Saturday, 5 November 2011

Don't Panic...

The above words should be written in large calming letters on all media equipment in the classroom!
Check out this blog for ideas and advice.

It'll make things easier...

Peer to Peer teaching in ICT - Stop Motion Animation

As part of a creative Partnership residency in Derby, we ran a whole school digital storytelling week.  Working in teams pupils wrote storyboard scripts and created mini sets in cardboard boxes!  Each team set-up a digital camera on a tripod and took pictures of action figures/small toys moving around the set. Y4,5,6 helped Y1, 2 and Y3s take pictures. Even Foundation Stage got in on the act! The media specialist students (they had been trained in using ICT creatively by me) were on had to offer advice to teachers and help other pupils!

A great example of year groups working together and sharing skills across the school.

Top Tips;
1. Use a tripod and keep the camera still when taking photos
2. Set you picture quality to no more than 2mega pixels
3. Keep take your Set as still as you can!
4. Taking 50 pictures means 25 seconds of animation
5. You can view your animation in camera
6.You can add titles, music and a narration using editing software. Check out my adding a narration tutorial.
7. If your using the XP version of MovieMaker, in menu- options/advanced - change image duration to 0.5 seconds. Trust me its make thing easier in the long run!
8. Have a play using pine cones/leaves/twigs/ get your animation movements right - you can make them to dance!
9.You can download free music here
10. Make sure you have plenty of light, open curtain/blinds, turn the classroom lights on, point your Set at the window - use your camera flash if you need to.
11. If you have a webcam- stop motion animation is easy! You can save your picture directly to your computer using great free software like Philipp Brendel's Frame by Frame.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Anatomy of a Film Project Part 2 - The Story Maker

Story Maker Flow Chart
The Story Maker Flow chart is proving a success! Its designed to help pupils get started and develop their story ideas.
 It is NOT designed to write stories for you. Its for kids with no Ideas.

I mean, common kids! - by the time you are 8 years old you will have seen hundreds of hours of creative content, read books, played games, traveled, experienced life etc. you will have amassed a vast array story making matter which will be floating around in your head.
This flowchart is meant to help you organise free-floating ideas into a narrative that you can turn into a short film, a short story, a book, a multimedia presentation a game, the list is endless! 

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Anatomy of a Film Project Part 1

Just started a series of After School workshops working in Primary schools.

To help children to develop stories quickly, they are using my patented 'Story Making Machine'"

A tool that quickly shows kids how to devise characters, plot, scenarios and endings!

They can use the narratives they have created for writing, filmmaking or creating plays - watch this space for more info!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Free Music, Free Downloads

Do you need music for your movies?

I've composed music for all occassions.

From upbeat melodies to mellow tempo beats. Pop, Rock, Country & Western, funk, Soul Rap and Classical soundtracks .

Its all here you can download as much as you like.
Check out mpfree or freetunes!

Monday, 15 August 2011

Making Maths Fun Part 1

Median average worked out with the whole class.
Here is lessons learned from my work with KS3 Maths students. 

Along with the Maths teacher, I worked with Y7 students to create a series of short films that explored 'Averages'.

Every pupil got involved in presenting a highly visual demonstration of averages! 

The Median, Range, Mode and Mean were all demonstrated by the students. 

Students understanding of Averages  had increased.

Text and graphics added to clarify the results.  

The films created were shown to the rest of the school.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Barnsley Young Apprentice Summer School

Students Rehearsing
Students from Barnsley have completed a Performing Arts and Media Summer School at Sheffield Hallam University.

Key Stage 5 students created showreels and a pop video during professional media training workshops.

The Summer school was all about getting a real world taste of what its like to work in the cultural industries. 

Students; grew in confidence; led their own learning and development; received professional training and improved their readiness for the job market. This was a Barnsley Young Apprenticeship Programme. Maxine Greaves, Equality and Community Engagement Manager at Sheffield Hallam University, hosted the Summer School.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Stories of Chat Moss, Irlam, Salford

The madman of Chat Moss
A Y6 class create films based on the oral histories of people who had lived and worked on Chat Moss, a large area of peat bog on the outskirts of Manchester.

Over 5 days, pupils created a series of films using recorded voices, archive photos, poetry, drama and dance. The films featured bog monsters, scooter riders, rat-catchers and Michael Jackson cameo!

These creative media sessions was part of the 'Stories of Chat Moss Project' funded by Salford Museum.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Creative Partnerships Residency, Derby

A Ghost from a haunted school film 
I've completed an exciting year long Primary school residency, turning pupils and teachers into creative media specialists!

The 'Media Moguls' pupil group cascaded their skills to other pupils and teachers too! After they became confident at podcasting, digital imaging, and using ICT equipment, they  created written user guides and videos.

We worked together on two whole school creative media projects, one involved storytelling using stop motion animation and digital imaging manipulation Alice in Wonderland theme.

A Media Mogul!
I also delivered one to one training with teachers, and worked alongside teacher staff in classrooms. Part of the residency also involved me hosting CPD sessions during INSET days.

Both staff and pupils grew in confidence across a wide range of media, raised achievement and helped to develop a creative curriculum. 

Friday, 1 July 2011

Adding a Narration in Windows Movie Maker XP

1. Plug in your microphone and check that your sound card is working (your system should prompt you)

2. Open Windows MovieMaker

3. Click on the 'Tools' Menu , then 'Narrate timeline'.

4. Check 'Front Microphone' from the Microphone drop down menu

5. Click 'Start Narration' and speak into your microphone.

6. When finished click 'Stop Narration'.

7. Press the play button to listen to your narration 

Check out Adding A Narration to Your Movie for more help.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Free Software - GIMP

GIMP, meaning 'GNU Image Manipulation Program' is free digital imaging software that's a lot like Adobe Photoshop.

You can do all the basic stuff like image cropping, resizing, brighten/darken, changing exposure, saturate desaturate, adding text etc.

However, its the filters and the layering system that allows you to really go to town on your digital photos!

I've done a brief video tutorial on how to use layers in GIMP to replace backgrounds here.

Its free to download from the GIMP website

Monday, 13 June 2011

Creative Partnerships Residency, Halifax

Can you be creative in teaching Maths? Yes you can!
Y7, Y8 and Y9 pupils and their Maths teacher were transformed into media makers at a secondary school in Halifax. I helped them 'become' numbers - 'become' maths, as they solved problems through filmmaking and role play!
Pupils learning was transformed, they increased their understanding of probability, averages and improper equations.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

From Primary to University!

Sheffield Hallam University

I've just completed a project that used a creative approach to encouraging Primary school pupils to consider going to University!

I involved a class of Y6 pupils from Barnsley in role-play games and video making aimed at exploring thoughts and feelings  about being in the grown-up space of a big City University.

Pupils created designs for their perfect classroom and had chance to edit some of the video they had shot. A fun time was had by pupils and teachers. They all received a DVD memento of their experience. Maxine Greaves, Equality and Community Engagement Manager at Sheffield Hallam University hosted the event.

Friday, 20 May 2011

An Easy Stop Motion Animation Project

Equipment Needed: Digital Camera, Small Tripod, Table, Set or Backdrop, Characters, Editing Software

1. Before you start, press the menu button on your camera and set your picture quality to 2 mega pixels

2. Place you camera on a tripod in front of your Set or backdrop (make sure the maximum amount of light is falling onto your Set.

3. Decide what the physical movements you want for your characters and take a picture. 
IMPORTANT: Keep your camera and tripod still during picture taking. Get someone to hold the base legs of the tripod.

4. Take 50 pictures for 25 seconds of action

5. Open your software and copy your pictures to your computers hard drive.

6. Open your editing software and import your pictures

7. Ensure that you set your still image options to 0.5 seconds (In Windows moviemaker XP  'Options', 'Advanced' 'Picture Duration  In iMovie 09 - 'Project properties', 'Timing' 'Photo Duration'.

8. Place your pictures in numerical order on the timeline

9. Play your animation on the timeline

10. Checkout the 'Adding a Narration' post to add a dialogue soundtrack to your animation.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Free Software - Scratch

The interface is in 3 sections; Instruction library broken into
categories, the programming environment where ou can choose
your animation graphics, and the Stage wher you buil  
Created by those cleaver cats at MIT Education, SCRATCH is a powerful piece of software that makes programming as easy as stacking LEGO bricks! 

You connect colourful jigsaw like 'instruction' pieces together to create a 'programming script' the 'script' controls and animates graphics of animals, humans, objects and fantasy creatures. You can add text, speech bubbles, music, sound effects and even record your own voice!  

Recommended for Y4 upwards, and a challenge for learners at all levels 

Great for 'control' and fulfils much of the ICT, English, Maths, and any other subject you want to throw into the mix. 

lessons exploring the interface then you can create an dancing animations, interactive games, rainbow music machines!

It has a library of graphics for you to use or you can design your own.

community leaves the 'code' so you can replicate whta they have created

Thes best thinkg is its free! Find out more about SCRATCH and try it out

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Eco Filmmaking Workshops!

The King of Beans
This  month I completed a film project with two Sheffield Primary schools and an Environmental scientist from Sheffield University!

The Y6 children devised, scripted and shot several films, using a mixture of animation and live action in a green-screen studio.

The films were imaginative, funny and an informative way to discuss how we can protect the Earth's delicate eco system. 

This project was supported by Art in the Park.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Creative ICT in Early Years, Leeds

It's not all about the 'tweens', using new technologies creatively with toddlers develops the thinking and language skills of little ones.

This month, I completed a creative ICT residency in two Early Years settings in Leeds. 

Toy loudspeaker phone
The project drew heavily on the Reggio Emilia approach of imaginative child led open-ended play that leads to deeper learning for young minds.

Using toy loudspeakers, FLIP video cameras, easi-speak mics, cardboard, fabric scraps and tiny LED lights, we transformed indoor and outdoor spaces into magical places.

This exciting opportunity to use ICT in an unpredictable and experimental way was supported by ARTFORMS Leeds.