Saturday, July 8, 2017

Words of Wisdom: crafting digital texts creatively and collaboratively

Words of Wisdom - a workshop at the AATE/ALEA national conference Hobart 2017

Workshop outline
How does literacy and learning differ in classrooms where students have access to personal devices and online tools? What are the pedagogical implications for digital writing instruction? In this workshop we explore how teachers can support students to effectively craft multimodal digital texts appropriate to audience and purpose.

It will be argued that teachers need a deep understanding of the creative workflows for planning and producing digital texts. Furthermore they need to establish a participatory culture, utilising online tools such as Edmodo and Google apps, to promote collaboration and maximise student creativity and critical thinking.

This workshop draws on recommendations from the “iLearn Anywhere Project”, a longitudinal study (2014-2016) in which 500 primary students utilised iPads as a personal learning tool.

Participants will investigate classroom case studies, including the ‘Words of Wisdom’ project, for evidence of the pedagogical strategies and supports used to facilitate the digital authoring process.

iLearn Anywhere project background
In 2014, eight Catholic Education primary schools engaged in a 1-1 ipad trial to support their learning, particularly in Literacy and Numeracy.  The iLearn Anywhere website documents the project and provides the supporting resources.

Words of Wisdom workshop presentation slides

Click on the images to download.

Words of Wisdom

The Board Game project


iLearn literacy, numeracy and religious education in a 1 to 1 iPad classroom video

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Multi-modal text creation with the Book Creator App in Stage 1

The Book Creator App is a simple but powerful digital book creation App. It provides students with the opportunity to work with digital technologies to create texts that incorporate a range of multi-modal elements through the ability to incorporate text, photos, drawings, sound and video.  Additionally the new feature to be able to share privately or embed their books publicly via a teacher account provides even more options for publishing to a wider authentic audience.

The Book Creator App can support teachers to engage students in the range of modes and skills required to meet the English K-10 syllabus outcomes:

  • Speaking and listening (communicating)
  • Reading and Viewing
  • Writing and Representing
Skills:  * Grammar, Punctuation and Vocabulary  *Spelling   *Responding and Composing    *Handwriting and using digital technologies  *Thinking imaginatively and creatively  *Expressing themselves  *Reflecting on learning

Stage 1 Activity
In a recent activity, Year 2 students students were introduced to the Book Creator App and were asked to create a simple digital book about their favourite animal in the App in pairs.

Learning Intention
Use Book Creator App on the iPad to create an ebook about our favourite animal

Success Criteria
Know how to:
  • Use different strategies to capture a drawing of our favourite animal - draw straight into App, draw on paper and take a photo and add to book
  • Use the camera to capture a photo of ourselves for our book
  • Add a title for our book
  • Change the background colour of our page to personalise our book
  • Add audio to capture our thinking
Task instructions
  • Work in pairs
  • On the iPads go to Book Creator
  • Start a new book with the + button
  • On the cover use the + button take a photo of the two in pair plus add a title
  • On the first page the first person in the pair will use the draw tool to draw their favourite animal and type the name of the animal
  • The second person will draw in their reading group books their animal and then go to next page and use the photo tool to take a photo of it and add to the book
  • Each person then interviews the other using the recording option on that person page about why it is their favourite animal and adds the recording.
Sample books from students after first session
Viewed via the new Book Creator teacher account embed option.
Feedback on the activity
  • Students were writing and representing their knowledge through drawings and text.
  • Students choice of animal as well as the ability to personalise their book allowed them to express their own individual style and knowledge in the task.
  • The interview aspect using the recording feature developed student's speaking and listening communication skills
  • The features of the Book creator App engaged the students to think creatively and discover different ways of representing their knowledge.
  • Helped lower achievers show their learning and build their confidence
  • Students were able to problem solve and work together. Very confident by the end of the session
  • Allowed students to be more engaged in their learning
Ideas for developing further skills with Book Creator for Year 2
  • Warm up - a Mr Squiggle type drawing
  • Ability to layer and lock layers - maybe build on a plan of their house, or what would characters  look like - prediction. So they learn about layers, can build on things, design mentality do things in parts
  • Build vocabulary - a word then next student does a drawing for the word and then next student guesses what it is and writes the word and then so on - for 6-8 times (based on Tellestrations game)
  • Write sentences and then use the read to me feature to check spelling and grammar construction of the sentence
  • Embed video for example a science experiment that the students record
  • Hyperlinks to web resources via text (press down on the word to select it in text edit mode and then choose hyperlink)
  • Oral feedback onto their books from teachers
  • Portfolio of their learning - say in science, geography or history

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Across the Ocean - a whale's story - a beautiful interactive school created narrative

A beautiful interactive audio visual iBook has been created from the writing, artwork and music from K-6 students at St Canice’s Catholic Primary School Katoomba around the story of a whale and her calf.

Students were inspired to create the story, to connect with a sculpture they had created and installed at Scenic World Katoomba.  It follows the adventure of the baby whale, Isaac, separated from his mother in a storm at sea and his encounters with a submarine and a island of garbage.

Student's created the storyline and artwork to go with the Whale story and then with the support of Principal Mark Geerligs, Teaching Educator - Music, Phil Rooke and classroom music teacher Kristina Frazer they also created music reflective of the story which was incorporated into a communal iBook.

The purpose of the soundtracks were to provide a musical soundscape to the whale sculpture and the story. The challenge was for the whole school to contribute to and create the soundscape from available sound sources; eg instruments in the classroom, body percussion and voice.

The sound samples were recorded in class on March 2017 in groups from Kindergarten to year 6 and in the case of Kindergarten, year 1 & 2, a whole class choir was formed to record the actual ‘whale song’.

This sound track features some deep sounds and also some spatial effects. For example, the baby whales appear at the beginning and are chasing after the mother whale - the mother whale (The "Hmmm" recorded by Kindergarten) can be heard deeper down and mixed more to the centre of the track. The Baby whales (The "woo" recorded by year 1 class) is a 'call and response' which shifts around the stereo field from the left to the right in response to the much deeper "mother whale"

How schools can use this iBook
Schools can use this as a stimulus for writing narrative both in digital and print form.  Using an iPad students can create a similar ebook using Book Creator by creating the text with artwork either digitally with an App like Brushes or via including a photo of a  physically created artwork.  Then students can record relevant music or audio to accompany the Book Creator ebook.

Where you can get Across the Oceans - a whale's story iBook 
You can download the iBook for free from the iBooks store at Across the Ocean - a whale's story.  Remember that you can download iBooks to an iPad or to the latest Macbook with OSX 10.9 as long as you have the free iBooks App on the Mac.