Talbot students learn about life during WW2

November 20, 2009

A year 7 class at Talbot Special School came to the CLC to create a film about life during World War 2 as part of a unit of work on the topic. The students learnt all about air raids, how families built Anderson shelters in their gardens, rationing, wartime songs and poems. They built fantastic sets for an animation, and recorded songs and poems to include in the film, using the green screen to add suitable photos as a backdrop. The project really brought the topic to life, and helped the students understand how life may have been back then. What particularly impressed me was how well the class worked as a team on the animation, taking it in turns to take the pictures, direct and move the characters, and always supporting their less able peers. You can see an extract of the film below:

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National Education Network Website

November 20, 2009

The Natonal Education Network (NEN)  is the UK collaborative network for education, providing schools with a safe, secure and reliable learning environment and direct access to a growing range of online services and content.

Their website is well thought out and it is simple to find the information you are looking for. It provides links to a large number of web-based resources for all subject areas from KS1-KS4+, plus resources on E-Safety. In addition it links to the websites of all the regional NEN providers, for example the Yorkshire and Humber Grid for Learning (YHGfL) which provides the broadband connection for schools in our area. Each regional provider has their own bank of resources which are well worth investigating.


Autumn Animations

November 10, 2009

We had pupils from Heritage Park and Sevenhills Schools in for a number of sessions last half term creating some animations.

Heritage Park students animated the story of Perseus and Medusa – first reducing the tale to a manageable number of scenes and creating some fantastic figures out of plasticine. Once they had animated the story in I Can Animate, they edited in Windows Movie Maker, adding a voiceover and titles to help understanding. You can see their finished film below:

The group of year 11 students from Sevenhills had an equally difficult task as they had to come up with their own stories to animate. All of them were influenced by films, TV programmes and computer games for their topics, and found that creating the characters and developing a story was the hardest part of the process. You can see a couple of examples of their films below:


GPS tracker: i-gotU

November 5, 2009

This GPS tracker has been written about before by my counterpart at East CLC (see his post here), but I thought I’d add my own opinion too.

Essentially the tracker logs your position every 6 seconds and creates a track on Google Maps when you return and plug it into the computer.

Any photos taken on the trip can also be uploaded, added to the map and annotated – in order for these to be placed correctly, the time on the camera needs to match the time on the computer (ensure in winter that the Daylight Saving Time box isn’t checked in the software when you load the trip data). The map can then be shared on the www.a-trip.com website – either as a private trip or made public. You can see an example of mine here, which involved a walk around Chatsworth House to look at the latest Beyond Limits sculpture exhibition. As you can see the route isn’t always 100% accurate (I’m pretty sure I can’t walk on water), but considering the device was in my pocket for tha majority of the time, it did an excellent job.

Positives:

  • It’s really small, as you can see from the photo above.
  • It is simple to use, with a single button and some LED lights.
  • The software to create the map and add photos is easy to use too (see exceptions below).
  • It is retailing at £49.99 at the moment, and so is affordable for schools. (See the website for more information on where to buy.)

Negatives:

  • Sometimes it’s hard to work out if it’s waiting for satellite data or just not turned on, as you rely on the combinations of LED lights.
  • The software is great when it works, but there have been some glitches on certain computers – and it’s not clear why that is happening.
  • You sometimes need to drag the photos to the correct spot on the map, even when the time onthe camera is set properly.

In all though, the device is great, so much simpler and more reliable to use than previous devices we’ve looked at, and it seems to have some obvious educational applications, in particular documenting field trips.

One of our partnership schools, Mundella Primary, borrowed the tracker for their year 6 field trip to Eyam. Dave Shaw, the teacher who led the project, said:

“The GPS tracker was useful for the children to help recap on everything we did and saw. The photos linked to the GPS especially helped their memories. They were also able to see the ‘bigger’ picture by using the maps to look at the landscape and its uses. […] It brought the project alive!!”

We are also planning on using the tracker for a transition project at Newfield School, with year 6 pupils from their feeder schools taking a tour around the school grounds, then adding photos and descriptions of what happens at different sites.