Creativity In Education Part 3 Agile Methodology?

Creativity In Education Part 3

Over the last year I have been participating in an interesting study entitled PLPConnectU. Set up by the department of education and in co run by a group Powerful Learning Practice (PLP) it has been tremendous for my own thinking in regards to education.

I am placed in a group called Creativity (which suits me just fine) and as part of our learning we were required to set up a project for our students under the guidelines of a PBL (project based learning) structure.

Together with my colleague Kristen Swenson we developed a unit of work around game creation. If you are interested in reading about the planning for this unit and how we are trying to fit it into the PBL structure Kristen has written and excellent blog charting the planning our big question, learning aims and sub questions as well as and our own reflection.

But to quickly summarize the students had developed a criteria chart for what made a good game , they had rated a few games then we just let them loose on a couple of online game making sites (stensyl, gamesalad and scratch) and they started going for it.

The following week we had an expert come in from a successful game making company and present. His presentation enforced the notion that before and coding (or making of the game) happened everything had to be completely designed to the enth degree.

This approach not only disappointed the students but got me thinking.

In the corporate world there are 2 primary methodologies for software development.

Waterfall – a Sequential linear design process using the following methods.

Requirements, design implementation, verification, maintenance.

Agile is a relatively new methodology that many companies are trying to use to create product (mostly software development). Agile Methodology, came about after waterfall and was an attempt as addressing some of its shortcomings,

While there are many different Agile methods (eg, Scrum, XP, Agile Unified Process) they all embrace the following manifesto as their foundation:

Its manifesto is as follows

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  4. Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on
the right, we value the items on the left more.

Its Principles are as follows

  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer
    through early and continuous delivery
    of valuable software.
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in
    development. Agile processes harness change for
    the customer’s competitive advantage.
  3. Deliver working software frequently, from a
    couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a
    preference to the shorter timescale.
  4. Business people and developers must work
    together daily throughout the project.
  5. Build projects around motivated individuals.
    Give them the environment and support they need,
    and trust them to get the job done.
  6. The most efficient and effective method of
    conveying information to and within a development
    team is face-to-face conversation.
  7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  8. Agile processes promote sustainable development.
    The sponsors, developers, and users should be able
    to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence
    and good design enhances agility.
  10. Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount
    of work not done–is essential.
  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs
    emerge from self-organizing teams.
  12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how
    to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts
    its behaviour accordingly.

The expert seemed to be presenting to us from a waterfall approach. I got to thinking how much my approach to education fitted so much more with the agile methodology. It encourages continual change, it encourages the idea that the imagination will develop with the approach and therefore the project needs to be adaptive to flow with the imagination of the creator. It also emphasises the need to work quickly and have many small victories – continuous creative work and searching is going to stimulate the mind allowing for the environment for the big idea to push out (see my last blog).

My personal favourites are principle 5. The environment and support and trust must be provided that in order to get the job done. If we are moving into a more creative education – one that moves away from the dominance of left brain centred literacy and numeracy, we must change our environment. I have spoken many times of the need to find time in order to enable students to develop creative thinking, we must trust them which means as teachers we remove ourselves from the position of authority and rather into one of facilitator – find the resources that the students are going to demand in order to get there ideas out. Help shape their learning but be aware that they will move into areas you have no idea about and be comfortable about that. (I know very little about game programming but am comfortable that I can help guide the students to places where they can find the knowledge they need.

Other points that the above principles talk about that appeal to my sense of good creativity are the use of collaborative teams, reflection and the pursuit of excellent design.

The Agile approach also speaks about the need to be fearless in the constant pursuit of ideas but it gives you the means to respond to change.

By breaking things down into smaller deliverable packages it makes itself adaptable. To use an Australian context, Myki and the Ultranet are two examples of Waterfall methodologies that might have had better success if they had taken more of an Agile approach.

In regards to education I like setting up creative projects for students that allow for ideas to develop, change, be dumped and ultimately, hopefully allow for a new creative thought to pop out.

I think in regards to the game making project we are working on we aren’t going to plan it down to the finest detail before letting kids get into the making – if nothing else it would bore the kids to death.

Creativity in Education Part 2

What are we talking about when we say we are trying to encourage a complete creative approach to education. Why is the desire in all man to create so powerful and therefore so important for our education system to support.

Creativity is a new thought, but as we all know there is no truly new thought. Every new creation or thought has such strong links to all preceding thought, new thought can be thought of a merely development of existing thought.

Copyright becomes more and more of an issue in education as it has been for the arts since the ridiculous notion of intellectual property came into common thought. There are many many good papers written presenting counter arguments to our current selfish and ignorant copyright laws so I wont go to far into that except to say the laws show complete ignorance of the process of the creative idea, how it is always linked into a historical context and how all creative acts require a lineage of previous. (If you are truly interested in finding develping some understanding about copyright than this would be a great place to start http://www.plunderphonics.com/xhtml/xplunder.html) Sampling or sample based music is a good example of the truly creative act that requires previously existing work to reference. Without the previose work which can be taken and rearranged there would be no sample based music or art. And sampling is no new idea, Rembrant referenced his preceding masters, Beethoven quotes previous composers work in many of his compositions in fact everyone who has ever created anything in some way samples. Quotation in your work , as well as being a form of flattery is also a means of acknowledging the ideas that preceded yours. Without them your creative work might not exists. Ones take on the preceding idea is where things become interesting. Or to put it another way, what you do with that already existing idea is what is truly original personal and creative.

Our schooling systems need to encourage this “personal take” idea. Where does this happen in our current timetables?

As a composer I know there are many times in my life I have no ideas and there are other times when the ideas are pouring out of me at a rate that is almost to fast for me to get them all written. These are the times when it feels everything has fallen into place and life is in some sort of Zone. I am experienced enough in my own life to recognise these periods. When they are occuring I work very hard to produce as much as possible. I do this because I know how hard it is to get to these Zones. I also recognize that when I am not in these Zones I do everything in my power to try and get back there. This includes, investigation, experimenting, trying new ideas, failing, listening, looking at everything with my eyes open, reading, searching and basically hunting for the next idea.

My musical ideas these days rarely come from listening to other music, instead the concepts come might come from the reading I have done. For example I have recently read a lot of Cormack McCarthy novels. Rather than the stories contained in the novel it is the atmosphere he manages to create with words, the deep philspohical concepts behind his words that triggered my mind and ignited musical ideas that I have been struggling with for perhaps the last 15 years. It also triggered a more thorough investigation into a couple of composers who I had flirted with in the past, Morton Feldman and Olivier Messiahn. It was the novels that allowed my head to finally make sence of a musical and conceptual problem I hadn’t been able to resolve for years. This then lead to me studying other artists working in a similar area which ultimatly culminated in a body of work being composed. This work has recently been recorded and will be released. The actual period of high creativity lasted 2 weeks but the work period I did to get there took about a year and a half. The process for the creative act actually involved a long period of creative thinking.

It takes time.

School needs to be encouraging this and providing the time. Our school timetables are ridiculously over crowded. Our almost religious belief in numeracy and literacy as being subjects of the highest importance is a lazy lie that we choose to believe because it makes our jobs easier. It takes great courage for an educational institution to back away from the current importance given to these subjects because you now enter into a fight with society, parents, data managers bureaucrats looking for something to present to the politicians above them etc but it needs to happen. I love technology because it provides almost endless platforms for children to create in, or to express themselves. That is why at the school I work at we have invested hugely in technology – because it can be personalised. A child can do whatever he can think of with it. An education system that encourages and fosters creativity is a system that is working on a far deeper level than the one that places numeracy and literacy at the top and virtually ignores everything else.

We have a workforce crying out for innovation – how is our education system working to provide for that. At what point are we teaching the thinking process that leads to the creative act?

In a study by Eysenck (1995) and Martindale (1999) they proposed that creativity is characterized by cognitive disinhibition. Cognitive disinhibition is hypothesized to underlie many of the cognitive processes that have been associated with creative cognition, such as defocused attention and wide associative horizon. Whereas Eysenck (1995) argued that lower cognitive inhibition is a relatively permanent characteristic of the thinking style of creative people, Martindale (1 999) has argued that creative people can focus or defocus attention depending on task demands. At what point in our numeracy and literacy focused curriculum do we allow for DEFOCUSED ATTENTION. or is it all just about learning the skills required to get to the next level?

For a more academic read of what I have been writing about please read Andrew Williamson’s essay.He talks about similar ideas with strong references to academic research in the area. Particulate of interest is where Andrew writes about the thinking process required including Cognitive acceleration and cognitive dissonance. Link To Andrews Essay

Creativity in Education Part 1: Let’s Allow For More Confusion In Our Classrooms

Currently, I am involved in a project titled PLP Connect U, a joint project with the Department of Education and Powerful Learning Practice. It is a fairly open-ended project designed around creating better learning and teaching practice through the development of networks and communities of learners. The approach seems to be a fairly organic one where outcomes are not set in stone but are variable depending on where the groups push or pull them. This approach creates some somewhat messy and interesting discussions and generates Confusion. Confusion is one of my favorite states and a state I thoroughly endorse when it comes to teaching practice as it seems to allow for new models of unexpected thinking to push forward through. I was recently at a conference where clarity was the buzz phrase. Students must have total clarity of the desired learning outcome to better enhance their learning ability.

For me, that is a method that, while having some merit, sometimes is not necessarily something that will lead to new thinking within the student’s mind, so it, therefore, has its limitations.

I am part of a group within the PLPConnectU Project entitled Creativity, and it is full of great thinkers trying to deepen their student’s educational experiences and allow for a more creative approach to learning. We were recently asked to comment on what we were wondering about, and I replied with the following.

I am wondering about the following things I’ve read recently. While sounding esoteric, they might actually be relevant in a group with the title creativity,

The first is a short statement by Arthur Rimbaud, a French Poet

“I say a man must be a seer. Make oneself a seer. The poet makes himself a seer by a lengthy, massive and deliberate disordering of all the senses.” 

Secondly, a statement that follows similar lines is found in a book called The Art of Looking Sideways.

“Creativity is a compulsive human urge which demands ritual actions or routine responses and is valid only when one is trading beyond experiences.”

The word Creativity is frequently appropriated to enhance the mediocre or justify the mundane. That ceaseless and frenetic activity -easy to mistake for purposeful action – only produces noise and aggregate without anything new to say. No new thoughts no magic moments, just more activities in which process becomes product. The truly creative act is something else. It produces something which never existed before. Whether of minor consequence or great significance. A glimpse of the blindingly obvious ignited by the heat of the wires caused by short, circuiting thoughts. Insight is unreasoning.

Of course, what might appear to be a spontaneous thought may well have been a long time cooking in the unconscious.”

I think these two comments make powerful statements about true Creativity requiring a lot of work and space and dedication and support to allow it to find its way through because to “deliberately disorder all the senses” is a courageous and difficult thing to try. Reordering of the senses is about realigning meaning to everything or reassigning different meanings to things.

This is something I personally do a lot of and it has come to influence almost all of my art practice. I know how difficult it is to do and its consequences are sometimes very confusing. Sometimes by reassigning meaning, you actually rub up against society and the norms of society, which can be very powerful things. But generally, out of that Confusion comes a moment of absolute inspiration. This is the creative thought. This is a new thought, this is what allows me to perceive the future, and this would never have come to me if I had been told the intention of the lesson. So confusion can be a good thing. I wonder how much we allow our students to live in it. 

Creativity is so much more than providing an art lesson or finger painting or whatever other process-based work you would like to see an outcome to.. it is about a commitment to original thought and the difficult process that actually is.

Feel free to comment; these are just thoughts I am trying to better formulate in my own mind regarding teaching practice.

Announcing my Latest Musical Project: Collider.

Some thoughts behind my music

A relatively New Band of mine, Collider, will be performing this weekend at the closing party for the Melbourne JaZZ Fringe Festival closing party Big Arse Sunday SUnday the 8th May at 303

Collider is a band that consists of trombone, tenor saxophone, drums and a string section of violin, viola and double bass. It creates a very unique and interesting sound.

Band Members are

Myself – Trombone

Adam Simmons – Sax

Andrea Keeble – Violin

Jason Dunn – Viola

Ronny Ferella – Drums

Anita Hustas – Double Bass

The other interesting aspect of the band is that everyone in it is a very strong composer in their own right which has allowed us to pursue a different approach to how the band chooses to perform. Rather than getting a bunch of tunes up we have decided to approach each future performance as an opportunity for one member of the ensemble to compose for the band. In the past both Adam and myself have composed music for various concerts and Andrea and Anita have composed work for performances at The Womans JaZZ Festival. On June 22 we will be presenting new work by Ronnie and Anita as part of th La Mamma Music series.

I have also had my head down writing for the group. My new work is a really stripped back approach to composition. I am attempting to focus in on the purity of sound and therefore trying to pair back anything I have written that is unnecessary. The idea of a purity of sound also has certain religious connotations to me, something I have avoided for a long period of my life but feel ready to tackle now. The obvious reference points for this new music I am struggling with would be Messiaen and the stark music of Morton Feldman.

For a review of the bands recent gig here is a link from AusJaZZ.net

Better teaching and learning with blogging

Over the past four years our school has an intensive blogging program. Every child from grade 3 up has a blog. This has been incredibly useful in regrads to us skilling up both students and staff in web 2.0 tools. Skills such as uploading, posting, embedding, dealing with templates and so on are all very effectivly taught through blogging. Our students were mainly using their blogs as digital portfolios. In this format students are uploading content but not really doing much else.

While this skill learning is very important it is really only very basic learning and I was looking for a way to deepen both the learning experience as well as teaching using the blogging platform.

I met Richard Olsen at a recent forum on blogging and he presented a model which does exactly what I was looking for. This is a model that he along with his team at Ideas Lab had constructed along with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach of PLP Network.

The four interlinking circles all show a different phases that a learner would move through while blogging. Each phase offering different skills and learning potentials. I imagine that the phases would be moved through seamlessly. Each phase also has implications for the teacher. For instance the connecting phase would result in the teacher having to teach methods of research as well as critical consumption of information.

The communication stage which has the role of sharing information and repurposing information would lead to the implication of understanding copyright and so on.

The real power of blogging comes when linking into these ideas. Practical examples of things you can do to link into these ideas are
1.Blogs have much more power when they are niche blogs as they allow the blogger to connect to a community, they set up stronger parameters for an audience for the blog, beyond the child’s parents and grandparents making it much more authentic.

2.When the comment box is used effectively it also allows for greater connectivity, it leads to deeper discussion, potential for questions and perhaps even debate. We need to teach our students how to comment effectively in order to create discussion.

3.When tagging and categories are done correctly the same happens. Children should be taught to tag for others not just themselves.

4.Blogs allow us to work collaboratively – there is always more knowledge in the group than the individual.

5. We also need to teach our students how to link effectively – this creates a broader knowledge base.

6. Students should be taught how to subscribe to other blogs, thus deepening their knowledge base and community base.

I presented these ideas to my staff and received overwhelmingly positive response. The model that Richard and his team has come up with is a good one as it provides a language that allows us to talk about blogging relative to our teaching practice, it also gives both pedagogical and practical ideas on how to take the idea of student blogging and transform it  or develop it to a deeper learning experience. It is also a model that I feel can be translated to alot of digital literacy’s. Many teachers are STILL unaware of how to apply ICT into their classrooms and see it as being some sort of nuisance rather than required. Models like this one provide substance to those teachers and are very beneficial.

How we choose to use tech at Our School and how it’s unlike whatever you’re doing at yours.

This year at North Fitzroy Primary School, myself and Andrew Williamson (joint ICT Coordinator) decided to trial the use of hand held devises in the classroom primarily for the use of numeracy and literacy.The recent Horizon Report put the use of mobiles as a technology that will be common place in the classroom within the next three years. I believe that one of the responsibilities of an ICT coordinator is to drive curriculum and one of the effective ways of doing this is to hand responsibility for new technologies over to people other than yourself. To often the ICT coordinator is the holder of all knowledge and hasn’t developed the ability to inspire other staff members or empower them with a sense of ownership in regards to ICT curriculum. If we are wanting ICT to move seamlessly into all parts of the curriculum this has to be a key responsibility of the ICT coordinators role.
We choose two of our staff members who were already on the ICT SIT (Strategic Implementation Team) team.
Kristen Swenson and Khamal Sarkis.
They both already had a good understanding of technology and were excited by new developments. We then gave them 5 ipod touches each and told them to play around with them and see what they could come up with. With all new technologies time has to be given for experimentation and play before an effective system can be put into place. However the ipod touches are so intuitive that it wasn’t to long before apps had been downloaded and they were quickly established as part of the rotation cycle used in both literacy and numeracy groups.
The almost instant effect that the touches had in areas of student engagement has lead to a huge amount of interest from many other staff members and we decided to purchase a class set for all the grade 1s and 2s. Interest was also generated by deciding to run a PD session with staff members to demonstrate what Khamal and Kristen had been doing. We also decided to purchase IPads for the teachers as these were more effective for the teacher to model lessons on due to there larger size. Interestingly the teachers who work in a support capacity (working with children with difficulties) were very excited about the prospect of using them. Another group which has shown great interest is the group of staff members who might not be so taken by technology because of whatever reason. Once again it is the intuitiveness and relative ease of use of the touches which has gotten them interested and it is a great way to begin to introduce new technologies to that sector of your staff.
If you go down this road as a school you will have to figure out how you are going to build your touches and ipads into your existing network system. They can link seemlesly into your wireless but you will have to devise a way to purchase the apps. Itunes will let you link 5 different ipods to each program
I have included a couple of powerpoint demonstrations that Kristen and Khamal gave at our ARM as well as some of their brief notes to further demonstrate what were doing
Kristen Swenson’s Presentation
https://docs.google.com/present/embed?id=ddt4s8d2_1757c8pvfp
Kristens notes:

The Grade two classes are now in the process of setting up the Itouches and working collaboratively to plan some great activities. Each teacher is able to work off the same account and share many of the terrific apps we have found. In literacy we can use the Ipod touches to support the development of foundational skills such as handwriting, grammar, vocabulary and spelling. Teachers can also record guided reading sessions and students can developed their comprehension skills by reading and listening to audio books and podcasts. The Ipod touches can also be used to support creativity and record reflections and thoughts. Some of the new apps we have been enjoying are:

  • Maths Bingo
  • inumberplay
  • Flash Maths
  • Extinct Eggs
  • Crack the Code
  • SentenceSpin
  • Rory’s Story Cube
  • Dinomixer
  • Comic Touch
  • I Write Words
  • JumbleLine
  • Whiteboard
  • Word Bubble

Ipod touches transform the classroom from a teacher-centred classroom to a students-centred classroom. They are extremely easy to manipulate and are very intuitive and visual, which is particularly essential for children who are beginner readers. The touches are fast and allow students to access the Internet in two touches. There is no our messing about with logins, loading and heavy texts. They really enhance our teaching and learning program and are not just a gimmicky add on! They change the dynamics of the classroom and allow the children to bring technology into their world and programs – not they other way around! And most importantly the children are extremely enthusiastic and motivated to use them.
Khamal’s Presentation
https://docs.google.com/present/embed?id=ddt4s8d2_57c8m9zqcr

Khamal’s notes

Slide 1

  • new learning tool
  • provides an interactive domain for learning and engagement
  • an alternative form of discourse between student and teacher
  • examples

slide 2-

  • Early years- number recognition using a wide variety of teaching formats and mediums to cater to different learning abilities and preferences.
  • Itouch can be used to count and model numbers using outlines that must be traced with fingers.
  • The interactive nature of the tool creates the impression in the student that all we’re doing is playing a game.
  • Recognizing numbers in their different forms.

Slide 3

  • A number of counting programs
  • Very open ended including negatives and decimals
  • A wide variety of visual examples and activities to keep the activities interesting and fresh
  • Can eventually create own counting activities and patterns

Slide 4-

  • Multiple choice option allows students to answer confidently and also helps teachers to keep track of student capabilities.
  • Further creates the impression of a ‘game’ being played with the use of sound effects and graphics.

Slide 5-

  • Memory testing
  • Memorising sequences and patterns using different methods and processes
  • Open ended – increases in difficulty and can use diffenent images and even sounds
  • Location skills

Slide 6-

  • identifying shapes
  • creating shapes
  • using shapes to create images
  • manipulating shapes (flip, slide and turn)

Slide 7-

  • interactive tool
  • effective communications skills
  • collaborative
  • very engaging

Slide 8-

  • time zones
  • identifying analogue and digital
  • using both types simultaneously
  • interactive games in teams (draw an analogue time, another fill s in the digital)

Slide 9-

  • able to set level of difficulty
  • flexible and broad range of skills that may be required if selected
  • open ended
  • gives an indication of how the student is going
  • uses different learning and teaching skills, for eg, aural, visual and physically involving
  • uses colour- kids respond and distinguish better with colour

Slide 10

  • Weather
  • Time
  • Map reading
  • Addresses
  • Calculators
  • Maths dictionaries
  • Note taking
  • Drawing
  • Recording
  • Photography
  • Work presentation
  • Publication

Slide 11

  • Engagement- a tool that kids respond to beyond paper and pencil

Composing with Grade 5 and 6 children

As I have mentioned previously composition is at the heart of my philosophy when it comes to music education. It is also what starts to make your music classes exciting and moves them beyond the some times mundane experience of teaching skills or singing songs.

With the grade 5 and 6 students this term we are focusing on a number of compositional styles.

These include

1. Composing with Melodic Instruments

2. Minimalism

3. Chance compositions

4. Composing soundtracks

5. Composoing with Text

5. Composing Machine Compsitions

These are all styles that are very accessible to children and there are lots of great examples on you tube of composers using these ideas as the basis for their own music. Composers like John Cage and the concepts he introduced always fascinate children.

The first four weeks were spent on Composing With Melody and to do this we used our diatonic instruments. Initially to children almost everything sounds good when composing with diatonic instruments so it gets things rolling quickly and gives you a chance to help them refine their ideas.

I always get them to write four parts into this composition. A bass line a melody line a chordal accompanyment and a percussion part and initially explain the roles of each of those parts. I then get them to add a B section which we decide to be something different to the A section and something short. A chance to provide a point of difference in the music. At the end of each week I film the children and one quick viewing at the start of the next week is all that is required for them to remember where they were up to. Depending on your philosophy regarding notation you could get them to notate but I find that childrens ears are generally pretty good and notation merely slows the composition process at this stage.

In the following weeks I will blog about how I go about teaching the other musical styles and upload some video.

But here is a video of a couple of completed Melodic Pieces

Demonstrated Learnings in Movie Making

Since uploading the last movie I have been involved in a number of discussions with parents who are concerned that traditional learning methods are being forgotten when we focus on things like movie making.

So I took the trouble to create a list of demonstrated learnings according to VELS that are demonstrated in he movie example I have below. (This follows on from my previous post about film making in the classroom). The areas I looked at where ICT, Literacy and The Arts and while the initial learnings are quite low level skills based learnings it quickly develops into deeper learnings

Here is the list feel free to add or argue against it.

Demonstrated Learning According to VELS  in the areas of Literacy, ICT

Music and the Arts (Up to level 6)

1. Mouse Skills

2. Ability to locate websites (to upload video)

3. Ability to create graphics

4. File Naming and saving

5. Linking and communication between up to three different programs

6. Search engine familiarization

7. Use of Digital Cameras and tripods

8. Rendering

9. Use of concept mapping tools

10. Use of graphic organization program

11. Developing electronic portfolio

12. Understanding Networks

13. In depth use of formatting ideas to suit an audience

14. Demonstrates original ideas

15. Documents original ideas

16. Sharing information with peers

17. Demonstrate an understanding of 2 dimensional art

18. Use of code to imbed data

19. Editing to better represent ideas

20. Script writing with intended audience

21. Demonstrate understanding of narrative

22. Cinematography

23. Apply music and other abstract concepts to add meaning

24. Applying imagery to infer meaning

25. Working collaboratively

26. Student centred learning

27. Demonstrate problem solving skills

28. Storyboarding

29. Character, plot and setting development

30. Note taking

31. Summarizing notes

32. Analysis of a popular genre

33. Synthesis of a popular genre

34. Vocabulary demonstration and spelling strategies

35. Preparing a case

36. Annotated storyboarding

37. Use of visual symbols and camera shots

38. Editing to distinguish core from peripheral ideas

39. Contextual understanding

40. Cohesion

41. Viewpoint

42. Control of linguistic structures and features

43. Appropriate choice of language

44. Use of flashback

45. Resolution of a text

46. Inclusion of complex sentences with embedded clauses and phrases

47. Complex text which may include experimentation with different techniques

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=7384819&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=00adef&fullscreen=1

EYT MOVIE from North Fitzroy Primary School on Vimeo.

This is a movie created by North Fitzroy Primary School grade 6 students as part of a Extend Your Talents program.

Movie Making and literacy skills

In term 3 this year I worked with a group of year 6 children with the idea of creating a movie. Movie making is fantastic because it works on so many levels that I think are important in regards to education.

The most basic level it works on is ICT skills. Kids will learn how to use hardware such as cameras, lights, tripods, zooms, microphones, mixing desks etc. They will also learn how to use software programs such as IMovie, final cut etc.

I Movie is a great place to start but if your moving into some more indepth learning in regards to multipl camera, the importance of sound etc you will quickly become frustrated with it and that is where a far more powerful program such as final cut express will become very useful. I was initially doubtful about the kids ability to use a more high end product such as FC but once again I was surprised to discover that with a very short introduction by myself the kids were all over the program instinctivly.

Other ICT skills include uploading, downloading, saving to a server, cutting of files, manipulation of files, integration of different software etc etc all part of the VELS expectancies for ICT.

But that is all base level learning on a far deeper level kids will be expected to create a narrative, manipulate that to suit the format of film, storyboard, gain an understanding of the language of film which includes ideas such as power that a camera angle can generate, rule of thirds and other film concepts. They are also learning the importance of music to the medium of film. Music is fulfilling a very different role to what they might be used to and should be treated differently. Also this is a great time to use sound as music that they might not normally associate with music. Scraping or scratching sounds or anything you like can all be arranged in a meaningful and powerful way to enhance the visual concepts. These are all powerful literacy concepts.

But beyond that againg there is the ideas of student centered learning. The kids are creating personal, meanigful things not another task set by the teacher. The teacher is acting merely as the facilitator, guiding the learning to a deeper place. The ownership of the product gives the students motivation and a greater sense of enjoyment which always enhances learning. In my role as teacher for this project I introduced the idea, showed them some simple concepts and ten basically handed it over to them, always assisting when needed and giving guidance when appropriate

Kids also need to learn how to create as part of a group. One person needs to be the director or leader who takes ultimate reponsibility, others need to fulfill important roles, such as actors, camera men editors etc for a successfully created product.

Finally filmmaking is a great way to use ICT to provide another medium for children to express their creativity and their thoughts. Creative expression is one of if not the most iportant part of life.  Humans have a desire to create and if we can use ICT to better enable children to do that while effectivly communicating their creations to others than that is fantastic..

Here is the movie.

Kynan

This is a movie created by North Fitzroy Primary School grade 6 students as part of a Extend Your Talents program.

Skazz Tour Korea – Jamaican Ska Played By An Australian Band in Korea?

Playing in a Jamaican Ska band full of Australians to an audience full of Koreans. I couldn’t think of anything better to be doing with my days and nights.

Today kicks off an 8 day tour with the band Skazz I have successfully managed to negotiated getting the king size bed while my room mate had to settle for the single bed. Always a stressful but important task to be handled with much care when touring. If handled incorrectly you can create an enemy for yourself for the rest of your stay in that particular hotel. My tactic was to surround the bed with my luggage thus claiming my territory, while still allowing him access to the bed by not actually placing a bag on it. While it would take a brave soul to actually do that they are still left with the feeling that they had some choice in the matter.
There will be many tales which I will tell using the means of this blog but to give you an idea of what this very cool band is about here is a video