RSS

Tag Archives: Education

app review of Stop Motion Studio for iPad

I came across the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Stories on Screen competition and forwarded the details to the Early Years Leading Teacher, also the early years ICT leader. She expressed an interest in participating this year with the younger students creating stop-motion animations  inspired by children’s books.

In the past couple of years the school has been purchasing iPads to be used at school. At this stage, the younger years are using the iPads and grade five/six students have helped with reviewing some apps for education. However, they havent been satisfied with any of the stop motion apps. As a consequence I decided to investigate apps for iPads with a focus on creating animations and films. I located a few stopmotion apps and identified Stop Motion Studio to investigate along with the iMovie app.

The aim was to determine:

  1. Key features of the app and how to use it.
  2. How easy the app was to use by younger children

In this activity I downloaded Stop Motion Studio, iMovie and Extras4iMovie to my iPad. I then asked two children (my daughters) if they would like to create animations with paper cut-outs. They were both very keen on the idea of creating animations. The process of planning and animating happened over a weekend. My involvement in their planning stage was minimal. Basically they showed me their cut-outs and asked me what I thought. Sometimes I suggested some more elements may be needed.

On the second day, my involvement was geared towards setting up the iPad to capture the stop motion clips. We did not have a iPad mount to firmly position the iPad to a tripod. Consequently, gaffer tape was used to hold the iPad in place on top of a silver case, on top of a table. The paper elements were on a black cloth on the floor. Little LED lights provided the lighting source.

Once this was set up, each child continued without any assistance. They were able to work out how to use the app without many instructions and even taught me some of the features such as the scrolling back and forth to see the overlay of the animation image.

The animation process took a while involving constant movement between the iPad to shoot frames and the paper elements to change them as part of the frame by frame capture process. They completed the animation with Stop Motion Studio but are yet to edit the final animations in iMovie. They photographed close ups of elements that will need to be edited into the the animation along with the final sound and titles sequence.

During the process, I documented with my iPhone by filming and photographing. I then edited the documented photos and clips with the animations the children made using the iMovie app on an iPad. The titles were created with Extras4iMovie. This video forms the app review that was exported to Youtube and subsequently embedded in this post. By creating this video I was able to test the iMovie app in the process.

This week I will be sharing this review with the school in support of the initiative to use iPads to create animations and films for the CBCA competition and for future projects. Being able to identify the information, curriculum and technology needs is an incredibly important function of a librarian in a school. With this activity, I have been able to provide curriculum resource ideas and support with technology to enable successful outcomes. By working with the children to assess ease of use, I am focussing the needs to the target group and this is very important.

What I learnt is that you definitely need an iPad mount to enable an effective and steady support for the iPad. This will make filming and animation easier. I discovered the app is a fantastic app for the targeted age group and feel confident in transferring these ideas to the teaching and learning community. In working with children to assess the app, it is much easier to demonstrate the ease of use by the target audience.

The next stage involves working through the editing process with the iMovie app and assessing how easy post-production is for the target audience.

Advertisements
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

13 Project ~ Cyber Safety for Global Citizenship

Click on the image to go to the website and explore the cyber smart initiatives

Click on the image to go to the website and explore cyber smart initiatives

The primary school, where I currently work, is in the midst of investigating safe social networking sites for children. There is an acceptance that children are connected to technology on a daily basis, using it for educational and recreational purposes and in support of global citizenship. As a consequence, cyber safety is a significant focus. Currently, our students participate in many online environments including blogs, and posting to Vimeo.

The release of national statistics in 2012 by the minister for education, Peter Garrett point to disturbing figures of the prevalence of cyber bullying in his Be Bold Stop Bullying Facebook Campaign Launch. This is a major concern for the school community highlighting the need for constant revision of cyber safety practices. This has contributed to a greater focus by the school in assessing our current efforts and discovering where we can improve.

As part of this school-wide initiative, I investigated library based initiatives in support of schools’ efforts to promote cyber safety. I discovered the 13 project via a thread on the OZTLnet list serve and then investigated further. 13 Project was launched on 1st March 2013 by school library associations across Australia in recognition of the important role of school libraries and participation of school library staff in schools’ efforts to help keep their students safe online.

As a librarian, in a school based environment, being able to locate resources and provide access to these resources is of primary importance. This professional learning activity enabled a connection with the information needs of the school community and the library in resourcing those needs. Via the 13 project, some of the resources mentioned were areas our school identified for investigation, namely social networking sites that are safe environments for children in this age group. I evaluated the suggested social networking site Skooville. After the initial evaluation I shared the online resources from 13 project with teachers in our school and provided a recommendation of the Skooville program to be considered for implementation across the school. I attended the morning briefing during Cyber safety week and discussed this resource with staff thus saving them time in investigation of this important area.

Discovering a national library-based advocacy initiative, with a focus on cyber safety, was the most significant learning from this activity. With the networks to library professionals accessed via OZTLnet I can transfer the learning and extend the library into the school. This affirms the importance of the library for school based initiatives with a focus on curriculum and community needs. One of the tools particularly useful to school administration is the Safe Schools toolkit  as it provides an online audit tool to help with school prioritisation in this area. This information was shared with the leading teachers.

At this stage, I can see there is more that can be done by the library and staff in this area. Prior to this, our library had no knowledge of 13 project and the Skooville site. This activity has enabled the beginning of this knowledge and connecting with the wider school as a result.

The next step in this professional learning will be to involve the school in some of the other suggested initiatives as part of the National Cyber Security Awareness week. This will be explored for the next year.

Cybersafety is an ongoing learning curve needing constant evaluation and awareness raising. 13 project is a great starting place and resource.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Censorship of Children’s Books ~ Banned Books Week

Working in a school library, censorship is a constant focus with challenges to the provision of information coming from many angles, including teachers, the government, community and parents. Edwards (2006) states that the challenge to books has been increasing in recent years and most common reasons for challenges include morality, obscenity, profanities and, witchcraft and occult themes from wizards to ghosts.

The State Library of Victoria provides a list of ten most challenged books and on that list is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

Some issues confronted at the school level can pertain to covert forms of censorship contradicting standards for professional practice and the commitment to provision of access to information that has a right to be represented in the school community (Asheim, 2009). In this regard reference is made to value judgments by library staff in the selection process, leading to exclusion of resources or making access to information difficult. This is evident in the following examples

  • Expressed preferences for certain formats over others.
  • Positioning of books/information where it is not easily accessed.

The focus of this professional development activity is to highlight a commitment to the promotion and advocacy for freedom of information and the rights to reading. By committing to raising awareness amongst the school community I have chosen to investigate Banned Books Week; celebrating the freedom to read.

Banned Books Week is held during September 22-28, 2013 and associated activities for potential inclusion in the school library program during this time are being investigated.

Why is this important?

In discussion with teachers, parents and staff, I have learnt that censorship is highly emotive when it concerns children as the audience of information. Many have strongly formed attitudes that in turn impact on objectivity in this area including collection selection. Choosing to raise awareness with a Banned Books Week program provides an avenue to explore censorship in a manner that feels safe and non confronting. Some of the books on the list are highly valued by many, thus providing an avenue to delve into this topical area whilst promoting critical reflection.

Being able to instigate discussion around censorship is important for my professional practice and commitment to advocacy for the right to provide access to information objectively is demonstrated in this programming.

Exploring Banned Books week provides an insight into activities that can be implemented at a school level; including displays of books that have been challenged, readings of passages by students and teachers and displaying lists of the challenged books over an historical timeline. Coming across the lists of books that have been challenged, provides a tremendous insight into the need to continue raising awareness as it is ongoing and increasing.

National Archives Australia provides a great resource exploring Books and Magazines Banned in Australia from the 1920’s to 1970’s. The University of Melbourne has a website, Banned Books in Australia linked to ‘A Special Collections ~ Art in the library exhibition’.

Why not visit Banned Books Week Virtual Read-out and hear some passages of books being read

Asheim, L., (2009) Not Censorship but Selection, Children’s Literature in Eduction, 40(3), 197-216.

Edwards, H., (2006) Censorship of Kids books on the rise, The Age, April 30 2006.

 

Tags: , , , ,

Puppetry inspiration

This past year has been hectic, with deadlines for assessments, especially as I studied a WISE subject via San Jose State University. This meant there were no breaks between semesters, and often I was working endlessly to meet assignment deadlines. All I could do was forge ahead and not think about it too much… My only respite, to the assignment madness, were my streetart photographic adventures; shared mostly via Instagram.

So… what do you do when your study deadlines slow down and give you some breathing space? Engage your creativity of course, and revisit some past passion. This is just what I did with puppetry.

Luckily, Barek an artist from Brisbane announced a competition via Instagram titled #makemeabarek. The competition was run via Facebook and as my account had been inactive for a significant time, I had to reactivate to participate. What was involved was creating a character and including the signature Barek eyes.

I have never been able to complete a puppet in such a short time-frame but decided to give it a shot. Working collaboratively, with my partner we lost sleep and kept at it until we realised the day before that we were going to meet the deadline… Yippee!

Not only did we meet the deadline but our character was the winner! For our joyful effort we have an original
Barek artwork on the way… WOW!

Apart from the sheer joy of working on puppets again, I’ve enjoyed dipping my toes into Facebook and finding some of the talented artists I admire there too. I had been somewhat resistant of Facebook for quite some time but not any longer.

Following are some photos of the puppet entry. The inspiration for the puppet technique is Japanese Bunraku puppetry, although we have modified the actual technique and the puppet will be operated by two people without the strict adherence to the traditional form. The scenery is inspired by the talented Melbourne based artist Suki.

I’m now working on another character and hope to create a short video demonstrating the puppets. Stay tuned 🙂

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Transforming to a Library 2.0 ~ Part 7… finale?

Work with schools, Library for the Blind : visit of blind Bo...

cc lincensed and shared by New York Public Library

It is nearly the end of the school year and I am still going in and checking the Oliver program transition. We can safely say that is is now live and Athena is no longer needed. When I went in last week I spoke with the IT technician about where the link to Oliver is on the system and how visible it is to the school community. Currently, you can access the library beyond the walls of the physical library. Great as this was one of the aims. However, the process is not too straightforward as you need to bring up ‘programs’ and find the link to the OPAC to go into the library management system. Too cumbersome for our current ‘information now’ clientele!

I suggested placing a library icon as the link on the front page of the school website. This will increase accessibility and enable students, parents and teachers to be able to logon from their homes. Being able to ‘see’ the library link on the front page is what we all want after all. This is now on the list and I was informed it is not difficult to achieve. Fantastic!

Through this journey, I have mentioned often that there is no dedicated teacher/librarian at the school and it is an area I have been advocating for incessantly during my time there. The new system has a fantastic and simple newsletter template that only needs an update monthly. It provides links to new items in the library, information about the library, links to websites and featured authors for the month. With the featured author, it provides a wonderful avenue where students can email suggestions for authors thereby increasing student participation. Hopefully this can open up more avenues for student contributions including student publications online. However, unless there is a dedicated teacher that will focus on the library much of this wonderful potential will be difficult to realise. I continued with my constant advocacy in this area and yesterday, Mary informed me that Bec may be provided some allocated time next year to focus on the library. She will be responsible for updating the newsletter and will run PD with the staff about the new system and the importance of the library. Fantastic! Bec has come on board this term and spent a great deal of time familiarising herself with the new system, looking into electronic resources and reading up on all things library. There is still a long way to travel but every step counts in cementing the importance of the library and extending this beyond the library walls and into the school community.

As for the new library management system, Oliver, the interface is fantastic and a perfect choice for a primary school, especially when you click on Olly and access the visual search. Even searching a subject, the box where you type your word is quite large making it easy for little kids to read. None of the other programs researched had such a fantastic interface with this level of accessibility for very young children.

Currently, the library is shut down for lending and only open for returns. This has been instigated to enable the smooth transition and ensure any difficulties are fixed before the next academic year. It will further enable training in the new system for staff. Only last week I was working through part of the training module with Mary and we identified that a key component linking to Word has not been downloaded and set up yet. This enables the printing of labels, letters and reports. Very vital!… This has been forwarded to the IT department and hopefully the situation has been sorted. I am going back in later this week for a final check and hopefully this is the finale in transforming to a Library 2.0.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Transforming to a Library 2.0 ~ Part 6

J.J. Eller wins 120 yd. Hurdle 1911 (LOC)

J.J. Eller wins 120 yd. Hurdle 1911 (LOC)-cc licensed Library of Congress

Oliver conversion data and trial phase ~ Hurdles and What a Day!

Just over two weeks ago, Softlink informed the school that the conversion was set to begin and provided a timeline of what was involved. I went in one morning to compile a report that included screenshots of the various screens in Athena relating to records, patrons, loans and other items and emailed it to the Softlink conversion team. The data from the Athena LMS was sent via the Web to Softlink for conversion to Oliver.

In response to the report sent, the Conversion team at Softlink sent back an analysis of the data with detailed descriptions of how the data was to appear in Oliver. From this point we were provided with two weeks as a trial phase within which we were to analyse the data; both in the written conversion report and online. This was to determine if any anomalies existed and to provide an avenue for feedback to ensure the data is converted correctly during this trial stage. It was understood that anything new we added to Oliver during this stage would be lost once Oliver went live. The trial stage was purely a stage to iron out any problems, missing data and so forth before we went live. This stage is critical for if we fail to detect any anomalies and inform the conversion team, when we go live the problems will continue to exist. Furthermore, they are much harder to rectify once live.

The Information Technology coordinator has been working closely with me in the process of the upgrade to a new LMS. During this trial process we organised a day where Mary; the Library technician, Bec a teacher who is taking on library responsibilities, the Information Technology coordinator and myself could spend the day working with Oliver analysing the data.

Whilst we spent a great deal of time working through modules, speaking to technical support at Softlink and finding our way around Oliver, it became apparent that there was something missing. The actual data!

It was not until 3pm that we contacted technical support to discuss some of our concerns and it was affirmed that the data does was not there. We then contacted the Conversion team- who happened to be in a meeting… an email was sent and messages left…

Two weeks later we have received an email from Softlink stating that they have had problems with the data conversion and have now set a new date for this to occur… Ho hum.

While we learnt a great deal about the new program, enjoyed the company and learnt a great deal about navigating around Oliver, it is difficult to coordinate four different members to be able to take time away from other duties and provide focus to one task in a school setting. One extra hurdle but hopefully the next date, when coordinated, will run smoothly. Stay tuned for part 7…

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

in a Haiku state… completion approaches ~

Student at microfilm reader, c1970s

Student at microfilm reader, c1970s ~ cc shared by LSE Library

 
 
Reading continues-
time to write now, as the end
is fast approaching.
 

The end of another semester is fast approaching and I am feeling pensive as the deadline for my last assignment is one week away. For this task I have been investigating two (future) trends that will impact on libraries in the next five years. For my focus I have chosen digital content creation and mobile technologies. The readings appear insurmountable and, the more I work through the pile the more I feel I need to read/climb to reach the top.

As part of my research, I decided to interview a handful of librarians from different library services. I have recorded the audio of the interviews and my intention is to create a short documentary after I submit my final assignment. At present, I would love to upload all the audio and start the editing process… however, I know this will just prove a diversionary tactic (something I am very good at!). I need to exercise my skill in discipline and focus on writing this final report for completion of my Digital Environments subject.

… then I can enter my creative play-space and continue to learn through play… whilst anticipating the next session…

 

Tags: , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: