In todays session we experimented with animation in small groups using software called MonkeyJam. At first we were unsure of what to do, however when I was in my early teens me and my friend used to make animations using similar software to MonkeyJam before we had to go swimming. The process involved taking props, we used lego men, and making them move by altering their position ever so slightly and taking pictures. I believe we took around 800 images for our 42 seconds of animation. Although it was worth it because its definitely worthy of an Oscar, or a BAFTA at least.
The synopsis of our animation is that of a man who loses his hair. This is then found by a character known as the ‘Odd Policeman’, and the two men battle it out for the hair. I’m afraid you will have to watch the clip at the bottom of the post to find out who wins. I must warn you it contains graphic images, despite this I feel we have created an action master class and a Hollywood style fight sequence that Quentin Tarantino would be proud of.
I believe that this software could be very effective in schools for getting children involved in such things as telling stories, or creative thinking with regards to storytelling. Another possible use for this software is for the children to create visual aids which can be saved and then later used as revision tools. For example certain aspects of Mathematics, or Science. The lesson would have to be an extended session due to the fact that the process of taking the pictures takes up a large amount of time, and for this reason I believe it should only be used in upper KS2, for instance in Years 5 or 6.
Here is my MonkeyJam animation:
Computing National Curriculum content covered within this session:
Key Stage One:
Use technology purposefully to create, organise, store, manipulate and retrieve digital content.
Key Stage Two:
Select, use and combine a variety of software (including internet services) on a range of digital devices to accomplish given goals, including collecting, analysing, evaluating and presenting data and information.
Use search technologies effectively, appreciate how results are selected and ranked, and be discerning in evaluating digital content.
It is important to have a back up plan as most animation software/applications rely heavily on the internet, and if the connection is weak or there is a technical issue then the lesson will be affected. It is also critical that children are taught to search for images and videos correctly as e-safety and the Data Protection Act are issues that appear regularly in the news and so children must be made aware.
Session 3 Computing – Mobile Technology and ICT Outdoors
Mobile technologies and the use of computing outdoors provide a unique opportunity for linking computing with learning outside of the classroom. Today’s session examined a variety of resources which are suited to extending learning outside of the classroom.
The resources that are available are such things as handheld GPS devices, video cameras and digital cameras. A great way of using GPS devices outside of the classroom is for activities such as creating a treasure hunt with the use of coordinates. Through using coordinates and creating a route you are making links between maths, geography and computing. Through allowing children to create their own treasure hunts you are giving them ownership of their learning and so they are likely to be more engaged with the activity.
A similar use of computing outside of the classroom was made evident when we used QR codes to perform an orienteering based task in a PE lecture. This requires having a QR reader on your phone, however these can be downloaded for free. Each QR code contains a clue to go and find the next code and so on. This can be an innovative way of linking PE with any subject through computing. For example each QR code could contain an answer to a question, as well as a clue regarding how to find the next QR code. Then at the end of the session the teacher could ask questions relating to the answers found beneath the codes and the children will be required to think logically to match each question with what they believe to be the correct answer.
There are numerous ways that technology can be used outside the classroom. The Creative Star Learning Company incorporates many interesting and useful blogs from experienced teachers. These blogs contain information on how ICT can be used for activities such as outdoor sketches, studying mini beasts and taking photo’s for a geographical study. This website can be found at this address: http://creativestarlearning.co.uk/blog/
Other examples of apps that can be used for such things as viewing the earth and its relationships to other planets and the sun include Google Earth, SkyORB and SoHO. These apps link directly to learning about space and the universe and in a few days I will be using these apps to teach students about the earth’s relationship to the moon and why the moon appears to be different shapes in the sky. Screenshots of the apps?
To conclude it is clear that computing outside of the classroom has very few drawbacks, obviously the use of cameras will need to be monitored as children’s safety is of paramount importance. However the benefits outweigh the risks and I believe that computing should be used more and more to develop learning outside of the classroom.