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

at Leicester and UN

April 5, 2017
by Jean
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DLAB Erasmus free online course

Some of us who teach on FDLT, BALT and other education courses along with students and local teachers are part of an Erasmus+ project called Digital learning Across Boundaries – DLAB for short. We are working with educators in Belgium, Denmark and Norway.

In May we are sharing a free online course based around our theme this year; using digital technology to support learning outside. The materials will be based around our themes:

  • art in the environment
  • creating trails
  • science outdoors
  • wild writing

You can read more about the course and sign up here.

If you are working in schools you will be able to access stimulating and creative approaches and activities that you can use with your pupils. Part of the course will be based around online sharing of activities and outcomes through a Google Community.

The project has a twitter account: @DLAB_Erasmus and a website where you can find more details and examples from the project.

March 2, 2017
by Jean
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Gallery visits for FDLT Y2

This week each of the FDLT Year 2 visited art galleries to explore how learning can be inspired and developed in locations other than the classroom.

The UN group travelled to Avenue Campus to look at the exhibition ‘Under Construction’. This is an exhibition of photographs taken by the second year BA Hons Photography students and records the changing environment of Northampton. This year the photos were taken at the old Royal Mail sorting office and development of the new Waterside Campus.

The group explored how the exhibition could be used to support learning in art and across the curriculum and then went on to take their own photos around a theme or idea of their choice. They chose and edited their photos on their phones or tablets, presenting them as photo collages.

You can see all of the images here.

 

The Leicester group visited New Walk Museum and Gallery in Leicester. They explored the collection of Victorian and modern paintings, trying out starter activities to get pupils used to being in a gallery and focused on art and identified and discussed pictures that could be connected. One of the travelling exhibitions at the gallery was ‘Sublime Symmetry‘. This was an exhibition by the William de Morgan Foundation and was focused on art and mathematics. There were resources for younger pupils to use (hanging up in activity bags), Key Stage 2 mathematics exploration workbooks and art leaflets: some of the supporting resources can be seen here. The students could also explore the dinosaur display, the Ancient Egyptian section and a hands on science exhibit.

Some of the discussion in these session will help them work on assignments in their enriching learning beyond the classroom module.

February 9, 2017
by Jean
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Using iPads outdoors

This year the FDLT Year 1 students in both Leicester and Park Campus, Northampton used the university Ipads as part of their learning. In a session focused on using digital technology to enrich the curriculum (art) they were given a key art idea to search for examples of and photograph. They went off to observe, capture and edit around the outdoor environment. It was interesting that because they had been given a very specific focus on what to look for they began see examples everywhere and be quite creative in the way they captured these examples.

When they returned to the classroom the students collected their images together and presented them as photo collages using the PicCollage app. They added borders and text and then airdropped them to the session tutor so they could be shared with the group. All the collages were added to a ThingLink that also contains the relevant subject knowledge information which is enhanced by the visual examples present in the photo collages.

The full collection can seen here.

 

 

December 18, 2015
by Jean
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FDLT animates!

Over the last few weeks the FDLT Y2 groups have been using animation, greenscreen and video editing apps to create short films.

2015-11-30 10.22.34This year we used the animation app ‘iMotion’ to make the animations. This is a relatively simple to use free app (there is a paid for version with a few extra features). This time when we used it some of the groups experienced a problem in that if they stopped animating and watched their films back when they continued the film did not always continue on from what they had previously done. We were able to correct this using iMovie but it was frustrating and sometimes demotivating.

2015-11-30 11.03.42Something else we tried this year for the first time was filming the animation against a green screen and then adding a background using the DoInk greenscreen app. This allowed them to set their story against one or more photographs that they had chosen. As we used it we also found that the animation could be moved around on the screen to a better position and the photo could be adjusted too. This app was very user friendly and a student recommended the DoInk animation app which is something we will investigate for next time (to help overcome the problems outlined above).

After the animations were made and the photographic background added we used iMovie to edit the films. For some this meant reordering their scenes and for all it meant adding sound. Some students chose some music from the limited range available on iMovie. Others added narration, dialogue and sound effects as well. Films can also be edited in YouTube, which has a much larger choice of music.

Along the way students also used the photosforclass.com website to find photos; Dropbox, to save films at different stages and YouTube to share and edit films. It was impressive to see the level of team work, creativity and perseverance from the groups of students as they worked together to create their animations. They can seen on this YouTube channel:

The students learn how to animate and use green screen so that they can explore how to use digital technology to support and enrich learning across the curriculum. Underpinning much of the activity was narration, imagination and storytelling – many of them told stories and designed story boards in order to develop their story before beginning to animate.

2015-11-24 10.20.49Some students set their animations in non-fiction contexts that involved some research about their area (global warming, animal homes). Throughout they listened, negotiated, described, speculated, evaluated and asked questions (English). In addition this some students explored aspects of the history, science or geography curriculum to set their animation in context. All the students were engaged in designing and making sets and props and some made their own characters. Some students researched to find and evaluate images to use for their backgrounds (art and design, design and technology). All the students were engaged with using digital technology to make and edit their films (computing).

2015-11-24 13.09.44We hope that students will go and use these skills in their support for learning in schools as teaching assistants, or in the future as they become teachers. the potential for learning in the classroom or in after school clubs is huge. As adults they experienced an immersive and intensive full day of activity that might be better broken down into a series of smaller activities with children. This would give the chance for greater reflection between each stage.

Furtehr reading:

There’s an interesting blog post here about the educational value of making stop motion animations with children and also these journal articles exploring research:

Fleer, M. and Hoban, G. (2012) Using ‘Slowmation’ for intentional teaching in early childhood centres: Possibilities and imaginings.
Australasian Journal of Early ChildhoodVol.37(3), p.61-70.

Hoban, G. and Neilsen, W. (2014) Creating a narrated stop-motion animation to explain science: The affordances of “Slowmation” for generating discussion. Teaching and Teacher Education. Vol.42, p.68-79.

Pugh, S. (2013) Stop motion animation as an innovative approach to engagement and collaboration in the classroom. The Student Researcher. Vol 2. No 2. pp109-120.

Reid, D., Reid, E. and Ostashewski, N. (2013) Combining iPads and slowmation: Developing digital storytellers in an early learning environment. World Conference on Educational Media and Technology. pp. 1539–1543

 

October 6, 2015
by Jean
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The Big Draw

11October is the month of the The Big Draw in the UK and all over the world.

‘The Big Draw is the world’s biggest drawing festival with thousands of enjoyable, and mainly free, drawing activities which connect people of all ages with museums, outdoor spaces, artists, designers, illustrators – and each other.

The Big Draw is for anyone who loves to draw, as well as those who think they can’t!

We believe #drawingchangeslives‘ (The Big Draw, 2015)

You can look here resources and ideas to help you join in with The Big Draw in schools. You can look here for events that are happening near you in galleries, museums and other places.

If you or your school are taking part do add a comment below to share with us what you did.

Reference:

The Big Draw (2015) About The Big Draw. [online] Available from: http://www.thebigdraw.org/the-big-draw [Accessed: 06/10/15]

 

March 10, 2015
by Jean
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Next Northampton Inspire network meeting

On Monday 23rd March we will be holding our next Northampton Inspire Network Meeting.

This will take place in the Sulgrave building – go to reception and you will be directed from there. it will start at 4.30pm although refreshments will be available from 4pm.

We will be creating immersive sensory experiences around a theme.

IMG_5936-z64choThis session explores cheap and effective ways of creating multi sensory environments for visual and sound stimulation using portable dark and white rooms. We will experiment with a wealth of light and sound equipment, create images using luminous paint, and project sensory iPad apps and video onto 3D objects. The aim is to create controllable experiential activities that encourage engagement and interaction for all learners, and to think about creative ways of theming these. We have been inspired by the work of Richard Hirstwood: http://youtu.be/ihMSw8BIXF4 and http://youtu.be/PkIKpOn7y98.

You can book free tickets here and feel free to let others know about the meeting – it is for students. teachers, teaching assistants and other interested people.

March 4, 2015
by Jean
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Get Creative (Part 2 of 2)

You might have heard on BBC TV and radio lots of references to their campaign to encourage creativity called Get Creative!

You can browse the website here.

In the early weeks of this campaign there have been some programmes focusing on creativity and the arts. One was the BBC Four Arts Question Time.

Arts Q timeA panel of leading creative people answer questions from the audience about the challenges, opportunities, failings and future of the arts in the UK.

There was also a radio debate ‘The Front Row Debate’ where John Wilson hosted a discussion exploring the relationship between the state and the arts. You can listen to it here.

You can watch / listen to these on iplayer until the end of March and I have added them to Box of Broadcasts which you can access if you a University of Northampton student.

20 minsIf you explore the Get Creative part of the website you can see lots of ideas for creative activities and articles about related people and issues. You can sign up for the weekly creative challenge – you’ll be sent an email with a 20 minute, an hour and a half a day challenge so you can choose the one that fits the time you have.

 

an hourThis week the challenge is based around colour and looking around us. The responses can be shared with others through the 64 million artists website or by using #BBCGetGreative on social media.

 

 

half a dayI’ve signed up because I think the ideas could be useful for using in teaching as well as in my own art.

The approach – setting an open challenge – could be a useful one in school too. It would be interesting to set the challenge on a Friday afternoon and give children the opportunity to respond at home and at school and then take a look at what they did after a week.

You can also explore Get Creative in your region here. There are lists of organisations nearby that offer creative activities.

If any of you are using the BBC Get Creative resources in school (or at home) comment below and let us know how you are getting on!

 

February 23, 2015
by Jean
0 comments

Get Creative! (part 1 of 2)

Last week creativity was in the news as the Warwick Commission launched their report ‘Enriching Britain: Culture, Creativity and Growth’ and the BBC launched their ‘Get Creative’ celenration of the arts, culture and creativity across the UK.

warwick‘Enriching Britain: Culture, Creativity and Growth’ is based upon a year long investigation by people working in the arts and culture, supported by academics at the University of Warwick.

It was chaired by Vikki Heywood, CBE, who said:

‘The key message from this report is that the government and the cultural and creative industries need to take a united and coherent approach that guarantees equal access for everyone to a rich cultural education and the opportunity to live a creative life. There are barriers and inequalities in Britain today that prevent this from being a universal human right. This is bad for business and bad for society.’ (p8)

The report can be downloaded here – Final Report You can read tweets about the report and join in the discussion here #enrichinggb

For those of us working in education and schools it is interesting to note that  the report calls on the Government and Ofsted to ensure all children up to 16 receive a broad cultural education and urge that no school should be designated “outstanding” without evidence of an excellent cultural and creative education.

Goal 3 (of five goals) is focused upon fully harnessing the importance of creativity in education and skills development.  Goal 3 states:

A world-class creative and cultural education for all to ensure the wellbeing and creativity of the population as well as the future success of the Cultural and Creative Industries Ecosystem. Education and skills development are essential in order to maximise our nation’s full creative and cultural potential. The key to enriching Britain is to guarantee a broad cultural education for all (through arts skills acquisition, participation in arts and cultural events and enhanced appreciation), an education and a curriculum that is infused with multi-disciplinarity, creativity and enterprise and that identifies, nurtures and trains tomorrow’s creative and cultural talent. The English education system does not provide or encourage either of these priorities and this will negatively impact not just on the future of the creative industries but on our capacity to produce creative, world-leading scientists, engineers and technologists. As the evidence in this report demonstrates, children born into low income families with low levels of educational qualifications are the least likely to: be employed and succeed in the Cultural and Creative Industries; engage with and appreciate the arts, culture and heritage in the curriculum; experience culture as part of their home education and have parents who value and identify with the cultural experiences on offer from publicly funded arts, culture and heritage. (p15)

 

If you are seeking to preserve and enhance and culture in your setting this report contains powerful evidence and arguments to support you.

January 11, 2015
by Jean
0 comments

#Nuture1415

#Nuture1415 is a social media based review of 2014 written by people involved in education.

@ChocoTzar introduces it here:

“So, it begins. Although to be fair I think others have beaten me to the blog. This is the third year of Nurture Blogging, which in the Twitterverse is like, forever.

The principles are even more simple this year: five positives from 2014 and five wishes for 2015. Yes, we’ve slimmed it down to make it accessible and sustainable – but if you do want the challenge task, it is fourteen positives from 2014 and fifteen wishes for 2015. If you have a Nurture1314 post you may review that too. Once that is done, post it with #nurture1415

It’s one of my favourite blogging themes. Every year loads of people get involved including first time bloggers. The writing has included pedagogy, leadership, social work, health care as well as far more personal matters such as families, love lives,  mental health and life changing events. Basically, anything goes.”

You can read her whole post here.

This is great opportunity for to read reflections on teaching and learning, lives in education and supporting learners.

You can find many interesting (and moving) posts by exploring a list of links to them here or you can search #Nuture1415 on twitter to find links to blog posts.

Here’s mine:

You might like to write your own #Nuture1415 – five positives from 2014 and five wishes for 2015. It can be a personal reflection for yourselves of if you wish, you can share it using #Nuture1415 or by posting a link in the comments here.

 

December 3, 2014
by Jean
1 Comment

Film making with Into Film!

Rico and Sophie, explaining how to use the equipment.

Rico and Sophie, explaining how to use the equipment.

Over the last few weeks we have been exploring digital technology with FDLT Y2 students. We were fortunate to have support from Rico Lowson and Sophie Burrows from the organisation Into Film.

In the first session Rico and Sophie introduced animation and shared some ideas to help children understand were the process had come from. This included exploring the illusion of movement created by the ‘persistence of vision’. this can be explored through looking at the work of Eadweard Muybridge, an artist working with photography at its earliest stages, or making flip books, zoetropes or thaumatropes.

if you haven't got a tripod, you can use a clear plastic file stand to hold the ipad still as you work.

if you haven’t got a tripod, you can use a clear plastic file stand to hold the ipad still as you work.

Using digital technology we can now make a range of simple types of animation in the classroom. Rico and Sophie introduced us to claymation (using plasticiene), paper cut-outs and silhouette animations. In the sessions students used the apps imotion, imotionR and imovie to film and edit  animations, and it is possible to use other equipment and software as well. It was very useful (for both students and tutors!) to have Rico and Sophie with us to show us examples and give us practical tips.

The MK group at work

The MK group at work

These included:

  • using imotionR with imotion (through the wireless network) so that one ipad could remotely control another, eliminating movement when the ipad is touched,
  • ensuring that hands were kept out of the picture by having a line to stand behind when images were being captured and some agreed signals for when items could be moved around,
  • taking 5 shots for the opening or for any reading (credits) and then taking 2 shots before moving the items,
  • using the ‘onion skin’ on the app so we could see where each had had been, and move a little, or readjust if necessary,
  • going through and deleting any shots of hands in the imotion app, before exporting to imovie.
UN group at work

UN group at work

Across our groups at Park Campus, Northampton; Beauchamp College, Oadby and Milton Keynes we continued to work on this in another session, exporting them to imovie to edit. We created eight short animations to and they can be seen on this YouTube playlist

Reflecting upon the experience (both as observer and film maker) I was interested in the possibilities for learning inherent in the activity of creating a stop go animation. Teamwork, co-operation and negotiation was vital throughout the process. Creativity, having ideas and making them real, was apparent from beginning to end and there was so much practical problem solving. It was essential to be organised in both planning and filming the animation and there were numerous roles to perform at each stage. As adults with limited time in a taught session we produced enough of a film to get a sense of the overall process but  I can imagine that going from the initial idea to the end product could be an absorbing and rewarding experience – and a film show on a big screen would be great occasion in school!

The Oadby group at work.

The Oadby group at work.

In Northamptonshire there is an organisation called filmnorthants who will screen films from children and adult film makers – this could be a great opportunity for class films. Another possibility is setting up a film or animation club after school or at lunchtime – many children are keen to learn how to do this and pursue it in their own time as well as at school.

The CPD session that Rico and Sophie led for us was a great springboard to having a go ourselves, first with their support and later on our own – you can contact them through Into Film. If you are a school who would like to book training for 15 or more staff, you can email CPD@intofilm.org or ask to speak to the CPD team on 020 7288 4520.

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