Stop Animation: A fun and simple way to turn your students into Spielberg.

Within our ICT lesson on Monday we learnt about stop animation and the possibilities of using it within the classroom.  We got into group and had to create a short movie using toys, play-dough or any other item with a webcam and a piece of software called ‘Monkey Jam’.  To anyone who would have come into the lesson, they would have seen twenty-four 21+ students playing with toys and having a great laugh at what each other created in what is frankly an amazing work environment.  This however is not the case because we simply were not playing, but creating the next big stop animation movie.

Oh yes, we were aiming for the stars. In stop animation the sky is literally the limit, there is no need for big budgets or expensive props, and even though it takes more time than money, the amount of fun you have whilst doing it makes it an ideal lesson/lessons for schools to undertake.  We found five lego men, one was builder, one was a policeman, another was a Native American… (You see where this is going…).  Anyway we found the lego version of the village people and it would have been rude not to try to create something a little like this…

Now we were working in a group of three, with a combined age of 70 and relatively good ICT skills.  Could we create this…well we did try but it seemed that technology had other plans.  We created what we thought was a really good piece however; the software we used chopped it up and deleted parts and threw the ending into the beginning and the middle at the end.  That being said what we created was ok for a first attempt.

It was a great lesson and I would recommend it to any teacher.  I will be certainly using it in my classroom due to the incredible benefits that this lesson has to offer.  Not only does it promote team work and team creativity.  It requires the individuals to enhance their technological understanding of the use of ICT, introduce them to new forms of media, and can be incredibly cross-curricular.

This is our finish video and I hope you have as much fun watching it as we did creating it.


Smart Boards: The incredible improvement since the blackboard and chalk.

Since last Monday’s session of learning about interactive white boards, our group consisting of Sam Watts, Paul Stewart and I, have been making resources for history.  Firstly I would just like to point that every school should invest in a smart board and secondly, for teachers a pupils alike, they are incredibly fun.

I have only had interactions with basic white boards which need a special pen for the use, however smart boards allow you to quickly use your finger, elbow and even your toes which when you can’t find that pen after wet play or a very interactive D&T lesson, is very handy.

It was this lack of need for a pen which instantly grabbed my attention as it was with my experience in school that batteries for these pens didn’t seem to last a while, causing another thing for teachers to remember.  Also I don’t tend to carry around a pair of AA batteries which could quickly be the end of my interactive maths lesson.

There are also so many features of the smart board which has so many benefits to the classroom it really allows each lesson to be bought to life with a huge supply of resources.   The features available on this easy to use piece of software really does allow for teachers to save time on creating exciting and practical lesson resources.

I think that it is a crucial piece of hardware and software which every school should invest in, without sounding too cheesy, the possibilities really are endless.

ICT in education on the rise?

At a time where ICT is everywhere and with the boom of the social network, I don’t think that there has been a greater emphasis needed for ICT in education.  Today in ICT I used a new tool called SMART notebook 11, which quite frankly is an amazing piece of software which allows ICT resources to be made for the computer on the computer incredibly easily!

With the use of this software, (which I hope I get to use in school and not a very old and difficult whiteboard), I thought it would be a good idea to blog about an article I found.  Ed Exec who look at the financial side of education have written an article about ICT funding within education and it is something which I found very interesting.

“A year on from schools stating their concern over the Government’s removal of ring-fenced funding for ICT, technology budgets across the UK are increasing, recent research has revealed.” This I thought was fantastic news as it would indicate that heads and the board of governors which decide where the money state schools receive goes, are seeing the need to invest in better ICT infrastructure.  This for any of you reading this is great news as it will allow us as educators to use and improve ICT within our classrooms.

ICT as I learnt today is such a versatile subject and can be used to benefit any subject within the national curriculum which I why I strongly believe it needs to be improved.  Ed Exec state “Looking ahead, the trend looks set to continue with 2013/4 ICT budgets forecast to rise by 3.3 per cent in primary and 2.8 per cent in secondary schools”  This is incredible as it would put the spending on ICT in schools at 254.6 Million.  With this amount of money so much can be done to improve ICT infrastructures within primary schools, however if I could have my way I would certainly increase this more due to the benefits to be had from a strong ICT structure within the primary school.