I watched this video (YouTube) on David Muirs blog and I thought it was a fantastic and creative idea making great use of stop frame animation.
As David says:
‘Now it may be that you are intimidated rather than inspired by videos like this as videos this complex may be beyond the resources of most schools. However, I am sure that pupils can come up with ideas that are just as creative.’
Ken Robinsons 2010 TED talk is now available on the TED Website. As always Sir Ken uses great humor to deliver a very serious point and some important key messages. I have embedded the movie below that is definitely worth 17 minutes of your time and probably 34 minutes (as you will want to watch it twice!).
The messages that I took from the talk were:
“We are currently suffering a crisis in human resources”
“Many children endure rather than enjoy education”
“Human resources are like natural resources – you have to dig deep”
“Every education system in the world is under reform, but reform is not good enough. Reform suggests fixing and actually many education systems need to be completely revolutionizes”
“The time for them [young people] is everywhere”
“Human communities require diversity in order to survive”
“A 3 year old is not half a 6 year old”
“The fast food model of education system will destroy our schools in t he same way it has destroyed our bodies”
“Education must be customized”
“If you do something you love an hour feels like 5 minutes. But, if you do something you hate 5 minutes feels like an hour”
“Human flourishing is organic not a mechanical process”
“Technology, the Internet and Media education combined with good teaching can and should revolutionize education”
The presentation finishes with a lovely quote from W. B Yates:
“Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths, Enwrought with golden and silver light, The blue and the dim and the dark cloths Of night and light and the half-light, I would spread the cloths under your feet: But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”
His point being that every day children spread their dream under our feet [in our classes, under our care] and we must tread softly to nurture these dreams.
During the question and answer session at
the 2010 RM Strategic Forums I suggested to the audience that they needed to
think about how products could be used differently to really add value to
I am a big believer that ICT can provide
engaging experiences for children and that ICT can also provide engaging
learning experiences for children. The second thing requires good pedagogy from
the classroom teacher. I don’t like it that some teachers still think that good
learning will take place just by putting children in front of computers and I
also don’t like it when teachers use ICT as a reward or just to keep children
ICT is expensive and only some ICT is worth
the investment. The challenge is to get teachers and school leaders thinking
about how they can get the most out of any resource that they procure.
I gave the example of Microsoft Surface
Globe that was being used being shown on one of the multi touch products and
tried to get the audience to think of the globe as more of contextual hub for
learning rather than as just a tool to teach place.
The links to use a 3D globe in geography are obvious, but why
do so few teachers think about using a 3D globe as an immersive environment for
creative writing? Or as a way to reinforce numeracy by measuring distance, scale,
direction and orientation? Or doesn’t it make a great way to study shape and
structure – you only have to zoom into the London Eye in the UK for a perfect
example and a ready made lesson.
Next I spoke about the flasma Floor, there
seemed to be a lot of people interested in it at the conference. I agree, its
impressive, younger children in particular would love it. But how much value
does it add apart from improving the aesthetic of the learning space and the
obvious value that it would add to the early years and SEN environment?
get me wrong, I think the flasma floor, if used in the right way, can add real
value.Why? because it has a
Software Development Kit (SDK), which means that children could develop games
for the flasma Floor. Games development provides obvious curriculum links and
also the development of more soft skills. But the floor also then
becomes a way to showcase student work in an innovative and creative way. Lets
face it; it’s a lot more of an impressive way to showcase student achievement at the entrance to the school in comparison to a small plasma
By thinking about products as I have
described above they become part of the curriculum and then also part of the
This is the sixth in a series of ten posts about my recent visit to the 2010 Education Show in Birmingham. They document some of the products that I saw, liked and enjoyed from the exhibition.
I’ve already written about Classical Comics earlier in my review of the 2010 Education Show. I was also really impressed with some of the graphic novels and comics that were on display from Raintree (formally Heinemann Library).
Initially, I started looking at some of the books because they included some of the classic cartoon characters from DC comics such as Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. These sort of playful adventure stories with well developed characters have go so much potential in encouraging young people to read and to help them engage with text.
Of course if you take a developed character like Batman and combine this will a well written adventure narrative such as the texts that Raintree have produced along with DC Comics you have the first stages in developing a really interesting progressive reading strategy and linking it to other aspects of media and moving image education.
Let me try and explain my thinking here in a little more detail. The Raintree Batman books are aimed at readers between the ages of 8 – 13 years (some of the books have more complicated narrative than others).
But Batman is a highly developed comic book character which can really allow the reader to progress and explore his stories in any number of directions using a variety of tests and media that is available on the commercial market as the reader outgrows the Raintree series.
There are 1000s of people that read batman stories in comic books and graphic novels every week around the globe and many of these people are adults. Some of the more recent Batman Graphic Novels including the Dark Knight Returns (that I put into the library at Musslebugh Grammar School) has a highly complex narrative and complicated plot and was mainly signed out by 15 – 18 year olds. How’s that for progressive reading programme that follows the same character!
It is also worth mentioning that characters such as Batman and Superman currently have a real cultural significance for children due to the recent Hollywood feature films of both of the superheros (with more sequels on the way). This provides another great opportunity for teachers to use current and relevant text that children have already been exposed to via the media. Even if children have not seen (or are old enough to have seen the film) they are likely to have played the computer games that always accompany new movies.
Raintree didn’t just have superhero graphic novels on display. They also have some really other interesting graphic novel texts to support other areas of the curriculum. These included ‘Graphic Expeditions’ to support the teaching of geography and place. These would be ideal and a great resource for schools to help embrace the cross-curricular philosophy of Curriculum for Excellence. I liked the look of the ones called ‘Rescue in Antarctica,’ and ‘Getting to the bottom of Global Warming.’ There are also graphic novel tests to support history, English and science.
I loved the idea of the Graphic Science Texts because they combined the idea of using superheroes (Max Axiom) and superpowers to introduce children to more complicated scientific concepts.
For example a superpower might be to be able to travel at the speed of sound and ride a sound wave – providing a great concept to introduce children into the science of sound. Or the ability to shrink to the size of and ant – providing a great context for learning about eco-systems, the food chain and mini-beasts!
The 16 part on-line video resource includes interviews athletes, coaches, and scientists. The series deals with the physics, biology, chemistry and materials engineering behind the Olympic Winter Games and Winter Olympic Sports.
However, at BETT we almost fell out. I was showing Steve my new ‘happy Snap’
disposable camera from Kodak (which I am very proud of) when he produced from
his bag a digital camera that looked to me like it should have been around at
It was a massive clunky thing that looked like a piece of deep sea
However, Steve was quick to point out that
what he was showing me as a video conferencing camera and a very impressive bit
Using the camera Steve and his team from Shropshire have been able to
broadcast back to schools via VC from venues including building sites. The
camera has a built in wifi or you can easily connect a 3G dongle via USB. You
can’t see the people on the other end of the video conference but the camera
has a built in speaker so you can hear everything that is said. Thus allowing
for dialog and two way communication between the person with the camera and the
What a wonderful tool with massive
potential in the schools.
Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a big BrainPop fan. I have been using BrainPop.com with my classes since around 2002 and I have followed the brand as they have become established in the UK market.
One of the things that I like about BrainPop is that they give stuff away. There are always a selection of free movies on their site and each week there is a featured free movie. The first time I used the featured free movie with classes was after the 2004 Asian Tsunami. The movie accomplished what BrainPop does best. It explained a complicated thing in a simple way that is highly accessible for children.
I’m flagging this up because it’s always worth teachers visiting the BrainPop site to have a look at the featured movie. Where possible the team link the movie into current events. These might be reactive (like the earthquake movie that was featured last week) or planned (like the Martin Luther King Movie that is being featured this week). They even let me pick the featured movie once – I picked mountains!
Anyway as I am such a Brainpop fan the team game me a VIB t-shirt (Very Important Brainpoppper) and I spent a bit of time at BETT 2010 looking to see how the product has developed over the last 12 months. I was impressed the a range of added movies and the way that students can now email quiz scores back to their teachers.
But the thing that I was most impressed with was how the BrainPop UK team and cross matched all of their movies to a Curriculum for Excellence. It must have taken them ages but it’s a fantastic resource and I’m sure will be very useful for Scottish teachers. Well done guys and keep up the great work.
Finally, between meetings, presentations and looking round the rest of the exhibition. I got to spend a bit of time with Moby and we chated about rust, his favorite type of oil and how he doesn’t like magnets!
It really is excellent and should become part of any teachers toolbox for teaching about Internet Safety and Responsible use.
In their own words,
"Aimed at younger or inexperienced web users, this video helps explain
the long-term risks of sharing inappropriate photos, videos and stories
on the Web. We've seen the stories and heard personal accounts about
people who shared an inappropriate photo that eventually caused them to
lose their job or miss an opportunity. Preventing this kind of problem
can come from increased awareness about how the Web works and what it
means to share something with the public. This video is about taking
responsibility and making choices to protect reputation".