A blog for students on the FDLT and BALT courses at the University of Northampton

at Leicester and UN

April 16, 2019
by Jean
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A new online course from DLAB!

Our team from the University of Northampton would like to invite you and your staff to join our free online course on What if the sea level rises? Exploring language and culture in a future setting. This course has been developed as part of a European funded project, ‘Digital Learning across Boundaries’, that brings together teachers, student teachers and lecturers in Norway, Denmark, Belgium and England to connect classrooms, and to explore and share technology-related themes.

This is a fantastic FREE resource for primary and lower secondary teachers. It includes case studies of lessons and an international online community sharing ideas. We hope you can join in to develop and share your own ideas on our themes of survival, communication and sustainability. 

The course runs for one week starting on May 6th and will remain on our website for teachers to dip in and out of as much as they want.  

We hope that this is of interest. You can find out more and sign up here: 

http://dlaberasmus.eu/courses/what-if-the-sea-level-rises-exploring-language-and-culture-in-a-future-setting/

 

Alongside this free opportunity, I would like to let you know that we are recruiting for a new Postgraduate Certificate in Digital Leadership, starting on 20th May 2019. This is a one-year, part-time, fully online course that leads to 60 Master’s credits and can form part of an online Masters pathway open to an international audience. It is intended to develop both subject and leadership expertise, and is designed to accommodate complete beginners as well as those with some existing knowledge in the field. You can find more information here: https://www.northampton.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate-certificate-in-digital-leadership

 

Do contact me if you have any queries about either of these courses:

helen.caldwell@northampton.ac.uk

All best wishes,

Helen Caldwell

(And the DLaB team at the University of Northampton)

April 4, 2019
by Jean
1 Comment

Animating science!

This week in the FDLT Year 1 groups we have been using the stop motion animation app iMotion and the video editing app iMovie. The students devised, scripted and designed short animations to explain an idea or process. After they had made their film they added music and sound effects from iMovie and sounds made themselves.

The films can be watched here:

It was interesting to see the skills, knowledge and understanding that students used as they worked in teams of three or four. They had to check their subject knowledge and understanding of the ideas and concepts they were presenting. Sometimes as they worked this evolved as they added detail: vocabulary and visual examples. They worked effectively as teams, taking different roles, co-operating, sharing ideas and solving problems. Cross-curricular approaches were evident as students worked across the subjects design, art, science, English, mathematics and computing. 

Making stop motion animations allows people to move from passive users of technology to creative makers where the technology is a tool to create.

 

February 4, 2019
by Jean
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New sculptures appear at Waterside!

This afternoon the FDLT Y2 students explored the sculptures placed around the Waterside site.

They then chose their own space on campus and made a maquette (the small model that a sculptor would make as part of the design process). They then used green screen technology (DoInk app and Ipads) to virtually place their sculpture in the space, manipulating its scale to fit.

Some of the sculptures are inspired the university experience (learning and graduating).

Some are inspired by the materials themselves.

Others are inspired by the site itself (railway heritage and wildlife).

Continue Reading →

June 13, 2018
by Jean
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FDLT year 1 field trips

Last week the FDLT year 1 students went on field trips to explore different ways of supporting learning outdoors. Led by Ken Bland and Georgina Hand, they explored fieldwork around a river including mapping the meander, measuring depth; testing speed of flow and exploring water quality. They also took a kick sample of the animal life in the water and used magnifiers to look at the creatures they had found. They explored the clues to the history of their location around the landscape.

Students also used the outdoors as inspiration for poetry and art. As a starter the students played a digital find it activity in pairs. Each pair was given a grid with things to look for, photograph and present as a PicCollage. The grids were based around subject content, subject specific vocabulary, and could be differentiated to the learning of the pupils. It is a good way of getting a group to explore the outdoor where they will be working in without unnecessarily collecting and damaging the environment. 

We also looked at the work of artist Richard Long. The students then had a go at making walking poetry by setting a rule to walk, collect words and explore the outdoor environment. Some students walked ten steps and then looked up and looked down; others set rules related to collecting certain groups or patterns of words. This gave them the opportunity to use grammatical knowledge in a creative context. 

Students also collected one leaf and tried to identify it using books and an identification app on the ipad. After this they had a go at writing a poem around the edge of the leaf. We discussed using scientific as well as poetic language. 

We also looked at The Lost Words – see earlier blog post. 

This day connects forwards into the PDT2016 learning beyond the school site module that the students will study in 2018/19. 

June 7, 2018
by Jean
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Can your pupils sew on a button?

Great British Button Challenge!

Hobbycraft did some research and found that out of the 10,000 people they surveyed 1 in 5 could not sew on a button, with 52% never taught this at school (Hobbycraft, 2018). This summer they’re running a  challenge to bring sewing back into schools.

Teachers can go along to their local Hobbycraft up to 20th July and pick up a free bag of buttons and Great British Button Challenge stickers. There are also lots of button based projects on the Hobbycraft website along with educational resources – you can download the pack here.

If you’re not sure how to sew on a button Hobbycraft have made a video guide to help!

With thanks to a BALT graduate, now teacher, for pointing this out.

Reference:

Hayhurst, M.  (2018) 

Hobbycraft issue first Craft Report and launch Great British Button Challenge.

[online] Available from: https://www.craftbusiness.com/news/view/hobbycraft-issue-first-craft-report-and-launch-great-british-button-challen [Accessed 07/06/18]

May 22, 2018
by Jean
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Free international online course

This year is the second year of the Digital Learning Across Boundaries (DLAB) project. We are nearly ready to share learning ideas and resources based around using digital technology creatively with STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics).

The online course will begin in the first week of June. You can sign up at this link

Overview

STEM to STEAM adds the Arts to the integrated and applied study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), to create interdisciplinary challenge-based learning opportunities. Creativity and imagination, which lie at the heart of the arts, are blended with the critical thought and enquiry of STEM.

This is a flexible online course that you can join in with at a pace and depth that suits you. We will suggest activities and ideas based on our international DLaB project work, and encourage you to try them within your teaching.

We would like you to leave each week with something new to try out in practice and we will encourage you to share your experiences and swap ideas on our weekly themes within our Google+ community. You can start sharing ideas in the online community now; there’s no need to wait for the start date.

Who is this course for?

Our course is aimed at primary and lower secondary teachers, however anyone with an interest in the field is very welcome. It is in English.

May 18, 2018
by Jean
0 comments

Exploring stop motion animation

Recently the FDLT Year 1 students have been learning about stop motion animation and exploring how this might support and inspire learning. Students chose an idea and planned and made a short animation to explain it.

You can watch all the animations here:

 

December 8, 2017
by Jean
0 comments

Make your own digital advent calendar!

I want to share a great blog post I came across about making an interactive advent calendar on Mr P’s ICT blog.

You can read the blog post and see some examples at the link above. There are opportunities to be creative a variety of apps and tools including using the camera, collage making apps and ThingLink.

Here’s an example from Cwn Glas Primary School:

There are lots of useful ideas for using technology creatively on Mr P’s blog which you can browse here. You can also follow him on Twitter where he is @ICT_MrP

 

May 17, 2017
by Jean
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Ideas for supporting learning from children’s book illustrators

On Monday I was lucky to attend a creative session in the School Experience Library, at Park Campus, University of Northampton. This session, arranged by Academic Librarian, Hannah Rose and Library Learning Services, brought two author illustrators to share with us their approaches to writing and illustrating.

First Birgitta Sif shared with us her journey to being an author illustrator and her process of writing. Birgitta’s first books was ‘Oliver’, a book about a little boy who was different and how he found friendship. As she read it to us she helped us look more carefully at how the illustrations enriched the text and gave us clues and extra surprises. These included searching for a mouse who present in each picture, finding a character who appeared in the middle of the story actually appears in the previous pictures too and using the text inside the pictures to guide us in the story.

She also showed us how she makes a story by making small sketches to get to know her characters, making tiny prototype books and by drawing the world of the character and the places and people or animals the character encounters. She draws from life and imagination and when she is stuck she goes for walks outside and plays with her children.

Then Dave Barrow shared his work with us. His first book was ‘Have you seen elephant?’, a book about a game of hide’n’seek with great visual jokes throughout. As Dave read it to us he helped us understand how he had drawn the illustrations by sketching from life, from videos and trying things out for himself.

Dave also did some live drawing taking ideas from children to give us ideas about how to construct a character through drawing and talking. We could really see how this could lead to imaginative stories as the children talked with Dave. Dave helped them think about how the personality and characteristics of a character could be apparent in a drawing as well how to show clues about the character in the picture so that they didn’t have to be stated in the text. he also showed us how to show the size and scale of a character. He also answered questions about how long it takes to write a story, how many drafts it takes and how sometimes an idea has to be let go to improve the story.

What can we learn?

  • Make little prototype books to try out and sequence ideas.
  • Draw and sketch from life.
  • If you get stuck go outside for a walk.
  • Practice drawing if you want to improve.
  • Draw a character to get know it before you start to write it into a story.
  • Link characteristics of the character with the story you’re going to write.
  • Keep drafting and improving.

Some of these are things you might try in school or when you are writing.

As part of the session we also made our own character to take away and maybe write a story about, inevitably, mine was a cat!

Read the story in the university news

Authors encourage pupils to get creative developing characters

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May 12, 2017
by Jean
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Y1 visits to Newton Field Centre

This week both FDLT Year 1 groups visited Newton Field Centre in Northamptonshire.

They explored how a visit to a Field Centre could support learning in geography, science,history and art. The Field centre teacher, Georgina Hand and a University of Northampton lecturer, Ken Bland, led activities such as measuring the flow of the river, measuring the profile of the river, collecting and classifying invertebrates from the river and using them to measure the environmental quality of the water. The subject knowledge associated with these areas is crucial when supporting learning and this is an area where visiting a field centre with specialist teaching staff can be invaluable to schools.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The students also explored the molehills in the field to collect rocks and stones an these were compared and classified later. The app iGeology and large scale maps of the area are useful resources for this kind of activity. They explored the field for evidence of human use in the past – the pond and the dovecote both being sources of food for the large house that used to exist on the site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whilst in the field the students created land art using just the resources available to them in the large field. Because of the time of year there were lots of dandelions in flower and as clocks – a great source of material for making. It was interesting to see of the range of art made featuring circles, lines, colour, contrasts, using techniques such as weaving, placing and pressing down. By now it will all have changed and returned to nature. Finally the students collected leaves to make their own key to the vegetation at newton as a model for making a key on their school sites using the plants around them.

 

 

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