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

at Leicester and UN

January 21, 2016
by Jean
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500 words

500 wordsBBC Radio 2 launched the annual ‘500 words’ writing competition for children this week. You access the website here.

It is for children aged between 5 and 15 in two groups – 5 to 9 and 10 to 13.

There are some great resources to help children start writing which can be accessed here – tips and resources.

Interested adults (teachers and librarians) can volunteer to be judges and help to read about 30 stories and score them.

 

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

 

November 26, 2015
by Jean
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Free ebooks!

free ebookRoutledge have made this ebook freely available to download. If you sup[port pupils in literacy or English this might be of interest to you. All you have to do is fill in an onlione form and you will be sent a link to download the book as a PDF.

You can also browse the website to find other useful books and resources. This is also available:

R ebookAlso available is an ebook that explores John Hattie’s Visible Learning – available at the link.

October 2, 2015
by Jean
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Pobble365

Every day a new picture is revealed on the Pobble 365 website. It is run by the very popular Lend me Your Literacy (LMYL) website. It emerged from Jonny Davies’s experience as a classroom teacher – he explains that he would look for a striking and extraordinary image to inspire thinking and discussion in his classroom. This is what Jonny says:

And this is exactly what happened in our classroom: each Friday morning at 09.05 I would reveal one of these unique images. As it appeared on the board, I looked around the classroom and I could see a mixture of open mouths, excited whispers and animated discussion. The children talked about whether the giant that was crawling out of the ground was searching for a companion or baying for blood, or whether the mysterious forest of eyes contained fairies or werewolves. The pictures I chose were surreal, abstract or conceptual. To the children these images were weird and wonderful, fantastic and bizarre.

Imagine your favourite children’s book: when you read it your mind becomes full of fantasy and colour as you paint a picture in your mind, bringing the pages to life. This is what these images did, even for the children who didn’t enjoy reading.

The provoked conversation gradually became filled with rich vocabulary as I channelled the children’s thinking towards describing a character or a setting. Their imaginations ran wild, and poured out onto the paper. I can still remember the goosebumps on my skin as the teacher in the adjacent classroom and I would sit down with a coffee at 4 o’clock and read through the writing produced. I thought to myself ‘this is what teaching is all about’. These are the moments that we must cherish as educators.’ (Davies, 2015, lines 20 to 46)

You can sign in to Pobble with your Facebook, twitter or Google account or by creating a sign in with your email address and a password.

Each day a picture appears and along with it some resources to help you use it with pupils. These include story starters, questions, a link to exploring sentences and other ideas. You can download the picture and ideas as a PDF or if you join as a teacher you can use the images in your lesson more directly.

Here’s a link to the picture for today, October 2nd. How would you use it?

There are many other interesting aspects to the Pobble website including, if you join as a school, being able to share your pupils’ writing and make and receive comments about it.

Comment below if you use Pobble365 or to share ideas about using pictures in learning and teaching.

 

 

Reference

Davies, J. (2015) Going Global: from Picture of the Day to Pobble 365. [online] Available from: http://blog.pobble.com/picture-of-the-day-to-pobble-365/ [Accesed 25/09/15]

 

April 30, 2015
by Jean
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Using pictures and images to support learning

Over the last few weeks I have been teaching a session about using images to support learning and teaching to FDLT Y1. we have explored searching for images online and issues of safety, copyrightt and citation / referencing. One useful resource is photosforclass which provides a search that is:

  • Safe G Rated Images – All images are appropriate for school setting thanks to Flicker safe Search and our proprietary filters
  • Automatic Citation – Downloaded images automatically cite the author and the image license terms
  • Creative Commons – All photos shown are to the best of our (and Flickr’s) knowledge Creative Commons licensed for school use

This is useful for using to create resources for school use and for using in student work such as in presentations or creating digital artefacts that use photos.

In the session we explored collecting images and placing them on Pinterest boards, grouping images together in arrangements using webtools and apps such as Fotor, PicMonkey, PicCollage and Moldiv. Having made collages it is them possible to make the pictures interactive by using them as a basis for creating ThingLinks. here is an example of a ThingLink I made that explores the kings and queens of England from 1066 to the present day.
You can easily send a ThingLink to other people via social media or from a link. It is worth exploring the ThingLink website to see examples of how others have used it to support learning. You can sign up as a teacher.
We also looked at ways of using QR code makers and scanners to access images, and best of all, we used Aurasma to reveal images linked to objects and pictures.
IMG_0793The way that a video or image can appear on a phone or tablet as if by magic is quite captivating and would appear to have many uses in education.
I made an example based on creatures’ tracks where  a picture of the animal would appear linked to each track.
If you are interested in finding out more about these webtools and apps there are further posts on this blog:
If you have any examples of using them please add them to the comments below.

February 6, 2015
by Jean
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A recommendation from Dom…

Dom Murphy has recommended this blog as a useful and inspiring one to follow and read:

timrylands

You can access it at this link.

Tim Rylands is an experienced primary school teacher who uses digital technology to support and inspire learning. He now works with teachers, schools and children to help them enhance learning. As you scroll through his site you can see how enthusiastically adults and children join in and you can also see some of the ideas, apps and other resources he uses.

I like this post where there are lots of links to explore – did you sir? did you miss?

trThere are lots more and you can click on each one to a brief write up then if it catches your interest you find it and explore it more fully.

 

 

 

I was interested in this one by the Children’s University of Manchester.

Its part of a bigger site based around learning at Key Stage 2, focusing on History, Languages, Art and Design and Science. In the languages section you can choose ‘words’ or ‘French’. In the words section you can explore a variety of areas such as a world languages map, a timeline of the English language, some specific activities based on adjectives, eponyms, idioms, word classes and play some games.

 

adjdetHere you can see the opening screen for ‘adjective detective’.

If you have a recommnendation of a site, blog or other online resource do add it to the comments below.

January 29, 2015
by Jean
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A school that blogs!

Lots of schools now have their own blogs where they share school news and learning and teaching ideas. Its a great way of allowing parents and other interested people a window into school life and getting some positive feedback and interaction for children. It also provides opportunities to write for a real and interested audience.

SBblogStandens Barn Primary in Northampton has a great blog which you can access here.

There is a blog for each class and also blogs for specific people or themes such as ‘Sports Reports’, ‘Mr Chalmers’ DLs’ and ‘Clubs’.

I first became aware of this blog when Wayne Chalmers brought the school’s Digital Leaders to the University of Northampton for the afternoon to work some of our students who are STEM champions. (STEM is short for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics.) We had an interesting inspiring afternoon of using ipads to photograph and film with round the campus, following a treasure hunt and then in pairs making a short film. You can read the university press release here and you can see the films here.

Last weekend I was aware through all the tweets appearing that the BETT show was happening in London – a huge annual sharing of ideas and resources around educational technology. Then I saw some familiar faces as some of the Digital Leaders from Standens Barn and their teachers appeared! You can read about their visit here.

And next week I’m looking forward to another post as I know they are coming to the #TeachMeetNorthampton2015 on Wednesday to share their ideas and experiences.

There are lots of other schools who blog and I can see that Standens Barn Primary are making connections to other schools locally and further away. Its a great opportunity for the children to learn about the lives of other children.

If your school has a blog and you would like to share it with us why not add it to the comments below? Or even better, write a little piece about it and I’ll share it here.

 

 

December 3, 2014
by Jean
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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.

November 27, 2014
by Jean
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ECYP book group – first meeting

goodbye-sarajevo-largeThe inaugural meeting of the Education, Children and Young People Book Group took place on the evening of 24th November. The chosen book was ‘Goodbye Sarajevo,’ an autobiographical account of two sisters’ experiences growing up in the Bosnian War of the 1990s.

A stimulating and provoking presentation on the history of Bosnia and on his personal experiences serving there with the RAF was provided by second year Education Studies student John Lewthwaite. This was followed by discussion and debate around the title, refreshments and an interactive question and answer session with remote students and staff in various locations through a live Twitter feed. You can see this if you follow @BookGroupUoN and the hashtag #bookgroupuon

FDLT students were represented at the face-to-face meeting and in the Twitter correspondence.

The next meeting will take place in S036 on 24th January at 17.30. The chosen title is ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time’ by Mark Haddon. Copies will be available from Academic Librarian Hannah Rose (hannah.rose@northampton.ac.uk) in the next few weeks and all are welcome to attend.

Tony Smith-Howell

June 15, 2014
by Jean
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Exploring World War 1 with FDLT Y2

Some students explored words - poetry or vocabulary.

Some students explored words – poetry or vocabulary.

This week we completed the PDT2008 curriculum module with an exploration of World War 1. The students used a ThingLink to follow interesting links to stories about World War 1 such as women in WW1, the role of animals, war artists, life at home, local stories, thankful villages and commemoration. You can see the ThingLink here and read more about making and using them here.

One student made a mini diorama, one explored the role of women and two others explored what 'thankful villages' were.

One student made a mini diorama, one explored the role of women and two others explored what ‘thankful villages’ were.

After exploring some of this material the students each used a matchbox as the basis for their response – they had to make a small artefact using or contained by the match box. This idea was inspired by the #moreTEA project happening in schools. You can read more about it here – moreTEA

It was interesting to see the different ideas and stories the students followed as they made their creations. You can see all of them on a Pinterest board here.

Some students explored and represented the roles of animals in war.

Some students explored and represented the roles of animals in war.board here. (I think they’re all there, but if yours isn’t please let me know!)

 

After they had finished their artefacts they were displayed with a title and maker name, and some were annotated with ideas for learning opportunities. Some students are taking the idea into their schools to try out and I’m looking forward to seeing how they develop.

Some students were inspired by the story of the pocket bears.

Some students were inspired by the story of the pocket bears.

 

 

 

 

 

Two students developed their artefacts further by choosing a piece of music to suit the mood of their work – you can see one of the videos here – Animal Mascots

Another way of developing this idea would be to use the app Pixntell to add a recorded description to go with each photo.