Session 4: Curriculum Applications

This session touched on using interactivity through ICT across the curriculum, and I got the opportunity to either create another animation, Smart Board activity,  or use one of the three websites that we got introduced to at the beginning of the lesson. The websites we explored were Storybird, StoryJumper and Animoto.

Storybird & StoryJumper are, you guessed it, story-based websites; on these websites you can create your own electronic picture books – now beginning to be called flickbooks. Storybird has a simpler system, where you can choose from sets and ‘unlock the story’ by typing captions next to, above or underneath a picture which you place on each page. StoryJumper is a lot more interactive, and you can edit the images in the book, and even place your own face on one of the pages – so you can really ‘get lost in a book’ – hehehehe, pun intended.

When first introduced to Storyjumper what I was most excited about was MAKING A TREASURE MAP. I was overwhelmed with anticipation, even before I found out I could be a real life pirate! YEEEEAAAAHHH!

Here is a sample of work Fabi and myself made on on StoryJumper. The story is called The Greedy Cap’n and His Mates:

Read it here

Was great fun making this book. Except I never got round to finishing it. This website would be brilliant to use in classrooms in Literacy, as it provides children the opportunity to actually make their own books thus using their creativity to its full!

I had a browse on Storybird, and I liked the interface. It’s the same concept as Storyjumper, but there are templates for the authors to create their stories. The user can select a set of pictures and make a story out of it. It’s a lot less customisable than StoryJumper, however, which, for me, gives it a lower mark out of 10!

The one website I personally had an aversion to was Animoto. Admittedly, it’s design and simplicity is impressive, but overall, I really dislike it. That’s coming from someone who is very much a techno geek and could do that kind of thing myself in about 30 seconds. Not blowing my own trumpet, but have had a lot of practice prior to Uni!

Of course, for those teachers who don’t particularly get along with video making software, or trying to make a more classy slideshow, this website is perfect. It could be used across the curriculum in so many different areas – but that goes for most visuals in general. Similarly, the website is simple enough for all children to have a play around with so would be useful as a tool to aid learning.

There’s always the issue of differentiation that needs to be taken in account in all areas of the curriculum, however, so it’s important to bare that in mind for lessons which involve activities like this. StoryBird and StoryJumper are great for creating stories, but it’s important to make sure that there is always a teacher or TA available to help all children with spelling or grammar – not just those of a lower ability.

I think StoryBird is a great example to use with less able children as, straight away, the children get a model to write a story round. Some children really struggle with creativity when they have nothing to inspire them, but StoryBird provides a stimulus for creating a fantastic story! I would recommend you use it more in Key Stage 1, though, as it could be more helpful to introduce creative writing, rather than building on those skills.

StoryJumper is best for Key Stage 2, in my opinion. Again, templates for inspiring a fantastic piece of creative writing, but this time it is more customisable and gives children more freedom. Here, higher ability pupils can have that little extra challenge to create something fantastic and play around with the customisable interface of StoryJumper to make something personal and of great quality!

There are so many possibilities you could use these two websites for, and similarly Animoto could be potentially a great way to introduce children to making a presentation. It’s very easy to use, which is great for children in Key Stage 1 and 2, but I would recommend it more for Key Stage 2. It could be used, for example, in a History Topic, where children are asked to do some research then report back on findings of a particular age.

Considering the importance of ICT being used across the curriculum, it would be useful to start researching for resources on the web to be used in lessons. There are ways to enhance learning in all areas using just websites on the internet. I’ve got a whole Pinterest board on them!

Browsing Susan Brooke-Young’s blog made me think about how I could use my skills in ICT in all lessons. Obviously, video is great for visual learners, and so are infographics (edit: these are looked at in the next session) and ‘photo stories’ – which we kind of looked at today.

I will continue researching and building on my ICT resources and will report back in later blogs!

Laters

Jaz~