Newfield Transition Days

March 19, 2010

Six of the feeder schools to Newfield  sent their year 6 classes to the CLC preparing them for transition to secondary school. Each group participated in three activities during the day:

1. A GPS walk around the school, using a GPS logger (see post about it here) to record the route they took. The pupils took photos of the school site on their journey and back at the CLC they used www.picnik.com to edit them. They added text on the images according to what they had learnt on the walk around the school. These were added to the GPS trail, and posted on the internet. We then viewed the finished trail and talked about some of the statistics, such as how far we had travelled, what altitude meant etc. For an example click here.
Initially I’d thought about the students annotating the photos in the a-trip software that comes with the GPS loggers, but this soon showed itself to be impractical, as the track would have to uploaded to every PC individually. Having them annotate in Picnik was much easier and gave me time to upload the track.

2. Ghastlies drama filming – in small groups the pupils scripted, rehearsed and then filmed a short role play about any worries they might have about moving up to secondary school, e.g being bullied, and how they might resolve these issues.

3. Friendship presentations – the pupils wrote about their friends and how their relationships might change as they move schools, using PowerPoint (we wanted to use Glogster, but this is still running slowly through our broadband provider). They added photos of themselves and their friends in the class, plus Wordles of keywords about friendship.

All the students had a great time during the day, and we received some very positive comments from staff and pupils. One pupil who admitted she had been scared about going to Newfield said she now couldn’t wait!

Updated 29/03/10

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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.