Note to self…

Kids playing video games

Guest post today! It’s me… but me two years ago..!

Do you or your kids play video/computer games?

I wrote this during my Masters year (on ‘Mysteryboxes’, my Masters blog) when I was looking into video games and what we can learn from them about learning and engagement. At the same time I was a concerned parent… What should my kids play? How long should they play them?

Over the course of a year, by paying a little attention, I learned a few things that I felt were worth remembering – so I wrote a ‘note to self’! Having just read it for the first time in a couple of years I stand by it… especially the stuff about “better than TV” and “tantrums”!

I think games can be valuable in learning, but like everything else there needs to be a balance! But I feel as a parent I need to have some control, or sense, of what that balance should be.

So, if any of this sounds familiar please, click here, have a read, and let me know what you think!

 

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Getting QReative with World Book Day – part two

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So, on Monday I posted about some book reviews I recorded at my local primary school.

I took them home, edited them where necessary (not as much as you might think) and posted them to AudioBoo – today some of those codes (the ones posted here) are in the books that they relate to.

The purpose of Curriculum for Excellence is encapsulated in the four capacities – to enable each child or young person to be a successful learner, a confident individual, a responsible citizen and an effective contributor (see the graphic below).

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This project draws on at least two of these capacities (although self awareness and confidence are drawn in…) and I’ll detail them now:

1) Talking about something you are interested in is empowering – it also challenges how you articulate your interest. Audio doesn’t allow you to fall back on gestures and pictures so it’s all about the words. CfE – I witnessed enthusiasm, motivation and openness (successful learners). 

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2) These reviews were recorded with several (if not all) of the class mates listening in (no pressure then…). They’re listening to the review, learning from someone their own age and either wondering if their own review would have been as good or wanting them to hurry up and finish so that they can have a go. CfE – Communication in different ways and different settings, working in partnerships and critical thinking (effective contributors)

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3) There are other things to talk about but the one that fascinates me is this. As part of the introduction to what we’re about to do in class I play a recoding of my daughter reviewing Lemony Snicket. It was recorded 2010. Our primary school is quite small and most of the kids know each other. It was great for the P2s to listen to a ‘big’ P4 talking about their favourite book – but – it’s the P2 version of them from two years ago!  Think about it – it can mess with your head a bit, but the kids love it!

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Obviously within families the benefits of sharing across siblings and, potentially, generations could have huge benefits in terms of appreciating and understanding one another as well as the experience of sharing common interest across time! It’s a bit like being Doctor Who, but instead of a Tardis we have a QR Code.

Where do you see the value (if any…) in projects like this?
Would you question my interpretation of the CfE?

You can hear more book reviews by my own children here including this one from three years ago:

Please, enjoy the AudioBoos and leave me some feedback… I’d love to hear from you!

Getting QReative with World Book Day – part one

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Thursday 7th March is World Book Day 2013

On this day all sorts of activities are organised across the globe to celebrate ‘the book’!

One of the events a lot of schools are adopting is the ‘Book Swap’ where young people bring in a book from home, that they’ve already read (and presumably recommend…), and swap it for something new to them.

I love the idea of swapping and sharing stories and so, as my local Primary school was organising a Book Swap, I offered to help, and add a new twist, to sharing stories…

World Book Day logo 2013

Class by class I asked some of the children about their favourite books – Without spoiling the ending, what was the story, who their favourite characters, why did they love this book! I recorded our little chat, and I’m now in the process of editing and uploading to AudioBoo.fm. I’ll then tag the AudioBoo with a QR Code and the QR Code will go in the front of the book.

Soon, these well loved books will be carrying two stories – the one in print and the one in the QR Code. And of course, the next owner could very soon be adding their own story and QR Code… we’ll have to wait and see!

Look out for links to the AudioBoos later in the week – and enjoy World Book Day 2013!

UPDATE: Part Two here

Digital Imaging on iPad (via AudioBoo)

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The images above are on display at Perth Museum and Art Gallery. From left to right, the second, fourth and fifth displays were completed as part of an iPad workshop I led in November 2012 and are exhibited until the end of March.

This week some of the young people who took part in the project, (as part of the Living Communities programme) came back to view their exhibited work and I was able to talk to them about their experience and share those thoughts via AudioBoo which will also be tagged to the work on display via a QR Code.

The interesting thing for me is that the young people are enjoying using the touch screen for the same reasons as I do – immediate, responsive (interactive) and an enjoyable way of working – as opposed to a mouse and multiple clicks. Given the immediate responsive nature of the touch screen I would suggest that it holds more creative potential – see here.

In one of his last keynotes Steve Jobs talked about how the iPad was “people’s favourite device” – backed up only last month by this report. They were enjoying the experience of the web, gaming and even productivity much more on the iPad than they were on desktops or laptops. I’d already had that experience myself but noticed that my son losing interest in his Nintendo DS if the iPad was an option.

So, as exciting as it was to see this work on display it was equally as rewarding to hear that a new found interest was being kindled (no pun intended) through me introducing a touch screen in this context. And, you can hear for yourself in the clips below…

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Some of the images in their native form back in November.

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Guildtown Project (via AudioBoo)

Guildtown was founded in 1818 by the Guildry Incorporation of Perth.

The Primary School, through a series of interlinked projects (many of them delivered through the Living Communities Programme at Perth Museum and Art Gallery), explored the Guildsmen and the trades that they governed. They also made a mini-documentary including a recreation of how the village may have looked 200 years ago.

In this series of three clips some of the young people involved talk about their learning experience, the trades they learned about and tried out and how they got on making their short film.

My part in this was to capture these thoughts and share them through this AudioBoo which is tagged to artworks, related to the project, currently exhibited at Perth Museum and Art Gallery, via a QR Code.

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iPad – therefore iLearn

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Over the past 18 months I have had many opportunities to use the iPad as a learning tool and information on Playful Communications: learning and training services can be found here.

As a combination of camera, audio recorder, note-pad and presentation tool I initially thought it would be useful to me but more and more I’ve been finding apps that have supplied me with ideas for great learning projects both at home, in classrooms, colleges. I have been able to use the iPad2 to great effect as part of the Living Communities project based at Perth Museum and Art Gallery and with so many tablets out in the professional world there is huge scope now for corporate training.

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Mobile devices are offering amazing creative opportunities. With the advent of the 69p ‘app’ accessibility to software is unprecedented.

While these apps are not considered industry standard in the way that Adobe Creative Suite might be, they are offering genuine, valuable insights into industry processes. In fact, the immediacy of touch screen technology coupled with intuitive software can be a superior experience to the desktop and mouse, identifying a new way of working for the near future.

There are of course already professionals in the field whose tool kit consists of a ‘well app-ed’ mobile device. Journalists, bloggers, vloggers, social media amplifiers – the early adopters of these tool-kits have been the winners in recent years.

Many of the learning opportunities that Playful Communications offer are designed around the iPad. As an Apple user of 20 years the iPad was a natural purchase.

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We also find iOS apps to be very stable. As participants often download the apps we have taught them to use, we want to be confident that the applications we advocate are safe and fit for use.

So while iOS is our platform of choice Playful Communications are also open to, and experienced in, using other devices on alternative platforms (Windows, Android, etc). 

In most cases the applications we use have a counterpart or similarly available application that will do the same job. If you use other products and would like workshops or training in those areas then please contact us to discuss.

Living Communities and the QR Code

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On 18 December I visited Perth Museum and Art Gallery to deliver a workshop (as part of their Living Communities project) using one of my favourite applications AudioBoo!
The brief from the Living Communities project leader was as follows: “We’ve a group of young people from four Perth and Kinross schools (3 primary, 1 secondary) arriving to see work they completed in the summer which is now being exhibited. You have 45 minutes with each of the groups, what can you do?
I’ve been using AudioBoo for some time recording my kids review books and films and then tagging the physical objects (book/video/dvd case) with a QR Code linked to the AudioBoo. Here was an opportunity to do something similar but so much more interesting…

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Taking groups of 6-7 young people at a time same I recorded our young artists talking about their work and the experience of taking part in the workshops – tapestry, ceramics and Roman re-enactments; their audio (posted to AudioBoo) would then be made available as part of the exhibition (along side the artwork) via QR Code. Visitors to the exhibition would be able to view the artwork and hear about the experiences of the artists!
Reflective practice and social media at it’s best! We tested the ability of the young people to remember what they had done – the value in it and what they had learned – and provided them with an audience who may well see the work in a different light as a result. The audio, quite literally, speaks for itself!

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I see this method as a great example of how we can encourage, in an enjoyable way, the development of young people’s critical and creative thinking and how they express those ideas and opinions – enriching their understanding of the work, it’s purpose and giving their voice, as well as their work, an audience.
It’s obvious from their comments that having work on display is exciting to them and gives the the work and the process deeper meaning.
Just to be clear, from the outset the young people were made aware that the purpose of the AudioBoo exercise was to create content that would be shared as part of the exhibition and also online.

Curriculum for Excellence (CfE)
With regards to the CfE this really simple exercise covers a reasonable number of experiences and outcomes. A variety of levels are covered from Literacy: Listening and talking, Creating texts; Expressive arts: Art and design; Technologies: ICT to enhance learning;…
These outcomes relate purely to the AudioBoo exercise but, of course, they build on, and enhance, the outcomes of the original projects – tapestry, ceramics, re-enactments, etc.
So it is really exciting and rewarding for me to take simple exercises like theses that fit squarely within the prescribed learning strategy of the CfE but cover design and media in ways that schools/teachers are not always confident or capable of delivering. I’m also very grateful to Living Communities for presenting these opportunities and I am very much looking forward to the forthcoming workshops in January and February – so watch this space!
Below are a couple of ‘Boos’ from the session – for the rest you’ll have to visit my account or visit the living communities exhibition at Perth Museum and Art Gallery sometime during January/beginning of February… check press for details, etc…

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