Chums"

My first marketing endeavor was to create and produce my first road show,  a theatrical puppetry company, while I was in graduate school.

It was a puppet show, named “Voco Poco Puppets” to match my extensive teaching experience in theatrical productions. As a family creative, team project, we performed a variety of seasonal shows at shopping centers.

Our ’Voco Poco Puppets’ back-to-school Fall promotionals was publicized as: “The Schemes and Dreams of the Chipper Chopping Chums”. 

The Script: Our featured ventriloquist puppets dreamed of being super stars like Wonder Woman and Superman. They thought they could reach those imaginative roles by dreaming about the fantasy world and that somehow it would become a reality.

And sometimes, dreams do come true.

Subsequently, Madeline and Wayne moved on to the Edutainment world to create better lives for many through instructional games to enhance cognition.

The family wrote and scripted the comedy and songs for each event. An electric piano was purchased for Mark, and as an advanced pianist by age 11, he welcomed a paid professional role performing current "Pop and Rock" pre-shows that attracted large crowds for the puppet dramas.

The shopping center’s marketing agents booked us regularly, as they remarked we were a “darling show.” After a 5- year performance stint, my children grew older, had formed new interests, and I had acquired my special education masters degree, ready to teach.

Progressing from public school teaching to my own company with a film studio, my lighting, and sound stage with a continuing coursework background, was included for the updated Bridge to Achievement film work. 

Interestingly, the featured Butch and Lily puppets had been early 1940s Hollywood figures that appeared as comedy nightclub stage acts in California and New York City. I purchased Lily from the retired performing artist, Lucille Elmore, who had become my vocal coach and mentor.  

She later bestowed Butch as an addition to my ongoing creative instructional film work. She explained that “I don’t want Butch ending up in a stored box”. 

And, indeed he didn't.

View Lily and Butch O'Malley below in Lucille Elmore's 1940's stage acts:

The characters'  vocal cadence have offered over 85 years of cheerful, comforting, reassuring glow to give a viewer a sense of well-being. 

The puppets had transferred themselves from 3-Dimensional stage players to a filmed 5-Dimensional rotating, instructional visual-sound system. These role models became successful tools for cognitive skills training.

Puppets as role models generate research outcomes

Data Outcomes Summary

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

The Long Wait for a Cognitive Skills Film Production Project: Three Podcasts Reveal Surprises

With the finalization of a six-year film production, entailing 6 arduous years of filming- re-filming-editing puppetry training segments, I find myself at the cusp of a completed project. 

The cognitive skills retraining program, created in 1980, has become a reality for consumer, upskilling, and educational corporate licensing.

The re-filming and full compilation (four generations of previous versions) had been an ongoing goal to complete a complex film set of 48 lessons. 

The project lay latent for a number of years in trying to find the right entity who could perform this highly detailed work. 

Finally, it was decided that the only way this could happen was to create a home film studio, where I did not have to transport five ventriloquist puppets and remain on location to perform the vocal work.

I would have to train someone from scratch, as I had a unique rotating sound and visual system with vocal phonological requirements.

By luck, a local sound engineer applied to my on-going advertising search. My high-risk endeavor was planned to obtain a full lesson or two. 

My background began as a classroom teacher, parent of three, special education teacher and specialist, learning scientist researcher, and finally, a data analyst. 

I partnered with five research universities to monitor my experimental research for several years. 

This partnership provided evidenced-based longitudinal findings with  subsequent research awards, which gave me a unique background for creative insights.

This arduous adventure will be related in a series of articles and podcast episodes.

With that being said, I now offer Podcast Season 1, Episodes 1 to 3, with an interview by my daughter, Christina Erland Culver, CEO of EdNexus Advisors, an Educational policy expert. 

My beginnings as a child reveal having a natural curiosity for the profound. This became the root for developing procedural instruction for helping others find hope and self-purpose.

Episode 1

Now, let's review how I began my first class that included Christina as a role model, with home schooling instruction.

Episode 2

An important discussion with Christina explains how and why the various sound repetitions integrate visual and auditory (listening) memory that is so integral in following oral and written directions, the foundation for implementing accurate procedures.

Episode 3

Let's review a Summary of the Data Outcomes

Data Outcomes Summary

My stories will continue in future blogs and podcasts . . . . . .

Monday, May 1, 2023

Following Oral and Written Directions


Following Oral and Written Directions[1]

 By Jan Kuyper Erland

My former articles have related on my 5-generational researched and developed puppetry film project. Artificial Intelligence (AI) could try to mimic The Bridge to Achievement’s (BTA) layered components effectively. 

But, are positive longitudinal cognitive outcomes with AI possible?

That will be determined through heavy data mining. 

Subsequently, this article will review the root of my long research project, which was my 1980 University of Kansas masters project. The design reviewed whether puppets or peer models could enhance the ability to follow oral directions.

The outcome showed that peers and puppets were equally effective as role models in delivering instructional directions. And, with further research assessment applications at thirteen test sites, the ability to follow procedural instructions maintained over time.

And, that visual and auditory integration were necessary cognitive components in the process. They should work at the same speed level for understanding to ensue. 

But, unfortunately, the advancement of multi-screen addiction has changed all of that, as we become more and more visually oriented.

We wind up with hard wired visual speed with quick images.

 Additionally, many brain games measure visual memory speed primarily, in repeated replicated – isolated patterns, but are not integrated with listening memory. 

As a result, we now experience national low school reading and math scores underscored with thr inability to follow procedures.  Screen skill speed games may be the culprit, dumbing down the brain. 

Inadvertently, a skilled workforce shortage results that can not follow or remember detailed instructions and procedures.

Inadvertently, we achieve the inverse of what we are trying to accomplish through heavy visual adherance. We pull the visual memory segment faster, and out of sync with the overly needed auditory processing.

The two memories, then, do not integrate properly for applied conceptualization.

Unfortunately, the critical auditory memory transfer process has been overlooked.

Data Outcomes Summary

Rumelhart, D. E., McClelland, J. and the PDP Research Group. (1986).  Parallel distributed processing:  Explorations in the micro structure of cognition.  Cambridge, MA: MIT Press    

Erland, Janis L. (February 4, 1986; copyright TXu 225 862). Contrapuntal Thinking and Definition of Sweeping Thoughts.

Erland, J. K. (1980). Vicarious modeling using peers and puppets with learning disabled adolescents in following oral directions. The University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

Erland, J.  K.  (Fall, 1998).  Cognitive skills and accelerated learning memory training using interactive media improves academic performance in reading and math.  Journal of Accelerative Learning and Teaching,  23, (3 & 4), 3-57.

Erland, J. K. (© 2008). Downloadable, unpublished report. Five Generations, 27-years of iterative Brain-Based Accelerative Learning Experimentation Demonstrate Cognitive Skill Improvement Enhances Academic and Career Goals. (https://memspan/jalt).

5 Erland, J. K. (Fall 2000). Brain-Based Longitudinal Study Reveals Subsequent High Academic Achievement Gain for Low-Achieving, Low Cognitive Skills, Fourth Grade Students. Journal of Accelerated Learning and Teaching. 25, (3&4) pp.5-48. ERIC ED # 453-553. & # CS 510 558. ineducation/jankuypererland pages 277, 41.

Erland J. K. (c 1989), Hierarchy of Thinking. Mem-ExSpan, Inc.