Manipulating media for Christmas

I have been playing around with media on iPads and the internet, and combining sound, images, video and text in various ways on a Christmas theme.

One of the benefits of the iPad is its versatility when working with media. Many apps can be integrated with one another to create shareable digital products such as animations, songs, films, designs, slideshows, and ebooks. By giving children open-ended problems and creative tools to engage with, the iPad can become a real tool for thinking rather than just a collection of apps, allowing them to refine and present their ideas in a purposeful way.

Bearing this in mind, here are some ideas you might like to try on a Christmas theme.

How about creating an eCard on the iPad by customising an image using the sketch effect in BeFunky (free) and then adding a message and layout in Phoster (£1.49). This type of activity will give children a feel for how the iPad can be a dynamic art tool giving them experiences they couldn’t gain in any other way. They might also think about the poetic language of carols:



The source images for these cards came from the Flickr search tool Compfight, which helps you find Creative Commons licensed images for remixing and resusing.

Sticking with the idea of images, you could use the Comic Life app (£2.99) to create instructions for a Christmas recipe. This would be a fantastic way to document any practical classroom work. One of my GTP students had the great idea to combine images from Toca Hair Salon in Comic Life. Read more on her blog Sara’s Sources.

iPads can also make movies and combine sound and animations from other apps. How about creating a film based on a Christmas story in iMovie (£2.99) and adding your own music from Garageband (£2.99), or a stop-frame animation in I Can Animate? (Here’s a video on how to add the music). Or you could use the wonderful iMovie trailers to document preparations for Christmas. (Here’s how). Our Year 3 students at the University of Northampton made trailers on the theme of story genres:

Another advantage of the iPads is their portability, making it easier to capture learning that takes place outside the classroom. And one great way of getting out and about with technology is through QR codes, quick scannable images, like bar codes, which take you to a digital destination such as a written or spoken message, a document or a website when you hold a webcam, phone, iPad or iPod camera up to them. 

Try using Scan by QR Code City. (Here are some instructions).  Imagine how engaging it would be for your children to have the code for book trailers they made in iMovie inserted into library books, to go on a treasure hunt looking for coded clues, or to have a talking display of work in the classroom. You might try making a seasonal QR code trail based on finding the carols to spell a mystery word by encoding links to youtube videos.

Using online tools, rather than the iPad, you could continue the theme of exploring media by capturing your typical xmas day as a 5 frame story in Animoto:

Or PhotoPeach:

These two tools are so simple to use and yet produce results which children would be proud to share. Both tools also allow you to add text, opening up possibilities for creating or interpreting poems in words and pictures, or for exploring themes in other subjects.I used Compfight to find these creative commons images to make my slideshows: Magic bokeh! by kevin dooleymerryxmas by nivekhmng,The Grinch by pareeericaChristmas Tree Fruit by Lutz-R. Frank, and Happylucky by in da mood.

I hope this has given you some ideas on ways to help children create using digital media and how mobile technologies can offer rich cross-curricular learning opportunities.