Saturday, April 14, 2012

The digital leader network

So this blog has been a bit neglected lately, mostly because of the growing Digital Leader Network. Employing digital leaders at school really got me thinking about how this could be a great way of sustaining ICT developments in school and it has really taken off.

If you are interested and want to read more, check out the digital leader blog which should get you going. Join in with #DLchat on twitter on a Thursday night at 9 too, to keep up-to-date with news. There are lots of things happening!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Videoconferencing with Father Christmas!

Talking to Santa in the North Pole was a great reason for videoconferencing! We used flashmeeting, which you can sign up for here. We have used skype in class before, but coming soon will be accounts of how we have used 'face time' on the ipads to talk to one another.

It was so exciting for the children! Watch the short clips to see.

Some questions from the children to Santa!


Xtranormal is an easy animation creator. All you have to do is type and the 'actors' will automatically lip synch. You can control their movements and gestures too. To see how this one was used in class, take a look here.

You can find xtranormal here.

Crazy talk!

Crazy talk 6 is a great piece of software that will allow you to animate photographs. This can help you bring all sorts of characters into your classroom, which is very useful if you use drama techniques such as mantle of the expert. Underneath each blog is the link that will take you to another blog, which will put each 'character' in context.

The voices were made using audacity - please forgive me, they are not the best!

Click here to visit the gnome's post.

Dr Who?!

See more of the Dr's requests here.

Read more about this Egyptologist here.

Access Crazytalk 6 and the new crazytalk animator here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Digital leaders

This post describes the process of 'employing' digital leaders at

Roydon Primary school.

Over the last few years keeping up with new techology has been a challenge and, in terms of time, difficult to manage. Trialling new resources and evaluating the benefits adds to any workload and sharing new ideas takes more time and organisation.

I had been considering different options and ways of managing my increasing workload, when I watched @chrismayoh's teachmeet presentation on digital leaders . I thought it was a great way of supporting the ICT coordinator role, whilst making the most of the talents of our children, so started the process at Roydon.

The interview process

The interview process started with a flyer advertising the post inviting applicants. The application forms included simple questions about their experience with ICT, their responsibilities and their views about different roles within a digital leader post. By the deadline, 14 children had applied for the post. I hindsight, I regret not using google docs as a way of applying for the post. It is something I will remember for next year.

The interviews spread across one morning. The children were excited but very nervous, so I decided against filming them. I was very impressed with their enthusiasm and their ideas. They had considered options that I had not thought about. They had visions for the future of ICT at Roydon and were able to articulate them.

The group task

In the afternoon the children were invited to participate in an 'observed task'. They were asked to access Kodu game labs, to program a Kodu to move and eat things. They were only given two tips:

  1. The escape button allows you to toggle between playing and programming;

  2. There are tutorials under 'load'.

The aspiring digital leaders were then left to it! They had around 40 minutes to see how far they could get and I was really impressed with the results. All children had completed the initial challenge and most had gone beyond it.

I asked them how they felt about not being taught and they told me that although some parts were a bit frustrating, they all felt proud of what they had achieved independently of an adult. They showed great collaborative skills and they all enjoyed the task immensely.

Their feedback about Kodu included such things as 'There are no limits, you can make whatever world you like,' and 'It's your own ideas, you could be the Kodu. It's awesome!'

They thought it was easy to use and can't wait to have another go.

All applicants showed entusiasm and strength in different areas, so all of them have been employed! The jobs that they do as digital leaders will depend on the skills that they showed at interview. This includes:

  • Running an ICT club

  • Blogging about what they have been doing and sharing resources

  • Supporting teachers to deliver lessons

  • Supporting during ICT staff meetings when appropriate

  • Running parent workshops

  • Researching and reviewing new technologies

As for me - I'm really looking forward to working with my new colleagues!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cartoon time

Jenson in year 2 created his very own comic at school today with a little help from Harrison (also year 2). What do you think?

Scroll down to see some more comic stories. Click on each page to see a bigger version.

Henry and Ben's comic on PhotoPeach

Erin and Callum's story on PhotoPeach

Try this fab free resource for making cartoons easily! Inspire everyone else with your brilliant work!

Or why not try another story writing program, free online. this one is created by the carnigie library of Pittsburg.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Animating with some old favourites!

Just to show that you don't need wizzy resources to make an animation. This was made with textease paint (other paint programs would work as well) and windows movie-maker (free to download). Each paint 'frame' was saved as a picture before it was added to. It's not scientifically accurate, nor is it very long, but it does show the growing process. Let me know what you think, or if you try it yourself in class.