Seven Hills Canal Boat Adventure

May 26, 2010

A small group of key stage 3 pupils from Seven Hills School spent the day on a canal boat on the Sheffield canal before Easter. They travelled on the Ethel Trust Community Barge, which is a registered charity providing boating trips to community groups. The barge is fully equipped to take disabled passengers in wheelchairs, and is crewed by volunteers.

During the trip the staff took photos and shot video footage which we have used at the CLC to help recreate the journey. The class has spent 3 mornings at the CLC filming in front of the green screen, re-enacting parts of their day, including feeding the ducks, making and eating lunch, waving at passers-by and opening the locks.

The students really enjoyed their time at the CLC and the filming helped them to remember the experiences on their trip.

Enter the Robots

May 20, 2010

We have just had delivery of our new “teaching aids” – four sets of the Lego Mindstorms Nxt 2.0.

The idea is to invite primary and secondary classes to the CLC to build and program the robots, which fits in particular with the control aspects of the curriculum. The robots come with a number of sensors, from colour to gyroscopic sensors, and the students will program them to react to their surroundings.

We were initially drawn in by the Renewable Energy Add-on set, complete with wind turbine and solar panels, to use in our soon to be completed ourdoor play area. Sadly this isn’t available until later in the year.

If you are one of our partnership schools and interested in trying out the Mindstorms kits, please let us know.

Here is a stop-motion animation of one of the robots being built – thanks to Andrew, our technician, for the construction and animation work!

Hockney-inspired Self Portraits

May 11, 2010

Bents Green Secondary Community Special School year 9 art classes have been spending Friday afternoons at the CLC to work on David Hockney-inspired portraits. The pupils have been looking at Hockney’s photo collages (examples here), in particular those of his mother. They then came to the CLC to create their own versions using photographs of themselves.

As a starter activity they used the fantastic Hockneyizer tool at Big Huge Labs to create automated collages of famous people. You upload a single image and the tool turns it into a Polaroid collage – you can see an example of the CLC on the right.

The students then took photographs of each other and uploaded them to the computers. To create their collages we initially used Photoshop Elements to edit the photos, add frames and arrange them, but this was quite tricky to do.

With later groups I directed them to Picnik, a very simple free online editing website. Here they could crop their images to focus on a particular feature, add frames, effects and change the colours if they wished. They then added all the edited images to PowerPoint, to arrange them for the final picture. I suggested PowerPoint as it is very easy to manipulate images on a slide, and the whole project is one that can be repeated back at school without the need for expensive software or expert knowledge.