iPad Trial – 1. Aim of the project

This academic year I am co-ordinating a small scale iPad trial in school with a  group of 12 teachers looking at the potential use of iPads in the classroom. We are meeting on a regular basis to share good practise and collectively look at and evaluate the potential use of iPad’s in enhancing teaching and learning in the classroom, whilst also facilitating the general role of the teacher. I would be very interested to hear from any other teachers that have been using iPads in the classroom and what their experience has been. As part of the trial I am researching and trying to draw together links to existing research, trials  and other online documents relating to the use of iPads in the classroom.

One local school in Cambridge (The Stephen Perse Foundation) has already rolled out a 1-1 iPad project, and examples of how the iPads are being used are summarised in the video below.

Another example where significant research has already been carried out is at Longfield Academy in Kent where the impact of iPads in the school has been measured over a couple of terms and research carried out on behalf of NAACE has been summarised as a report “The iPad – A Tool for Education”

Our trial is very small scale in comparison, with only a small number of teachers involved and only one iPad being available in the classroom, but I am looking forward to seeing how the iPads can be put to good use. We are already beginning to see benefits and I am hoping to record our ‘iPad journey’ and thoughts through fairly regular posts on here.

This useful scoop it page “How schools are using iPads in education in the UK” is a particularly interesting and uptodate set of links with regards to the use of iPads in education and one which is well worth keeping an eye on and I am also tweeting any particularly useful links I find on my @RobGeog account.

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Stop Motion Animations – MonkeyJam

A colleague has asked me to help with some ideas for how to carry out stop motion animation that they wish to get their students involved in and this has made me pause to evaluate the options with regards to stop motion animation. I firstly remembered the useful video below which I blogged about back in 2010.

We have used stop-motion animation in the Geography Department for a couple of years to encourage students to apply knowledge and understanding in the formation and development of coastal landforms and also in documenting the processes and features created at different plate boundaries in the study of plate tectonics. We have used plasticine for students to create and manipulate models and used flip cams to record stills which have then been stitched together in moviemaker. The results have been variable, there have been some great films produced, whilst others have been less successful. The method we have used in the past has been quite time consuming which has meant that some have been started and not finished, some have also been quite ‘stop start’ and lack the smooth look of some animations. I am therefore keen to look at how we can rationalise the process and what other software could be used. I am therefore going to have a look at MonkeyJam, a free stop-motion animation programme.

There are a number of basic tutorials available on YouTube for how to use MonkeyJam (see below) and by all accounts it seems very user friendly.

MonkeyJam seems to work well with a web cam as shown in the video, however this tutorial video from the BBC show how to use a digital camera and simply then import the images into Monkeyjam to carry out 2D animation; the beauty of the webcam however is the ability to capture straight into the Monkeyjam software.

There are some great examples of stop-motion animations on YouTube using lego figures – for example this short one on Free Running

I am looking forward to seeing what our students might be able to produce!

Google World Wonders Project – bringing the Geography and History classroom to life!

Getting back into the new term has taken some time with so much going on but I am very much looking forward to continuing to explore the world of new technologies and the ability to use them to enhance classroom practise throughout the academic year. There are various school based projects on the go (more to come) and lots of new digital resources to explore! One such resouce is the Google World Wonders project.

The Google World Wonders project is based on bringing world heritage sites of the modern and ancient world online. The project uses Google’s Street View technology, 3D modelling, photos, videos and in-depth information, to enable exploration of the world’s treasures from the classroom.

ImageThere are useful separate primary and secondary teacher guides with ideas for using the Google World Wonders project in the classroom. There are also more in-depth lesson plans which can be downloaded from the education section. These include ideas for both Geography and History lessons, for example the Jurrasic Coastline (Dorset & East Devon) and Pompeii / Herculaneum and I am looking forward to exploring these – particularly the Geography ones for potential use with my Key Stage 4 Geographers studying coasts next year.