Digital Technologies Week 6 – Movie Making

Prior to this input I had never used movie making software. I was surprised both by how simple it was to use the iMovie app on the iPad, and by the versatility presented by the medium.

I would have never thought to link movie making to online safety before this input. Personally, I grew up in a time where it felt as though the adults around me were quite militant about not speaking to anybody online. It was accepted as something inherently dangerous and in my own group of friends it led to hiding online activities so that we were allowed the freedom to socialise online.

For this activity, my partner and I created a cautionary tale about a princess who speaks to someone online who is not who they appear to be when she goes to meet them. We had fun creating our film and it struck me while creating the movie that it would be a good way to introduce the subject of online safety with an element of levity. Getting students to create a film like this could incorporate a number of Technology Outcomes within the Curriculum for Excellence across stages:

  • I can explore and experiment with digital technologies and can use what I learn to support and enhance my learning in different contexts. TCH 1-01a
  • I can extend and enhance my knowledge of digital technologies to collect, analyse ideas, relevant information and organise these in an appropriate way. TCH 2-01a
  • I can extend my knowledge of how to use digital technology to communicate with others and I am aware of ways to keep safe and secure. TCH 1-03a
  • I can explore online communities demonstrating an understanding of responsible digital behaviour and I’m aware of how to keep myself safe and secure. TCH 2-03a

Porter (2004, p.35) states that “the digital environment provides a unique opportunity to empower people of all ages to manipulate, combine and distribute their self-expressions as living stories that can be sent into the world and through time.” In addition to this, the Scottish Government (2015) states that “there is conclusive evidence that digital equipment, tools and resources can, where effectively used, raise the speed and depth of learning in science and mathematics for primary and secondary learners.” After telling a story through the medium of film using the iMovie app, I am convinced of the usefulness of movie-making in the classroom as a way to enhance literacy and wellbeing lessons while also developing practical skills in Technologies which are valuable to the next generation.

An activity like this would be a useful way to start a conversation about how children should immediately tell an adult if anything is making them uncomfortable online. Beauchamp (2012, p.60) states that “the schools most successful in online safety were those who informed students on what to do if things went wrong.” If talking about the risks surrounding social networking is normalised in the classroom, I believe students in the classroom will be more likely to inform an adult and seek help – rather than assuming they will be given into trouble, like my peers and I when social networking was in its infancy.

 

References

Beauchamp, G. (2012). ICT in the Primary Classroom: From Pedagogy to Practice. Pearson.

Porter, B. (2004). Digi Tales: The Art of Telling Digital Stories. Bernajean Porter Publication.

Scottish Executive (2004). Curriculum for Excellence. Edinburgh: Scottish Executive.

Scottish Government (2015). Literature Review on the Impact of Digital Technology on Learning and Teaching.  [Online] http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/24843/1/00489224.pdf [Accessed: 01.04.18]

Digital Technologies Week 5 – eBooks

The Oxford English Dictionary defines an eBook as “an electronic version of a printed book which can be read on a computer or a specifically designed handheld device.” Today in Digital Technologies we designed our own eBooks and examined how they could be useful in the classroom.

First of all, we were given a task in groups to create a brochure for UWS with prospective students in mind. We used the Book Creator app on an iPad. To make the University seem appealing to new applicants, we fully utilised the features of the app.  It was very easy to customise the book by selecting appropriate colours and fonts for our purpose. It was also simple to insert videos and images taken or saved on the iPad. In less than half an hour we had managed to familiarise ourselves with the app and create an effective multimodal text which made use of a number of semiotic systems through the inclusion of text, sound and video. Another group took a look at our UWS brochure and said that it was engaging and attractive. This made clear to me how useful it could be in the classroom to be able to create a small eBook in such a short space of time.

With this experience of the book creator app, we were then tasked with creating either a summary of a well-known book or a small eBook to help someone engage with the book. I chose “Matilda” by Roald Dahl. As it is such a long book, I chose to create a short close reading exercise for Key Stage 2 which would encourage reflection on personal relationships. The eBook asks questions about where Matilda likes to spend time and how that relates to the way the people around her treat her. It then goes on to ask for a comparison of how Miss Honey treats her and how her parents treat her, which is an activity which links to LIT 2-14a: “I can make notes, organise them under suitable headings and use them to understand information, develop my thinking, explore problems and create new texts, using my own words as appropriate.” (Scottish Executive, 2004). The last page of the eBook asks for reflection on how different people in their life make them feel through their actions, and how they can affect the feelings of others with their own actions. This links a literacy lesson to Health and Wellbeing outcome HWB 2-05a (“I know that friendship, caring, sharing, fairness, equality and love are important in building positive relationships. As I develop and value relationships, I care and show respect for myself and others.” (Scottish Executive, 2004).).  These exercises were not simply written down on paper. I believe that being able to use an iPad to flick through the exercise makes it more effective for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was multimodal as I used a number of Quentin Blake’s illustrations from relevant parts of the book to help prompt the answers to close reading questions that I both wrote in text on the page and inserted as voice clips. As we know, multimodal texts encourage accessibility in the classroom and are a useful way to close a gap in higher order thinking for individuals who may find it more difficult to follow along with reading text. Beauchamp (2012, p.88) further suggests that children who are reading from tablets in the house will be more inclined to use the same mobile devices in their learning than they may be, perhaps, to use physical books.

For myself as a prospective teacher, this was an interesting tool to learn to use. I did not realise how quickly an eBook could be created or that they could include video or voice clips – it was my own misconception that eBooks were simply novels in digital form. It is particularly relevant to me as a budding teacher in Scotland as our Digital Teaching and Learning Strategy specifically aims to develop the skills of our educators (Scottish Government, 2016). While I consider myself relatively competent and experienced with using computers the creation of eBooks for a purpose like this had never occurred to me as a way to embed technology in the classroom. An eBook like this can be created quickly, edited easily for different levels and distributed to students efficiently using Apple AirDrop – as long as iPads are available in the classroom. While this may seem like an unrealistic expectation in the classroom, tablets are getting cheaper all the time and there is motivation in particular by Education Scotland to ensure there are handheld devices available in school to enhance learning (BBC, 2012).

By the time I am a fully qualified teacher, if handheld devices are as widely available as this, I think that the ability to quickly create an eBook will be a useful skill to have.

References

BBC (2012). Education Scotland looks to expand use of tablets in schools. BBC News. [Online] 16 May. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-18081005 [Accessed: 9 February 2018].

Beauchamp, G. (2012). ICT in the Primary School: From Pedagogy to Practice. Harlow: Pearson. p.88.

Scottish Executive (2004) Curriculum for Excellence.  Edinburgh: Scottish Executive.

Scottish Government (2016) Enhancing Teaching and Learning through the use of Digital Technology: A Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland. [Online] Available: https://beta.gov.scot/publications/enhancing-learning-teaching-through-use-digital-technology/ [Accessed: 8 January 2017].