movie making with kids!

Posted on November 21, 2012 by Claire.
Categories: mobile technologies.

In this session we were introduced to imovie (trailer) maker.  Although I didn’t use this as I got to grips with QR codes and green-screen technology instead I did watch our tutor demonstrating it.  It does look like a lot of fun and I did watch from the sidelines as another group put their’s together.

Basically you select the genre you want you movie trailer to be in – adventure, romance, etc and then go out and take short video clips which would fit with your trailer.  You then use the app to piece together the trailer by uploading and editing your videos to fit the sequences of the trailer.  You can add titles and end-credits to your trailer and the overall effect is extremely professional.  I would love to use this in a classroom and understand that it is not just something you could set the pupils off to do.  It would require lots of planning, especially to establish what each scene should be and how you are going to shoot it.  You can introduce the concept of angles, close-ups, distance, mid-shots etc as well as mood, colour and lighting.  These all have links to KS2 Literacy – En3; planning, drafting, developing, language use, layout, form and content etc.

For a great example of what can be accomplished in just one hour (adults not children remember) follow this link to Ben’s post about the ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ video his group made.


Here is a super (and lighthearted) idea of what you can achieve with imovie maker.

Moving on from the slushy stuff, here is an example of what you can do with a digi-blue camera and Windows Movie Maker.  My daughter and I created this video (with a bit of help from her little brother and step-dad) for her school project on fire.  The project didn’t have to be a video but as we had just looked at digi-blue cameras and Windows Movie Maker in our ICT sessions (last year) I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to practice with the technology and get to know it before attempting to use it with a class of 30 lively and excited pupils.

ok so we need to work on the sound next time but overall I was impressed, having never made and edited a video before!



Green screening

Posted on by Claire.
Categories: mobile technologies.

Surprisingly you might think, I had come across the concept of Green-screens prior to this session.  However I had only ever seen them used by professional companies, usually in the run up to Christmas when they set up in a shopping centre and try to convince you to part with your hard earned cash in exchange for a 90 second video/dvd of your child sitting in a sleigh against a green back drop which creates the effect of the sleigh going on a trip through snowfields and dense fir forests in search of Father Christmas etc.  My Dad has always said he would love to have a go on one of those but being the ‘goat’ that he is would love to pretend to fall off the back of the sleigh and then slowly but surely, one hand at a time and lots of effort later clamber back onto the sleigh looking somewhat worse for wear – sorry just thought I would throw that in as the idea of my dad doing that really makes me chuckle and I know he would do such a good job of it.

So we got to play with green-screen technology then.  This involved someone sitting/standing/dancing whatever in front of a green screen whilst the person with the recording equipment – in this case  an ipad – photographs them against a chosen background which can only be seen on the screen; it is important to make the floor green if you want to get their feet in the shot.

Once you have your photo you can up load it onto from a saved file.  It is important – as we found out through LOTS of trial and error – to rotate your photo so that it is the correct way up before uploading to the site as it cannot be done on there.  First you open the background and re-size it to what you are happy with.  Then click on the ‘layers’ button and choose to ‘import from file’.  You now select the photo of your actor/victim.  Your person against the green backdrop now appears on the screen.  Click on ‘effects’, ‘photo’ and ‘Chroma key’.  You can then adjust the background so that it disappears and you are left with your person against the intended backdrop.  You can also re-size the person making them larger/smaller as necessary.  The photo (right) is the outcome of our session.  If you look carefully at the pictures along the top you can sort of see the (disjointed) process we went through to get the overall effect.

Movie FX is a film making app available on ipads that uses background images or videos to place your person (who is standing against a green backdrop) in the scene.  You simply point the camera at the green-screen and select the colour background on the screen that you are using.  You then point the camera at your actor standing in front of the green screen, use the slider to adjust the contrast and press the red button to begin recording.  This app was very straightforward to use although we did have problems with the contrast cutting out too much of the person or not enough of the background.  Once you have a contrast you are happy with though all that is involved is directing and filming.  Here is a link to Jenny’s post which contains the video we made together.

In school green screens could be used for a number of purposes.  At the most basic level they could be used as a backdrop for making personalised Christmas, Easter, Valentines, Diwali, Halloween (the list is endless) cards for children to take home for family or as keepsakes.  It could be better used for presentational purposes.  Children could make documentaries about a trip to somewhere they have been learning about e.g Egypt, Ancient Rome, The Grand Canyon etc.  Pupils could even get creative by presenting on the Great Barrier Reef or from a river bed by finding a suitable background and then ‘donning’ the right grear e.g. a snorkel, mask and flippers.  The child could then make incomprehendible sounds through the snorkel whilst holding up scripted placards to deliver the information.  It would certainly create a few laughs.   This could even be given a whole school approach with each year group creating a short newsreel about the topic they have been studying and then putting this all together to create a whole school news report to be shown in an assembly, at parents evening, open days etc.  I saw something similar to this – but without the green-screen – in my daughter’s class assembly last year.  They had been learning about mega-structures and their class assembly was a newsreel shot in various locations around the school grounds using replicas of famous mega-structures that they had built.  This was very enjoyable but could have been enhanced greatly by using green-screens.  They could even have put their reporter and mega-structure against a completely incorrect backdrop e.g. the Eiffel tower in the Sahara Desert and then reported on how many mega-structures had been mysterious relocated overnight and then give the history of the mega-structures etc.  At the end they could have shown the reporters at the real sites declaring that all was well now as the mega-structures had been returned safely to their correct locations.  I am in no way insulting or belittling what was done by the school as it was very creative on the children’s parts, required a certain amount of artistic licence and imagination on the parents parts and was certainly highly amusing.  Its just a shame I didn’t record it.

Here then is a funny little clip I found of how green-screening can be used with amateurs to demonstrate the effect it can create.


This link takes you to a series of short films all about using green-screening with pupils and covers everything to do with film making really.  It is from a website containing a wealth of information for teachers on many aspects of using creative arts in school.


This final video is a fantastic example of how green-screening can be used with children.  Wouldn’t it be fantastic to be able to do something like this with pupils, perhaps for the Christmas production which parents could then come to and watch just like at the cinema.  The school could even raise money by selling hotdogs, popcorn and ice cream! (Okay so it would take an awful amount of time, planning, organisation, imagination/creativity, resources and staff and pupil collaboration but the final result would be amazing and surely something that would stick in pupils’, teachers’ and parents’ minds probably for the rest of their lives).


Happy green-screening!


War graves get QR codes!

Posted on November 8, 2012 by Claire.
Categories: mobile technologies.

Morning all, just a short post…

Here is a report I read this morning about an Oxford War Cemetery putting QR codes on graves which give further information about the people buried there.  It just goes to show how valued the role of QR codes is.


QR codes

Posted on November 7, 2012 by Claire.
Categories: mobile technologies.

So we have now been introduced to the novelty that is QR codes.  Yes I had come across these before ( I am not that far behind with technological advancements) and I have even got an APP on my phone for scanning and accessing the links.  However I certainly did not realise how simple it was, and free of charge too, to create these.  I thought businesses spent thousands of pounds employing other companies to create these strange looking squares, and perhaps they do, but we found out today how to do it for free.

“So what do QR codes found in magazines, leaflets, supermarket aisles etc have to do with Primary Education?” I hear you ask.  Well, they can be a useful and imaginative means of engaging children with their learning.  A mathematics display may contain QR codes as the answer to puzzles or questions or QR codes may be used as an interactive and creative approach to lesson work, they can even be used for treasure hunting making use of map reading/co-ordinate skills – a Geography/Mathematics link.  They can be used to create whole class book reviews, provide links to websites for extension work during lessons or for research at home and saves printing out endless copies of instructions and websites to look at etc.  You can copy and paste enough QR codes for all pupils to have one each onto one sheet of A4, which can then be cut out and stuck into homework books, planners etc.

This approach to learning would captivate children as it would give a sense of solving a mystery through detective work to the lesson.

Here is an idea I found for incorporating QR codes into Mathematics work.






This QR code will take you to my other post for an idea of how to use QR codes creatively. The website we used to create the codes is quite simply called  All you do is click on create code and then follow the simple steps to create the righttype of QR code for your resource.  It really couldn’t be easier. 

  my blog





This code will take you to a webpage with further ideas for using QR codes in the classroom.


I have enjoyed trying out the Qr codes and will enjoy incorporating them appropriately into my classroom too.  I do believe it is easy to over use them and children will gradually disengage from them as they become too ‘same old, same old’ so to speak.  Their use does therefore need to be planned considerately into the classroom as any other learning aid would be.

Geocaching around the school with QR codes.

Posted on by Claire.
Categories: mobile technologies.

I have just posted this idea on Laura K’s blog in response to her post on Geocaching.  I really like the idea of Geocaching but think this may be a bit difficult with a group of primary school pupils as it involves searching for items which may be spread some distance apart and you never know what people may have left.  I have therefore come up with a geocaching around the school idea – a bit like a treasure hunt.

  • Obtain an aerial view image of the school and grounds and get it blown up to a decent size
  • Place a grid over the image to create squares with co-ordinates.  Copy this so that there are enough for each group.
  • Hide items in certain locations making a note of the co-ordinates.
  • Create a sheet of QR codes, each code provides one set of co-ordinates.  Copy this so that each group has one.
  • Children are tasked with finding and recording as many items as possible. The children will have to understand the importance of not removing the item.
  • Each group begins by scanning a different QR code to ensure all groups are active right from the start and are not falling over each other trying to get to the same item.
  • The hunt continues until all QR codes have been scanned and locations investigated.
  • The first group to return with the all items correctly identified wins. Teacher checks each answer sheet as it comes in and tells children if any items are incorrect but does not tell them what the correct item is. The group then has to go back to that co-ordinate and find the correct item.

Pupils could then be sent home with a letter informing parents of what has taken place and giving information about geocaching and how to get involved with it.  This way pupils can hopefully continue to enjoy using technology to search out hidden treasures.

Do you think this could work?  What do you think about trying to Geocache properly with primary school pupils?



I am not going to copy Laura so check out her blog  to see what she said about Geocaching and to view the websites she suggested.


Posted on November 6, 2012 by Claire.
Categories: mobile technologies.

Just a quick post about using ipads in schools. 

Yes you guessed it, we have been exploring ipads.  Call me old fashioned but I hadn’t actually had the opportunity to ‘play’ with one of these before.  I’ve always been intrigued and have been pestering the other half for a while now, but when you have children to keep and nursery fees to pay luxuries like ipads really are few and far between.

So the ipad then.  Well, yes, I have to admit I did rather like it.  You can download screen after screen of apps from the Apple store and can scroll through the screens to find the app you require.  The ipad only has one button on the front which takes you back to the front screen, making it appear very user friendly, but as it is touch-screen technology the apps do contain lots of buttons which can prove problematic.  As I discovered when investigating a range of these apps, understanding how they work and what you are supposed to do is not easy.  Finding instructions or help for some of the apps was not easy, or impossible in some cases (although it may just be my inexperience).  However I did get around to using the morfo booth app which now appears to have been updated to a 3D version.  This app allows you to manipulate portrait photos of your friends/family/enemies if you like, as demonstrated in this video

Okay so the demo is being done on an iphone but the principle is the same.

I myself have a Samsung Galaxy SII phone which utilises the android market.  I did discover a morfo booth-like app which allows you to turn your nearest and dearest (sorry Alun) into their ancestral form using an app called MEanderthal.  (The app is available for both iphones and android.)

Homo neanderthalensis 200,000 – 28,000 years ago

Homo heidelbergensis 700,000 – 200,000 years ago


The website contains a vast quantity of information, from the Smithsonian  National Museum of Natural History, about the evolution of the human race and research into this area.  This could be linked (with a twist) into KS2 Science Sc2,5 – adaptation, looking at how humans have adapted to changing environments/habitats as well as Geography looking at the impact humans have had on areas and how even our ancestors with their most basic of tools and knowledge will have used and altered their habitat/environment.


So back to ipads.  Playing with the apps was easy enough and getting to grips with the ipad is pretty self-explanatory making their use in school pretty valuable in my opinion.  They are lightweight and portable and fairly robust too (a must with primary school pupils).  There are two downsides to them however in my opinion.  The first being the lack of USB port making uploading resources onto a PC problematic.  However as the ipad connects directly to the internet using WIFI it will be possible for pupils to email each other their resources/work and hopefully save their work onto the student domain of the main server – if this is possible through a WIFI connection.  The second problem then is that they are an apple product.  None of the schools I have been into use apple products (although I am aware that some schools have them, I just haven’t seen it for myself yet).  They all used what we might call ‘standard’ PCs and Laptops with Microsoft software.  Apple products are reputedly on the dearer side of the market and with the current Government making more and more cuts, finding the money to invest in ipads may be an issue.  It would be wonderful to think that all schools can give pupils access to a range of both Microsoft and Apple products enabling them to get to know how both systems work and begin to evaluate them and make judgements as to which may be most suitable to use in given circumstances, after-all justification and reasoning are key skills to be learnt during Primary school!





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