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

 

 

Programmable Toys (16/01/2018)

Today in our second class of Digital Technology we were introduced to the concept of programmable toys, with the main focus in particular on Bee-Bot. I had prior experience of using this programmable toy as we had previously undertaken a lesson in Semester 1, which introduced us to the unit, gave us an understanding on how it works, areas in the curriculum in which we can utilise it whilst interlinking Curriculum E’s and O’s across the three early level/primary school levels – early, first and second. My first experience using Bee-Bot I thoroughly enjoyed, as it gave me my first proper experience of getting hands on with this type of programmable toy and made me feel excited at the prospect of using it in the classroom with pupils. We had created a game which focused on literacy outcomes, whereas today we focused on numeracy and chose a first level outcome in which as a group we to structured an activity around.

As suggested by Janka (2008, P.2), ‘The curriculum introduces programmable toys as a good example for developing knowledge and understanding of the contemporary world”. Being able to integrate technology into the classroom I feel is important as it provides young learners with having experiences of technologies that surround them consistently. Furthermore, the National Centre for Technology in Education (2012, p1) states that the use of floor robots impose a variety of benefits on young learners. These benefits include: Developing skills such as logical sequencing, measuring, comparing lengths, space orientation and expressing concepts in words; encouraging group interaction, collaboration and conversation swell as providing a vehicle for the introduction of key concepts to young learners in an easy and friendly way.

The first level outcome which we used as a framework for our Bee-Bot activity was MTH 1-17a; ‘I can describe, follow and record routes and journeys using signs, words and angles associated with direction and turning’. We chose to base the theme of our activity on worldwide flags and famous landmarks, with direction and navigation being the prominent focus. We created brightly coloured images on the activity mat along with a set of questions that gave instructions to the participants. Bee-Bot required to be programmed to reach the specific destination along with a set of directions for each question tone recorded by those pupils in participation.

Overall, I felt we produced a brilliant resource which could easily be adapted to allow early and second level pupils to also use this is a learning aid. The use of the Bee-Bot today highlighted the importance of making activities intriguing and fun whilst eliminating the potential of repetition. Bee-Bot is a format of digital technology that if I am able to have access to, I will certainly endeavour to use in my future career as a rimy educator. I feel that it is an exciting and autonomous piece of equipment which brings children together in their educational journey to work as part of a team and also promotes their creativeness if they wanted to produce their own game or resource for the floor bot and also develops their problem solving and critical thinking skills. I look forward to seeing what next week brings in Digital Technology as I felt today’s lesson and activity was of great benefit to me as a prospective teacher.