Coastal Erosion Animation

 

I made a 15-second animation about coastal erosion using Adobe Animate.  As the salt builds up the plants die and the soil is released into the Gulf of Mexico.

 

Link to my animation as SWF file:  http://instruisto.net/CoastalErosion.swf

Link to the original Animate file:  http://instruisto.net/CoastalErosionAnimate.fla

Link to my animation portfolio page:  http://instruisto.net/animation.html

 

I decided to make my animation about the problem of coastal erosion on the Louisiana Gulf Coast. The construction of levees following the Civil War cut off freshwater from the coastal marsh ecosystem. In the absence of freshwater flooding, the salt content of the water in the marsh built up over time. The increased salinity kills coastal plant life unable to adapt. When the plants died, their roots no longer held the soil, which then washed out the Gulf of Mexico. The emergence of satellite photography in the late 1960s showed the loss of much land along the Gulf Coast.  I teach about this phenomena in my geography course each year because it is a major ecological problem for the United States. The loss of the wetlands represents the destruction of the spawning grounds of many species that live their adult lives in the Gulf of Mexico. The wetlands serve as a windbreak that slows down hurricanes and mitigates damage from storms in New Orleans and the surrounding area. Estimates of the potential financial losses caused by coastal erosion, in the long run, are in the hundreds of billions of dollars.  I will use this animation in class to teach a concept that I had been acting out with my hands as the roots of the plants releasing the soil into the Gulf (Marshall, The Lens, & ProPublica, 2014).

I began not in Adobe Animate but Adobe Audition. I made the soundtrack first to make sure that I could say what needed in the 15 seconds allotted. I initially went slightly over 15 seconds but trimmed the audio of pauses to get down to the allotted time.  My script is below:

“Levees on the Mississippi River prevent freshwater from reaching the coastal marsh. Without freshwater, the marsh becomes saltier, the plants die, and the roots release the soil into the Gulf.”

I’ve never used Animate before, so I found a tutorial on Lynda.com. The tutorial title was “Learning Adobe Animate CC.” I watched enough of the course to figure out what I needed to do.  I created an Action Script document in Adobe Animate because the Lynda.com tutorial stated that an Action Script file could be tested in Adobe Animate without opening a separate browser. The course instructor created his project as an Action Script document, and I followed his example.  I saved the document.  I selected a light yellow for the stage color, #FFFFCC, to make it closer to the warm color scheme of my portfolio without being too bright and to make sure I knew how to adjust the stage color.  Following the example in the tutorial, I changed the frame rate to 30fps.

I then created layers for the plant the water salt in the ground. I later add one for a title. I use the rectangle tool to make the water and the earth. I typed the word “salt” and set it to white. I colored the ground green and the water blue. I used stippled borders for water and dirt.  I renamed the layers in the property boxes.  I used the paintbrush to draw the plant.  I forgot to turn off stipple and drew a stippled trunk at first.  I switched to solid and finished the plant.

I set the time for each layer to 450 frames to get 15 seconds of animation. I inserted frames up to the 450 mark.  I animated “salt” to grow across the screen.  I messed up once on the animation, deleted the layer, and started over.  I animated the ground to fall away as the plant died and faded away using motion tweening. The fade out effect for the plant was achieved through moving the alpha to 0%.

Importing the sound was tricky.  I tried to drag it to the timeline, but that did not work.  I had to drag it to the stage.  I exported the video, and the sound did not export with the images.  I finally realized that I had to publish, not export, to keep the sound.  I did export as an animated GIF.  I tested the SWF file, and it worked.

The video posted below shows my work on the project.

 

Links

Adobe Animate:  http://www.adobe.com/products/animate.html

Adobe Audition:  http://www.adobe.com/products/audition.html

Adobe Forum post on audio issues:  https://forums.adobe.com/thread/1590472

Adobe Help on sound in Animate:  https://helpx.adobe.com/animate/using/using-sounds.html

Adobe Help on stacking objects:  https://helpx.adobe.com/animate/using/arranging-objects.html

Lynda.com tutorial on Adobe Animate: https://www.lynda.com/Animate-tutorials/Learn-Adobe-Animate-CC-Basics/482046-2.html?org=ufl.edu

 

Reference

Marshall, B., The Lens, & ProPublica. (2014, August 28). Losing ground: Southeast Louisiana is disappearing, quickly. Scientific American. Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/losing-ground-southeast-louisiana-is-disappearing-quickly/

I don’t take information from the article since I’ve been teaching this topic for over a decade.  I include this as documentation that the problem is real.  If you are unaware of coastal erosion and the consequences for the Gulf Coast region I encourage you to read the article.

A Review of Daniel Pink’s Drive

Link to the Podcast

https://soundcloud.com/paul-blankenship-650404851/drive-by-daniel-pink-book-review-podcast-by-paul-blankenship

 

Book reviewed

Pink, D. H. (2012). Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us [Kindle edition]. Retrieved from https://www.amazon.com/Drive-Surprising-Truth-About-Motivates-ebook/dp/B004P1JDJO/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

 

Author’s background

According to Daniel Pink’s website, DanPink.com, he is the author of six books on business and motivation. His TED Talk videos have garnered over 30 million views. From 1995 to 1997 he worked as a chief speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University and a Juris Doctor from Yale Law School (Pink, 2017). Pink wrote Drive to explain the value of intrinsic motivation.

 

Content

Daniel Pink (2012) explains why intrinsic motivation is usually more effective than extrinsic motivation. He Introduces book with a discussion of experiments by Harry Harlow and Edward Deci.  Harlow observed monkeys solving puzzle boxes without a reward of any kind. Deci found that rewarding people for solving puzzles resulted in less engagement when the subjects thought no one was watching. In Part One Pink describes intrinsic motivation as a new operating system for society. He labels intrinsic motivation as Motivation 3.0. Pink contrasts intrinsic motivation with extrinsic motivation, which he calls Motivation 2.0. Motivation 1.0 refers to basic biological drives. To build communities, systems of punishments and rewards called laws developed to permit people to live in something better than the state of nature. Pink argues that as we automate routine tasks and work shifts from the algorithmic to the heuristic, it is time to move past the punishments and rewards of Motivation 2.0 and ascend to the intrinsic Motivation 3.0. Pink explores the failures of if-then rewards but does include a brief section on when extrinsic rewards may be effective when algorithmic, routine work must be done. Pink compares Type I and Type X behaviors. Type I behaviors are intrinsically motivated. Type X behaviors are extrinsically motivated. Pink provides evidence that Type I behavior results in higher effectiveness and ethics in the long-term. He makes the case that Type I behavior can be learned. In Part Two Pink presents autonomy, mastery, and purpose as the three elements of intrinsic motivation. Pink argues that students and employees need greater autonomy to reach their potential and highest performance. Pink claims that mastery, developing skill in something that matters, is a better motivator than compliance. Pink discusses the optimal psychological state of flow as requiring a close match of skill to task so that neither boredom with too simple a task or overwhelming frustration with too difficult a task prevents the development of mastery. Mastery comes through diligence, determination, and careful practice that provides actionable feedback to improve specific skills. He notes it is impossible to master any valuable skill fully. Pink claims that Motivation 2.0 organizations see purpose as a nicety but not a necessity. Pink states that purpose is necessary to reach the highest levels of Motivation 3.0 and give supporting examples of companies that make a profit while making a difference.

 

Critique

Within the genre of pop psychology, Drive is one of the better works that I’ve read. Pink is a popularizer, not a scientist, and claims nothing more for himself.  He presents real research from well-regarded scholars in a breezy, easy-to-read format accessible to the general public.

Overall Pink makes a good case for intrinsic motivation. Critics could challenge some examples by questioning the amount of reward offered, but Pink anticipates this challenge and presents other examples where much higher rewards resulted in far worse performance. Pink’s view of motivation is not overly simplistic. He realistically examines the exceptions to this rule and even provides steps to implement more successful extrinsic motivation programs where such are warranted. He presents a flowchart to determine whether intrinsic or extrinsic rewards are appropriate to a situation. The labels Pink devises, such as Motivation 3.0 and Type I behavior are memorable shorthand for the ideas he describes. In his TED Talk, Pink acknowledges that is law school experience informs Drive since he makes a case. In my judgment, he wins.

 

Rating with rationale

When I finished reading the Kindle edition, the app prompted me to rate and review the book. I gave Drive 4 out of 5 stars, which is an endorsement. I would strongly encourage educators, both in the classroom and in administrative offices, to read the book. Pink is an excellent popularizer of other people’s research. I considered giving him all five stars, but I usually reserve that for those who conducted the research rather than the popularizers, even when they are as good as Daniel Pink. Without the constraints of the app, I give it 4 ½ stars. His recommendation to fire the bad teachers without defining what makes them bad did not provide actionable information. His proposal to pay educators a living wage, while indeed welcome, did not specify a way to calculate that salary or pay for it. The first 60% or so of the book was well written and made a thoughtful argument. The last 40% of the book seemed like a compilation of blog posts included to pad the page count.  There was useful information in the final section; it just seemed a little disjointed.  I would recommend that readers thumb through the third part of the book and skim for details of interest rather than read straight through.