Inspirational Storytelling

Our first session of ICT in our final year began by exploring how physical objects, art and the world outdoors can be used to make storytelling fun and interactive which will keep children interested, excited and motivated (ELG PSED – Dispositions and attitudes). As a whole class we were briefed about a range of presentation tools that are available as apps and online that can support storytelling, such as: felt board, green screening and digital comic strips. Such media allows children to be creative and enhance their learning (ELG PD – Exploring Media and Materials). I loved the simple but effective idea of using everyday materials and a light-box to tell a story! Tissue paper and coloured beads were used to create an under the sea setting for a seahorse character. Children could capture their story on an ipad in video form or through the use of photographs imported into an app and a voiceover could be recorded afterwards  (ELG CD – Responding to experiences and communicating ideas).

Then it was our turn! Jenn and I worked together, using the story The Three Little Pigs as an idea to work with and adapt we considered a number of different apps that could be used to make a digital story. To help me with the planning I recorded my ideas using Popplet:

 

We agreed to try some apps that we hadn’t used before to extend our experiences using technology. I decided to use the Tellagami App to tell the story from the point of view of the farmer:

Tellagami was easy to use by choosing a character, customising them, choosing a background and then being able to record your voice to tell the story (ELG CLL – Communication, Language for Communication and Language for Thinking). Although, there were a number of disadvantages, such as: there were only two characters to choose from, limited customization of the characters, you could not import your own characters or backgrounds and recording the voice-over was limited to 30 seconds, alternatively you could type in what you want the character to say. However, it would be easy for children to use and I believe they would enjoy watching their Avatar creations.

Jenn chose the Morfo app which was also easy to use. She took a photograph of the toy pig and recorded herself telling the story from the viewpoint of this character. Below is the finished Morfo:

The advantages of using Morfo with children is that it is simple to use and you can use your own character by taking a photograph e.g. we used a toy pig which the app ‘morphed’. This app also allows you to record your voice, and also morphs your voice; advantageous for children who are shy and lack in confidence if they do now feel comfortable with the rest of the class being able to recognise their own voice.

Reflection:

For both of the apps we found that the longest clip you could record was 30 seconds which restricts the length of the story. However, there are apps available that enable flexible use of media. This could provide a great opportunity for children to work in pairs to create a short clip each and then import all of this into another app, such as iMovie, to generate a digital story that the whole class has contributed to.

Further reading that I have engaged in:

https://plus.google.com/communities/107890964604257908116 – my comments have been posted.

The chapter ‘Computing and Digital Literacy’ consolidated my understanding of the importance and benefits of using ICT effectively in a classroom. The chapter discusses the new computing curriculum and suggests its benefits: provides a stimulus as it is exciting and therefore will engage and motivate learners, it enables ideas to be linked, it can personalise learning and contribute to differentiation and capture children’s learning in a variety of ways which in turn enabled them to self-reflect.

Caldwell, H. and Honeyford, G. (2014) Computing and Digital Literacy. In: Dawes, L. and Smith, P. (ed.) Subject Teaching in Primary Education. London: Sage. Pp.43-64.

This post has demonstrated the following Teacher’s Standards:

TS8 – working in collaboration with a colleague/developing effective professional relationships and enhancing my own skills and knowledge to improve my teaching.

Reflections on ‘Animated Story’ Applications

Firstly, we used iMovie to create a trailer for The Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl. Our first impression of this application was ‘It looks amazing!’ There are a choice of templates for trailers, catchy music and a variety of landscapes. However, we soon found that it was quite limiting with regards to being able to only use basic photo’s to create short video that could not be edited; for example, we wanted to fade pictures in/out and rotate them but this was not possible. Also, you had to use the music provided – you could not import your own.

Having finished this in our first lesson and having one more to go, we were keen to try out another application to make an animated story. We were much more impressed with PuppetPals.

To hear further details about our experience using these applications, please watch our short presentation:

All of the groups in our class presented their work which allowed us all to see what other media was capable of. It was good practice to ask peers for feedback as this is a good approach to use with children in the classroom – ask them to think of 2 stars and a wish.

Overall, our animated story was enjoyed by the class. The ‘wish’ was related to iMovie; the text was too small, and unfortunately cannot be altered in this application.

Manipulating Media

This taught session opened my eyes to a whole new range of media suitable for use with children. It is important to have a range of technology for children to access within their classroom for them explore and develop their skills. They can take pictures of their work  using cameras and iPads, the children can  be recorded telling you something that they have learnt which consolidates their learning, they can take ownership of creating electronic work or recording themselves working – this provides better evidence of learning compared to written or photographic, especially for EYFS children.

  • Purple Mash – Mashcam. This allows children to put themselves in the role of a different character using a webcam or photograph, great for topic work!

This is aimed at children in the FS and KS1 to enable them to make talking stories. It allows you to combine words, pictures that can spin, rock, explode and more, sounds via the using the built-in keyboard, sound banks or a  microphone and animation in a storybook format which will support Literacy and ICT skills.  Click here to see a short demonstration!

    • iMovie
    • Pinterest which has many apps suitable for EYFS, such as: I can animate
    • Videoscribe
    • Puppetpals

  • Explain everything
  • Strip designer – creates comic strips
  • 2DIY
  • Story Jumper/Story Bird

I worked alongside my peers, Jenn and Rachael, to create a trailer for The Enormous Crocodile book. We chose this software as we were very impressed by first impressions; there were a good choice of templates to create the trailer which included catch music and various landscapes.

However….

When we began to create the trailer we felt the options were in fact quite limited. We could only add basic photo’s and short videos which could not even be edited e.g. we wanted to fade pictures in/out and spin them around to add effect but none of this was achievable. We could not add our own music either.

Another problem we encountered was that we had to complete our work in that session, or start again next week. This was due to the iPads being used by other classes and potentially having our work deleted. If it was a personal iPad we would have been fine but in this instance we had to rush to finish it.

Anyway, we plan to experiment with other options next session, but for now… here is the finished article:

I came across Dvolver MovieMaker which enables students to create their own short animated films by choosing characters, adding dialogue and music. It’s very easy to use so children can get results without being taught how to use the programme; it could be left for children to explore by themselves. Here is a short movie that took me about 10minutes to pull together – and I had no experience using Dvolver MovieMaker:

You just follow some simple steps, selecting a background, plot, characters, giving the characters some lines and choosing background music:


Although dVolver was easy to use it does look like something from the 90’s; not very appealing in my eyes. I will certainly be exploring alternative movie makers!

Animation… Impressive!

Learning about Stop frame Animation in university was really inspiring and I can say I will definitely use this with children. Creating animations can provide a fantastic opportunity for children to work together and produce some very impressive work.

Children can create settings, characters and other props using plasticine, clay or toys.  Depending on age and ability they may  be able to write the script.  The skills children will develop include problem solving, communication and subject specific skills.

My first attempt at creating an animation, using MonkeyJam, didnt go to plan as we recorded over the layers we needed, but at least we learnt from our mistake. And as we didn’t have time to record another in the class I borrowed a camera to take home, installed MonkeyJam on my laptop, and attempted another animation. The pirates are having a sword fight until the croc comes and scares them away. I added Pirates of the Caribbean theme tune for effect:

This animated movie was really easy to create. All you need in addition to a PC/Laptop is a web cam and scene setters and characters. You will also need stop-frame software, I used MonkeyJam which is free to download, and I also used Windows Movie Maker to enhance the movie but this is not essential.

Stop frame animation is soooooo much fun and suitable for all ages and abilities and children can work together to assign different members of their group to do different things based on their strengths. Children could also keep a video/image diary of how the animation is formed from start to finish; this gives them opportunity to reflect on what they have done and what they are going to do next. This could also be very useful for assessment purposes.

A Child’s View on Stop Frame Animation

I asked my 8 year old son if he has produced stop frame animation in school, he said he has and told me how much he loved it; he was also very excited when I said I could download the software onto my laptop so we could try it out at home! Off he went to route through his toys, shouting ideas to me about what he could do!

I like Ed Rudge’s idea; he mixed children from different year groups to work together in producing a stop frame animation, see his blog for further details:

http://edrudge90.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/stop-motion-animation-in-classroom.html

To create Stop Frame Animation all you need is a digital camera and animation software, such as MonkeyJam which is free to download:
http://monkeyjam.en.softonic.com/

Here’s a lovely example of stop frame animation created by primary school children who must have been learning about a sustainable environment. It was produced by a colloboration of KS2 pupils:

Tateshots ‘This Exquisite Forest’ was exceptionally inspiring. It’s a global piece of work where people have connected via the internet and have created short animations that grew from each other’s contributions: “a collaborative animation plarform”.

I gained many ideas from these ‘Browsing and Reading’ suggestions. Animations can be created by children in small groups, as a whole class, in groups by mixing different ages from around the school or even as a whole school collaboration. Taking the idea from ‘This Exquisite Forest’ this could even be extended on a wider scale – involving schools from across the county, country or even the world! I’m really excited by this idea and I think children would love it too!

I searched for school collaborative animation projects and found Rotoball which is intended for highschool students but could be adapted for primary children, it’s the idea I liked! There are some simple rules each contribution must follow, it looks fab!

 Personal Reflection on Animation:

Until today I had never used animation equipment before and was amazed at how user friendly it was. Animations are so versatile they could compliment almost any topic or project within the classroom offering a great opportunity for children to work collaboratively to create something amazing. I also love the idea of working with schools that are geographically distant, this is something I will definately consider when I’m a teacher!