Animation!

This week in Digital Technologies we were learning about the art of animation. I would consider myself to be quite a crafty, creative person so for me this really got me excited and I wanted to jump right in and get started. After those initial feelings, I started to worry that maybe we wouldn’t have enough time to create an animation as 1 – I had never actually created an animation before so I didn’t know what kind of time frame it would take and 2 – I was feeling a bit wary of the resources we had available to us.

Today’s task was to create an animation of anything we wanted. This was an individual task however we were allowed to work in pairs if we wanted to and I thought that by working with another individual, in this case then two heads were better than one. Jarvis (2015, p.89) states that ”animation involves the stringing together a sequence of static images, generally so that they appear to move.” Having never strung any images together before in order for them to appear as though they were moving, I was still feeling a little apprehensive about the task.

Firstly, we began to explore the app ‘Puppet Pals’ which gave us some depth and knowledge into how an animation app works and the types of features and tools it has to allows us to create an animation that stood out and worked well. In this app we were to create a short animation based on a classic fairytale. It had to include voice recordings, movement from the characters, the characters changing size and also have a structure – a beginning, middle and an end. This short 10 minutes exploring the app put me at ease as it showed me how animation worked and the different features that could be used to create a strong animation.

Since the start of this module on digital technologies, it has left me feeling excited as a student teacher due to the amount of technology that is out there as a prospective teacher to be able to use with my future pupils. Reflecting back on my own time as a primary school aged child, there were nowhere near half the amount of fun and valuable resources that there are now in my educational journey and the thought of being able to use them while I was at school I know that not only me but my friends and peers would have had a great time using them. This simply just evidences how quickly the times move and how fast paced the development in technology has become. As suggested by Beauchamp, (2012) ICT allows pupils to ”achieve something that would be very difficult or even impossible to achieve in any other way.” Reflecting back on my first year school experience placement, I came across numerous children who all had their own individual learning style and watching them create or succeed through the use of digital technology was evidencing just how important the use of this tool is in the classroom. Furthermore, Beauchamp states that ”e-Inclusion aims to use digital technologies to minimise the problems that pupils with learning difficulties experience.” By giving all children in primary schools the same opportunities across their educational journey but in particular through access to technology, we are closing in on the gap of problems that pupils who have learning difficulties can experience.

After exploring puppet pals, my partner and I began to create our own props and scene for our own animation. We worked collaboratively and worked within our allocated time to create a short animation using small wooden characters who were school pupils, and a pink bendy character who was the class teacher. I created a backdrop by simply drawing and colouring a school classroom and by one of us recording and the other moving the characters in order for us to create a series of stills and frames, once put together they created our short animation. We added features including a clock which we moved in most frames to give the idea of time going by and changing some of the characters to represent different emotions during different parts of the scene. Once we completed our recording, we enjoyed looking back on the final piece and were really pleased with it. It is a great way for children to use their creative and cognitive skills along with their patience and persistence in order to create a piece of work that is effective, fun and created animations to a high standard. The tutorials and Moving Image Education website provided a lot of helpful hints and tips in order to produce a great animation despite it being my first time using and creating with this resource.

Having completed our animation and after watching it back, it gave me a sense of achievement as I was worried at the beginning having never made an animation before and not being sure of where it would fit into the classroom. However, after looking through the Scottish Education Experiences and Outcomes, it became a lot clearer that what we created linked to certain aspects of these, and in a classroom this type of technology would be an effective tool across many areas of the curriculum, such as:

I have the opportunity to choose and explore a range of media and technologies to create images and objects, discovering their effect and suitability for specific tasks. EXA 1-02a

I regularly select subject, purpose, format and resources to create texts of my choice. LIT 1-01a/2-01b

I enjoy exploring events and characters in stories and other texts and I use what I learn to invent my own, sharing these with others in imaginative ways. LIT 0-09b / LIT 0-31a

Animation could be used in a variety ways through a variety of areas in order to enhance pupils learning whilst supporting it at the same time. Despite my set backs at the beginning, throughout the course of creating the animation I found it to be a great task to collaborate on and a resource that I definitely would consider to be fun and educational for children across all levels at primary school. As suggested by Beauchamp (2012, p.66) ”ICT equipment is part of pupils’ everyday life, so should be part of their everyday play.” This type of technology tool would be an ideal resource to incorporate into a child’s everyday play as it encompasses a variety of skills and educational aspects that only impose positive aspects on the child.

References

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

Education Scotland (2004) – Curriculum for Excellence; Experiences and Outcomes [Online] https://education.gov.scot/scottish-education-system/policy-for-scottish-education/policy-drivers/cfe-(building-from-the-statement-appendix-incl-btc1-5)/Experiences%20and%20outcomes [First Accessed on 22 February 2018]

›Jarvis, M. (2015) Brilliant Ideas for Using ICT in the Classroom: A Very practical Guide for Teachers and Lecturers. Routledge.

 

Movie Making 13/02/2018

When I realised today we would be making our own movies, I was quite excited at the prospect and had a few ideas float around in my head of what I thought would work well. Working in a group, we were given the task to create a short movie, using the iMovie app on an iPad. The product was to be centred around the topic of ‘Internet Safety’ and be appropriate to view by primary school children which also gave a clear message to it’s audience.

Once we got our group, we came together and brainstormed, we collaborated effectively which resulted in us combining a few of our ideas together and came up with the idea to create a short film based on a popular young wizard and his friends – but with a twist. We all had various roles in the group; actor/actress, visual technician, head of wardrobe, runner and producer to name a few. The role I undertook myself was that of one of the main characters – Hairy Snotter. Miss Snotter was a young witch who was invited to a meeting place to meet with one of her friends. Little did she know that by talking to her ‘friend’ online she was actually being targeted by a stranger posing to be her friend and in fact almost landed herself in a lot of trouble. Thankfully her friend Mermione came to the rescue and advised Hairy to get rid of the imposter by casting a spell on him. Once they worked their magic on the imposter, we came out of character to inform the audience on the importance of staying safe online and advising them on where they can seek more help and information about keeping themselves safe online.

We centred our movie around cross-curricular experiences and outcomes. These touched on areas such as Health & Wellbeing, Literacy and Technology:

As I listen or watch, I can identify and discuss the purpose, main ideas and supporting detail contained within the text, and use this information for different purposes. LIT 2-04a

I listen or watch for useful or interesting information and I use this to make choices or learn new things. LIT 0-04a

To help me develop an informed view, I can distinguish fact from opinion, and I am learning to recognise when my sources try to influence me and how useful these are. LIT 2-08a

I can communicate clearly when engaging with others within and beyond my place of learning, using selected resources3 as required. LIT 1-10a

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 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

I understand that there are people I can talk to and that there are a number of ways in which I can gain access to practical and emotional support to help me and others in a range of circumstances. HWB 0-03a / HWB 1-03a / HWB 2-03a / HWB 3-03a / HWB 4-03a

Our message to the audience was clear – you cannot be too careful when using the internet. You may think you know who you are talking to and feel like you can trust the person at the other side of the screen. However, the internet can be a very dangerous place and can cause hurt and serious harm to those who choose to use it.

As a group we all had great fun creating our mini movie. There were great laughs and enjoyment throughout the time we were in character and out of character and used various props, settings and visuals to create an effective movie which would be memorable for the right reasons. When it came to using the iMovie app it was a brilliant resource that allowed us to put together snippets of video clips and stills we had created and piece them together in a way that produced a great end result. The tutorials we viewed individually prior to starting our movie were very useful as it gave us a valuable insight into the features and tools that were available to us and which gave our movie the important finishing touches.

Crating the movie was all fun and games yes, but remembering the reason why we were dong it left quite the impact on me being a mother and also a student teacher. Being an adult and being responsible for the safety of my own child and pupils now and in the future, creating a short movie reminded me of just how scary and dark the internet can be and that it can suck in the most vulnerable and trusting of children and have terrible outcomes. It is of great importance to educate our children on the importance of using the internet safely and effectively both in and out of the classroom and ensuring they are aware of what they should and should not be doing online. It is also vital to ensure children know they can seek advice and help from trusted adults such as their parents/carers or teachers regardless of how much trouble they might think they are in or if they feel they are being targeted in any way whatsoever.  As stated by Simpson and Toyn (2012), ”If we can educate children that they always have an adult they can seek support from, we can help keep children safe online”.

Using the iMovie app in today’s class certainly demonstrated and evidenced that it would also be just as an effective tool for children in the classroom as it was for me as an adult learner. The iMovie app would allow children to develop their skillset in technology and other areas of the curriculum by allowing them to work on their own project or movie as an individual or as part of a team. It can be from as simple as taking the iPad out to film a simple literacy task such as recording items they can see in the classroom or playground that begin with a certain sound or letter, to interviewing peers or members of staff in their school as part of their IDL topic or for research on a class project. iMovie can give children the opportunity to be autonomous and create something that maybe otherwise they wouldn’t be able to create through writing, talking or drawing. iMovie allows for children to show off their creative talents and witness their end result by viewing their finished product and feeling a great sense of achievement.

Beauchamp (2012) suggested that “…the most successful schools… in terms of e-safety ensured that pupils knew what to do when things went wrong”. By teaching our future generation about the safe use of the internet, we are ensuring our children and pupils are set in good stead for a future where they will be engulfed by technology, the internet and social medias. Children take chances and make mistakes. They are testing their own boundaries and their parents and teachers. However, by implementing e-safety in primary schools we are making our children and young learners know that it is important they ask for help and advice when it comes to the internet and to trust the adult they know and can see, not the person behind the keyboard.

Overall, today was a great success. I found using the iMovie app enjoyable and it is certainly a resource I will be looking to use in my own classroom in the future. I found it to be particularly effective around today’s topic and can only imagine the other types of awareness can be raised through the use of one digital technology tool in the classroom.

References

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

Scottish Government (2008) The Curriculum for Excellence [Online] Available at: http://www.education.gov.scot/Documents/all-experiences-and-outcomes.pdf [First Accessed 13 February 2018]

Simpson D., Toyn M. (2012) Primary ICT Across the Curriculum. Sage

 

 

ActivInspire Presentations 23/01/2018

Today in Digital Technologies we explored the ActivInspire software as a class and individually by viewing tutorial clips online and working in pairs to create a lesson directed for either an early, first or second level outcome. The online tutorials gave us a virtual experience allowing us to be guided through the software, by giving hints and tips on how to use the software effectively and to maximise the usage of this valuable tool in classrooms as a student teacher and as a qualified practicing teacher in the near future.

ActivInspire software allows for information that requires to be communicated to learners, become multimodal. Multimodality is the term which describes a set or forms of texts to adopt two or more semiotic systems; linguistic, visual, gestural, spatial and audio. Using digital technologies within the classroom allows for information to be communicated to learners in a variety of different, attention grabbing ways and by making texts multimodal, enhances the learners experiences in education whilst keeping in line with technology in society today.

The Scottish Government set out a strategy to implement the use of digital technologies in Scottish education for both learners and educators. The four objectives it is focusing on are:

1. Develop the skills and confidence of educators in the appropriate and effective use of digital technology to support learning and teaching.

2. Improve access to digital technology for all learners.

3. Ensure that digital technology is a central consideration in all areas of curriculum and assessment delivery.

4. Empower leaders of change to drive innovation and investment in digital technology for teaching and learning.

By using technologies in the classroom, it allows for children to be introduced and immersed in digital technologies that they may otherwise not be encompassed in at home or in other areas of their educational journeys.  It is stated by Beauchamp (2012, p.8) that ‘The multimodality of technology is another reason to use it, as it allows teachers to present ideas in a variety of different ways to help pupils understand it.’ By delivering young learners lessons involving multimodal texts it has the capability to  further enhance their understanding of lessons across curricular areas such as literacy, numeracy and science amongst others. It also allows for children and young learners to understand that ‘texts’ do not just come in printed form, but instead they come in many shapes and forms and can in fact be multimodal. Further supporting this suggestion, ‘pupils need to be equipped to view language as ‘metamode’ that enables them to access the meanings of a wide variety of texts, images, sounds and information.’ Beauchamp (2012, p.81). The use of ActivInspire today gave us the opportunity to create a lesson for a first level outcome in a Modern Foreign Language lesson.

My partner and I decided we would combine both our ideas and once we completed the online tutorial videos of how to effectively use the ActivInspire software, we proceeded on to the task and got to work on creating our multimodal lesson plan. We made various flip charts which included sound clips, images and interactivity through use of the smart board pens and various tools such as the spotlight and revealer. We created a Spanish lesson which allowed children to work in individually and with peers and allowed for the children to come up to the smart board to write down their answers and ideas.

Using the ActivInspire software excited me as it gave me an insight into a resource that is used widely across Scottish schools and gave me a quick glance into the different tools and aspects that the software has to offer. At first we found the software a great resource as it allowed us to create an extensively interactive lesson that would grab pupils attention and included all of the semiotic systems across the many Flipchart pages we made. When it came on to using different ‘wow’ factors of ActivInspire I personally really enjoyed the fact there were different attention grabbing tools that children would find exciting and would further encourage their investment and interest in the input being given. However, upon near completion of the lesson plan, when using the revealer tool we encountered an issue whereby the revealer would not stay on the Flipchart page we required and instead went onto the other pages and we could not in turn remove it off of the areas we did not need it on. This really frustrated us and put us slightly off course as we invested more time in trying to fix this issue than completing the task in the time given.

Overall, the use of ActivInspire in the two hour time slot we were given really impressed and excited me. I find it really encouraging to see that there are these resources in place for teachers to use whereby enhancing their lessons and I am very eager to use it in my own class as a student and professional educator. I will most definitely be revisiting the online tutorials and spending more time exploring the software in free time to get more familiar with it and also experiment by creating more lessons and sharing resources with peers in order to gain more knowledge and in depth experiences of the ActivInspire software.

References

Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland https://education.gov.scot/scottish-education-system/policy-for-scottish-education/policy-drivers/Digital%20Learning%20and%20Teaching%20Strategy%20for%20Scotland (First accessed on 23/01/2018)

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

Digital Technology in Scottish Education & Personal Reflection

Upon completion of my first class in Digital Technologies, it has opened my eyes wider and allowed me to discover the real potential and benefits that Digital Technologies have in the Scottish Education system. As a first year student, the thought of using technology in the classroom to me feels natural due to being surrounded by technology along with the ever-changing society we live in, thus keeping in line with modern technology that encompasses us naturally on a daily basis. I feel as being both a parent and a student undertaking a degree programme in primary eduction, contextualising every day situations for young learners is crucial in order to provide like for like examples of everyday living. This can be done throughout various areas of the curriculum including numeracy, literacy, health and wellbeing and science. The importance of using digital technologies throughout education will be explored and analysed along with evidence supporting the cause of using this autonomous learning tool throughout schools for children and young people.

Having accessed and read through the Scottish Government published document ‘Enhancing Learning and Teaching through the use of Digital Technology – A Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland’ (2016) it allowed me to gain a greater understanding on the proposals set out by our Government alongside crucial evidence which supports the basis for their strategies. The Scottish Government intends to expand the use of Digital Technologies in educational settings in order to achieve four goals:

To develop the skills and confidence of educators in the appropriate and effective use of digital technology in order to support learning and education; to improve access to digital technology to all learners; Ensure that digital technology is a central consideration in all areas of curriculum and assessment delivery and empower leaders of change to drive innovation and investment in digital technology for learning and teaching.

These strategies if met, will ultimately benefit Scotland’s children between the ages of three and eighteen. Research has been conducted in order to gain a deeper insight into what beneficiaries really think of their current educational system in regards to digital technology within their classrooms and the results of these were which intrigued and surprised me by far. A Children’s Parliament consultation which seen ninety-two children between the ages of eight and eleven take part provided researchers with an insight into how they believed technology impacted their education. It was concluded that participants stated that the use of Digital Technology makes learning more fun and they would like to see it used more (but not over-used).  They also stated that their access to Digital Technology in school was constrained due to a lack of digital equipment and their teachers being limited in skills in relation to the use of Digital Technology. Similarly, a separate consultation conducted by Young Scot which saw 250 children between the ages of eleven and twenty-five participate, gave an outcome of similar stance. They stated that teachers lacked knowledge of how to use the technological equipment they already had and also noted that the resources they do have could be unreliable and misused. However, on a positive note, they also found that Digital Technology was an important learning aid in the classroom, a good tool for revision and provided and interactive learning experience.

Furthermore to the evidence given by our own young Scottish learners, the Independent Literature Review on the impact on digital technology on learning and teaching proposes that there is potential for digital technologies to support and contribute to five educational priorities:

Raising attainment; tackling inequalities and promoting inclusion; improving transitions into employment; enhancing parental engagement and improving the efficiency of the educational system.

From the resources I had access to, to allow me to base my reflection upon it has became highly evident  to me that indeed Scottish education needs to crucially implement the proposed strategies in order to give our future generations the best chance to succeed in life. This can be done by meeting their proposed goals of raising attainment, improving employability and learners skillsets along with keeping young people and educators up to date with the technology that surrounds them in the society they are surrounded by. As a prospective teacher I am feeling very encouraged by the plans and strategies outlined in order to give pupils and teachers the best educational results for both parties and look forward to continuing my Digital Technology module by gaining new skills and ideologies that will support me in my own classroom one day.

 

References

Scottish Government (2016) A Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland.  Edinburgh: Scottish Government (Online) Available at: http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0050/0050  [Accessed: 09 January 2018]