Monday, September 29, 2008

Flickr for art lessons

This link I found by accident and I love it! The art work of Banksy lives and breaths on the streets of the UK, I think a book has been published but this link is a pool of photo's taken of Banksy's art work. So now you can appreciate the talent in the comfort of your home or art class!

It's a great use of Flickr, creating a focused pool of photos on an artist/theme. Perfect for the art teacher who wants to access a large collection of resources on a particular artist for use in class.

Friday, September 26, 2008

An animated teaching resource from South Africa

This short animation was made during a two hour animation session for teachers in Cape Town, South Africa. The five music teachers involved had never animated before and had very limited resources, the brief I gave all eighty teachers was to create a short animation they could use with their class as a teaching resource. 

This animation makes great use of sound and has a very simple theme, easily achieved in the short amount of time we had, simply explaining an area of music theory.

This speed animation approach I use for conferences and mixed training days produces some great results from participants who focus on subject/topic areas that are familiar to them. These teachers produced a resource that they knew would have relevance to an area of their curriculum and subject. Maybe in the past they had wondered how they could teach this nugget of theory in a fun engaging way. That quickly got the important points across to their students.

My First Flip Video- From Cape Town

This isn't my first flip movie, but the results of my first video training session using the very popular and affordable Flip Video Camera, involving eighty teachers in Cape Town, South Africa. Another short session, introducing video editing with iMovie, then a brief explanation of using the Flip Video ( This is the easiest camera I've ever used) participants in pairs filmed for about 15 mins then edited their footage in iMovie adding titles, music etc. finally exporting the finished results via Bluetooth on to mobile phones. 

Mobile phones in South Africa are the main device everyone has a phone and it's a crucial form of communication more so than the internet.

The light in Cape Town is fantastic and it's the reason why the images from the Flip Camera look so good. It's also why the film and video production companies of South Africa are based here.

The results from this camera are great for a product that cost's about £100.00
1- Easy to use
2- Records up to 60 mins of video
3- Perfect for schools as it's so small and user friendly and doesn't require any leads! (They always vanish just when you want to download your footage)
4- Works with Mac's and PC's.
5- Affordable

I highly recommend these cameras for education, the only downside is they don't work with Stop Motion Animation software. If they did then the Flip would be five star!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Animation in Cape Town

Day two of a six day tour of South Africa, training teachers to use
Apple technology in the classroom. Cape Town is the creative hub of
South Africa home to video and film production for the advertising and
TV world. Beautiful beaches and sceanery, fantastic light and most of
all low production costs.

During the two days 80 teachers have learnt to edit and shoot video,
work with digital still images, create podcasts and short animation
films designed for use in their class. 20 of the teachers involved had
never used a laptop before and had no experience of a track pad or
drag and drop. But by the second day these less experienced teachers
were creating content that was just as good if not better than the
teachers who had years of experience with IT. They where empowered
with simple and easy to use tools, that allowed them to learn and
develop new skills quickly for use in their classrooms.

These skills will be valued and understand in this creative capital of
South Africa. If education supports the main industry and the industry
supports education then Cape Town can develop this world class
industry with pride and confidence.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Getting the work seen on TV.

There's a fantastic opportunity for young creatives aged 13- 19 . BBC Blast  want films, animations etc work for possible screening on BBC 2 and at the BFI in London in December. Click here for the link. There's also information about funding for students to develop their creative skills working with the BBC. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Why use Youtube?

An important area of digital creativity is to ensure any work created is shared with the community. Now this can be a global community via websites and Youtube or a more local community with DVD's/ CD's. But it is a crucial part of the process for students finding and thinking about an audience. When a filmmaker or musician steps back from their work and lets it go, they'll look at it very differently and are forced to look at it objectively. To be able to do this instantly via Youtube is fantastic.

I'm a great fan of Youtube as it also encourages interactivity between creatives and audiences. 

On Youtube most of the comments left along side the animations made by students on the courses I've run are very positive. They're from their friends, families and some times teachers, all very short notes of encouragement, but positive.

This is an example
"tht was sick!!! wish my teachers took time to teach with some type of must of took some time to do tht but it was well worth it bce it made for an enjoyable video"

Check out these comments left by students from all over the world, funny, positive and encouraging. 

Monday, September 8, 2008

Using animation to explore issues around mental health.

As I travel around the UK, Europe and occasionally further, my aim is to collect, information and evidence of 21st Century learning and share via this blog with photo's, videos, interviews and what ever I can get my hands on. Exposing the impact of schools, authorities , individuals, (students and teachers) conferences and companies who are having an effect on driving education into the 21st Century. In some cases people may not even realise that their project, school or methods are in any way related to 21st Century Learning.

My first entry is about a school I worked with for a week last term.

The head of Art at the Bewdley School, Worcestershire , UK encouraged a small group of year ten students to apply for funding from a local organisation called FLOSS. The students filled in the forms themselves and raised the money to pay for me to work with both year ten art groups and create a series of short animations. Nearly fifty students in all made twelve films over four days.

The criteria for the funding was that the work must be of benefit to the wider community, so the students chose mental health as the focus for the animations. The finished films have been made into DVD's and will be sent to local schools for use in class as a starting point for discussion on this tricky subject area, mental health.

Animation is a great medium for exploring mental health as the film Kalypso below shows. A short animation film about eating disorders written and filmed by the students. They were able share their experiences, feelings and thoughts using various art techniques familiar to them.

I think this is great example of 21st Century Learning, not only did the students make the films, but they also raised the money to make the films and had a strong idea about where and how the films should be distributed.

All the films are currently on Youtube.