Monthly Archives: May 2009

NC in Media: a first look⤴

from @ Digitalkatie's blog

I was at a very interesting session at the AMES conference today on the new National Certificate in Media.

I had been interested in this from the Digital Media Computing perspective. I had been hoping that there would be more crossover with the two NCs but I have been disappointed. It is still an interesting course though.

As with all NCs, students need to do 12 units, six of which are core (compulsory) units.

My hope was that the optional units would include units also on the NC DMC list. My initial idea was that at my school students could do the NC DMC in S3-S5 then in S6 they could pick up the extra units that would be needed for the Media NC. Looking at the Media NC I now realise this would not be possible.

What is interesting is the amount of crossover, where with a bit of planning students could pick up two or more units for a project.

For example, imagine you're teaching video production by doing a project where students film and edit a short film. As long as copyright and file formats are studied and discussed then students could gain the Media: Basic Video Editing unit and the Computing: Video Editing unit. The performance criteria for both units are very similar. Chances are you could also award units in Working With Others and Problem Solving as well.

I think it will require more analysis (and I'm working from memory on the Computing units as I'm on the train home) but I think there is potential for picking up a lot of units in this fashion. They may not lead to a qualification or award in school but it may be that pupils can they go on to complete NCs at FE college.

Another interesting thought is that there is a huge potential for departments collaborating and working together to cover NC units in a shorter period of time. For example students in S5 could do the NC Media across three or four columns involving English, Art, Computing and Business Studies. Saying this, I think it would be more practical and sensible to send the pupils interested in this off to college where they have the skills, resources and equipment to teach TV or Radio to a higher standard.

So why would schools be interested in the NC in Media? It is a flexible course where the core units do not specify a particular industry so it can be adapted to fit skills and interests of the school. The sectors studied can be TV, radio, film, animation, computer games, interactive media, press, advertising, music and literature. The ownership, organisation, jobs roles and regulation within these industries are studied. The creative process is also studied and students then research and develop creative concepts for different platforms.

The course is highly practical. One of the core units is a Media Project (a double unit) and another is Working With Others. Do a big web design or computer game project and that's half of the core units completed already.

The crossovers with the NC in DMC seem to be in video production, radio production / sound recording and basic website development.

The major downside to the NC in Media is there are currently no National Progress Awards. I see this as being crutial to running NCs in schools. The SQA are at the stage of seeing if there is a demand for NPAs in Media. If you are at all interested in teaching this in the future I suggest you contact the SQA and express your NPA desires!

From personal experience I have found the SQA are open to suggestions for NPAs. Julie McLaren at Forrester suggested an NPA in Computer Games Development and now a few of us are planning the awards. We're at an early stage but it is very interesting. 


Don't just moan that the SQA aren't listening - get involved and make suggestions! What do YOU want to teach?!

NC in Media: a first look⤴

from @ Digitalkatie's blog

I was at a very interesting session at the AMES conference today on the new National Certificate in Media.

I had been interested in this from the Digital Media Computing perspective. I had been hoping that there would be more crossover with the two NCs but I have been disappointed. It is still an interesting course though.

As with all NCs, students need to do 12 units, six of which are core (compulsory) units.

My hope was that the optional units would include units also on the NC DMC list. My initial idea was that at my school students could do the NC DMC in S3-S5 then in S6 they could pick up the extra units that would be needed for the Media NC. Looking at the Media NC I now realise this would not be possible.

What is interesting is the amount of crossover, where with a bit of planning students could pick up two or more units for a project.

For example, imagine you're teaching video production by doing a project where students film and edit a short film. As long as copyright and file formats are studied and discussed then students could gain the Media: Basic Video Editing unit and the Computing: Video Editing unit. The performance criteria for both units are very similar. Chances are you could also award units in Working With Others and Problem Solving as well.

I think it will require more analysis (and I'm working from memory on the Computing units as I'm on the train home) but I think there is potential for picking up a lot of units in this fashion. They may not lead to a qualification or award in school but it may be that pupils can they go on to complete NCs at FE college.

Another interesting thought is that there is a huge potential for departments collaborating and working together to cover NC units in a shorter period of time. For example students in S5 could do the NC Media across three or four columns involving English, Art, Computing and Business Studies. Saying this, I think it would be more practical and sensible to send the pupils interested in this off to college where they have the skills, resources and equipment to teach TV or Radio to a higher standard.

So why would schools be interested in the NC in Media? It is a flexible course where the core units do not specify a particular industry so it can be adapted to fit skills and interests of the school. The sectors studied can be TV, radio, film, animation, computer games, interactive media, press, advertising, music and literature. The ownership, organisation, jobs roles and regulation within these industries are studied. The creative process is also studied and students then research and develop creative concepts for different platforms.

The course is highly practical. One of the core units is a Media Project (a double unit) and another is Working With Others. Do a big web design or computer game project and that's half of the core units completed already.

The crossovers with the NC in DMC seem to be in video production, radio production / sound recording and basic website development.

The major downside to the NC in Media is there are currently no National Progress Awards. I see this as being crutial to running NCs in schools. The SQA are at the stage of seeing if there is a demand for NPAs in Media. If you are at all interested in teaching this in the future I suggest you contact the SQA and express your NPA desires!

From personal experience I have found the SQA are open to suggestions for NPAs. Julie McLaren at Forrester suggested an NPA in Computer Games Development and now a few of us are planning the awards. We're at an early stage but it is very interesting. 


Don't just moan that the SQA aren't listening - get involved and make suggestions! What do YOU want to teach?!

DMC: re-evaluating the budget⤴

from @ Digitalkatie's blog

My school is a 20:20 funded school. This means there has been extra funding to run special projects. I was hoping to get funding from the final last bits of funds.

The initial plan was to get five iMacs and set up a separate classroom for media/video work that could be booked by anyone in the school.

We were also hoping to get Adobe Web suite or Design suite. The idea was that I could teach pupils using industry standard software. This would be incredibly valuable for pupils to have on their CVs.

I was told that there maybe enough funds left for this. Later, howver, was told there wasn't enough for the macs and I would only have £2000 for software.

I went away and thought lots and reseached lots. I found three free animation packages, but all drawing based rather than object based like Flash. I don't think my drawing skills are good enough to rely solely on this and I could see kids being turned off animation if their drawings couldn't match their imagination.

There is also the issue that the SQA Animation unit seems to require Adobe Flash (although it doesn't say so). There isn't anything comparible to Flash. The closest I could find was Toon Boom, but the cost is nearly the same so I'd rather go for Flash. Walter McCrorie at Stevenson did tell me about a really cool Toon Boom feature though: you can import video and then draw on top of it, so you could use live action video to turn your friend into a cartoon!

So, my plan was to get 11 copies of Flash, 11 copies of Microsoft Expression Studio (It's not Adobe Web or Design but it has the advantage of free pupil copies for home use) and 10 Bamboo graphics tablets (to use with the free drawing-based animation software).

I've now been told there's maybe only £700 left in the budget so I can have the graphics tablets but that's it.

I think I'd be better getting as many copies of Flash as possible. The pupils could do more as group work, pulling together video, images and sounds that they source or create. The difficulty is initially teaching the application when sharing computers, however I'm working on discussion with Stevenson College and I probably still know a few of the Telford lecturers from when I taught there. Hopefully I should be able to arrange a day or two based at college for the pupils to learn the application (and while I learn too!)DMC: re-evaluating the budget

DMC: re-evaluating the budget⤴

from @ Digitalkatie's blog

My school is a 20:20 funded school. This means there has been extra funding to run special projects. I was hoping to get funding from the final last bits of funds.

The initial plan was to get five iMacs and set up a separate classroom for media/video work that could be booked by anyone in the school.

We were also hoping to get Adobe Web suite or Design suite. The idea was that I could teach pupils using industry standard software. This would be incredibly valuable for pupils to have on their CVs.

I was told that there maybe enough funds left for this. Later, howver, was told there wasn't enough for the macs and I would only have £2000 for software.

I went away and thought lots and reseached lots. I found three free animation packages, but all drawing based rather than object based like Flash. I don't think my drawing skills are good enough to rely solely on this and I could see kids being turned off animation if their drawings couldn't match their imagination.

There is also the issue that the SQA Animation unit seems to require Adobe Flash (although it doesn't say so). There isn't anything comparible to Flash. The closest I could find was Toon Boom, but the cost is nearly the same so I'd rather go for Flash. Walter McCrorie at Stevenson did tell me about a really cool Toon Boom feature though: you can import video and then draw on top of it, so you could use live action video to turn your friend into a cartoon!

So, my plan was to get 11 copies of Flash, 11 copies of Microsoft Expression Studio (It's not Adobe Web or Design but it has the advantage of free pupil copies for home use) and 10 Bamboo graphics tablets (to use with the free drawing-based animation software).

I've now been told there's maybe only £700 left in the budget so I can have the graphics tablets but that's it.

I think I'd be better getting as many copies of Flash as possible. The pupils could do more as group work, pulling together video, images and sounds that they source or create. The difficulty is initially teaching the application when sharing computers, however I'm working on discussion with Stevenson College and I probably still know a few of the Telford lecturers from when I taught there. Hopefully I should be able to arrange a day or two based at college for the pupils to learn the application (and while I learn too!)DMC: re-evaluating the budget

CPD: Game Making by Judy Robertson, Heriot-Watt⤴

from @ Digitalkatie's blog

Judy Robertson from Heriot-Watt University gave a CPD session on Friday. I always like going to HW for meetings. There are ducks and swans there and I get to have lunch with my husband :-)

Here are the notes I made during the session.

Mapping CfE to game making:

Determination to reach high standards - often you will find yourself limiting children's ambitions to achievable targets. Reworking ideas is all part of the creative process.

The are high rewards for low effort at the beginning, but game making isn't simplistic, it stretches pupils skills and creativity.

Resilience is necessary because pupils will have to work and think about their aims in order to get the programming to do what they what.

Peer learning and sharing goes on with pupils as well as teachers collaboration.

CfE Technology Objectives:
TCH2-09a (P7) and TCH3-09a (S1-3)
P7 is just designing, S1-3 is design and implement.
Now not just games but "game, animation or other aplication" which is good.

CfE English Language principles:
"a text is the medium through which ideas, experiences, opinions and information can be communicated"
including "films, games and TV programmes".

We are now all teachers of literacy
As an example of literacy in programming, Judy said her husband once wrote a Prolog poem for her.

Scratch:
Free (big plus point!) and developed by MIT. Kids are learning programing in a really nice way but don't realise. Good teaching resources including 'Scratchcards'. Games can be shared online. It is great for kids to be able to share with kids outside of Scotland. Can change the language easily (eg into Polish)

Gamemaker
Better for older kids. Maybe too difficult for S2.
Free download at yoyogames.com
Excellent textbook and tutorials
http://book.gamemaker.nt/frames.htm

Crayon Physics and Phun
Phun free, Crayon $20. Cross between sketchpads and physics simulations. You can either design levels or play them. OK for a quick lesson on games design but not so good for teaching programing.

Second Life
Free. LTS apparently using OpenSim and integrating it into GLOW.

Adventure Author
Based at HW Uni, supported by EPSRC.
Aims to study the creative process learners go through when making their own computer games.
User-centred design is where users are frequently consulted when developing. Learner-centred design is where teachers and learners are an important part of the development process.
Worked with schools in Edinburgh, Dundee and East Lothian as well as holiday workshops (which are good because it lets kids get absorbed in the process without the bell ringing.
Based on Neverwinter Nights 2 but with free plugins with added educational tools and trickier parts of software removed. Free plugins at www.adventureauthor.org
3D environment which looks good, which is important for motivation.
Fridge Magnets tool is a colour coded design tool.
Conversation Writer tool has a tree branching structure displayed like a play scripts. Conditions possible, for example the first time you meet Cedric Bear he'll tell you a quest. Next time you meet him he'll say something different (depending on whether you've solved the quest)
Comments Card tool has been very successful as a discussion on evaluating the game.
My Tasks tool is a check list tool

Campie Primary School teacher has a blog about the experience. (I missed the link for this though)

We then got a demonstration of how to use Adventure Author and we were then able to try it out ourselves.

Another option suggested was RPG Maker 3000 which is free and doesn't need as powerful graphics card.

There are opportunities for using NWN2 in more depths. The programming is hidden by Adventure Author but can be shown to advanced students.

Suggestions of how to approach teaching Adventure Author:
Let kids "explore the sweety shop until they get sick"! The pupils will learn from just exploring.

Machinima movies are also possible using screen capture.

Judith at St. Augustine's described the difficulties of using this with classes - six weeks of a 50 minute lesson a week can make pupils very frustrated.

Heriot Watt are looking for teachers and schools to be involved in their Making Games In Schools project. The first training session will possibly be in September then a second cohort in November. The training is for 2.5 days at HW. They are ideally looking for two teachers per school, although this would be best to be different subjects. There is a small budget to help with hardware costs.CPD: Game Making by Judy Robertson, Heriot-Watt

CPD: Game Making by Judy Robertson, Heriot-Watt⤴

from @ Digitalkatie's blog

Judy Robertson from Heriot-Watt University gave a CPD session on Friday. I always like going to HW for meetings. There are ducks and swans there and I get to have lunch with my husband :-)

Here are the notes I made during the session.

Mapping CfE to game making:

Determination to reach high standards - often you will find yourself limiting children's ambitions to achievable targets. Reworking ideas is all part of the creative process.

The are high rewards for low effort at the beginning, but game making isn't simplistic, it stretches pupils skills and creativity.

Resilience is necessary because pupils will have to work and think about their aims in order to get the programming to do what they what.

Peer learning and sharing goes on with pupils as well as teachers collaboration.

CfE Technology Objectives:
TCH2-09a (P7) and TCH3-09a (S1-3)
P7 is just designing, S1-3 is design and implement.
Now not just games but "game, animation or other aplication" which is good.

CfE English Language principles:
"a text is the medium through which ideas, experiences, opinions and information can be communicated"
including "films, games and TV programmes".

We are now all teachers of literacy
As an example of literacy in programming, Judy said her husband once wrote a Prolog poem for her.

Scratch:
Free (big plus point!) and developed by MIT. Kids are learning programing in a really nice way but don't realise. Good teaching resources including 'Scratchcards'. Games can be shared online. It is great for kids to be able to share with kids outside of Scotland. Can change the language easily (eg into Polish)

Gamemaker
Better for older kids. Maybe too difficult for S2.
Free download at yoyogames.com
Excellent textbook and tutorials
http://book.gamemaker.nt/frames.htm

Crayon Physics and Phun
Phun free, Crayon $20. Cross between sketchpads and physics simulations. You can either design levels or play them. OK for a quick lesson on games design but not so good for teaching programing.

Second Life
Free. LTS apparently using OpenSim and integrating it into GLOW.

Adventure Author
Based at HW Uni, supported by EPSRC.
Aims to study the creative process learners go through when making their own computer games.
User-centred design is where users are frequently consulted when developing. Learner-centred design is where teachers and learners are an important part of the development process.
Worked with schools in Edinburgh, Dundee and East Lothian as well as holiday workshops (which are good because it lets kids get absorbed in the process without the bell ringing.
Based on Neverwinter Nights 2 but with free plugins with added educational tools and trickier parts of software removed. Free plugins at www.adventureauthor.org
3D environment which looks good, which is important for motivation.
Fridge Magnets tool is a colour coded design tool.
Conversation Writer tool has a tree branching structure displayed like a play scripts. Conditions possible, for example the first time you meet Cedric Bear he'll tell you a quest. Next time you meet him he'll say something different (depending on whether you've solved the quest)
Comments Card tool has been very successful as a discussion on evaluating the game.
My Tasks tool is a check list tool

Campie Primary School teacher has a blog about the experience. (I missed the link for this though)

We then got a demonstration of how to use Adventure Author and we were then able to try it out ourselves.

Another option suggested was RPG Maker 3000 which is free and doesn't need as powerful graphics card.

There are opportunities for using NWN2 in more depths. The programming is hidden by Adventure Author but can be shown to advanced students.

Suggestions of how to approach teaching Adventure Author:
Let kids "explore the sweety shop until they get sick"! The pupils will learn from just exploring.

Machinima movies are also possible using screen capture.

Judith at St. Augustine's described the difficulties of using this with classes - six weeks of a 50 minute lesson a week can make pupils very frustrated.

Heriot Watt are looking for teachers and schools to be involved in their Making Games In Schools project. The first training session will possibly be in September then a second cohort in November. The training is for 2.5 days at HW. They are ideally looking for two teachers per school, although this would be best to be different subjects. There is a small budget to help with hardware costs.CPD: Game Making by Judy Robertson, Heriot-Watt

Big Adventures Small Technologies⤴

from @ Islay ICT

Islay High School has been developing some ‘interesting’ trips. Amongst the usual and wonderful, skiing, Outward Bound, Sports, etc. trips. We have been going for bigger adventures too. This has been developed by one of our Deputy Head Teachers, Stephen Harrison.

The first adventure (Trip is far too small a word these) was in 2003 to Costa Rica. No Blog though lots of memories for those involved.

Though this was the start of the adventure the start of the project was 2 years before that. That is when the pupils committed to going and to raising the funds to go and commit to the training regime.

The second adventure was in 2005 to Ecuador. They tried to Blog but hadn’t quite got the hang of it. Though the photos are wonderful.

The third adventure was to Malawi and this time the Blogging was better but still a bit stilted due to access issues. Though the response on the BBC Island Blogging site was tremendous.

This adventure takes a slightly different format as it is covering 2 countries, Palau and Borneo.

An earlier Blog post gives some of the detail but loads more to come. The pupils have setup a blog and will be starting to post to it soon.

That's the background. This is what I am looking for.

What technologies should they be taking?

I have spoken to one of our suppliers, Lanway, and asked about a small, robust UMPC or netbook. They are suggesting that they can borrow a solid state UMPC with built in Camera (Both Video and still) and takes a SIM card. Though I will have to check out if they can connect to the local network after reading this.

They will also be taking an Olympus SW790 (Thats the one that can be dropped and used in water upto 3m).

I am a little concerned about charging. I have been looking at solar chargers. Anyone know anything?

and lastly GPS tracking………. I am a complete novice at this and would welcome any help.

And the last catch all What would you take?

Looking forward to the responses.

 

Technorati Tags: ,,,

Big Adventures Small Technologies⤴

from @ Islay ICT

Islay High School has been developing some ‘interesting’ trips. Amongst the usual and wonderful, skiing, Outward Bound, Sports, etc. trips. We have been going for bigger adventures too. This has been developed by one of our Deputy Head Teachers, Stephen Harrison.

The first adventure (Trip is far too small a word these) was in 2003 to Costa Rica. No Blog though lots of memories for those involved.

Though this was the start of the adventure the start of the project was 2 years before that. That is when the pupils committed to going and to raising the funds to go and commit to the training regime.

The second adventure was in 2005 to Ecuador. They tried to Blog but hadn’t quite got the hang of it. Though the photos are wonderful.

The third adventure was to Malawi and this time the Blogging was better but still a bit stilted due to access issues. Though the response on the BBC Island Blogging site was tremendous.

This adventure takes a slightly different format as it is covering 2 countries, Palau and Borneo.

An earlier Blog post gives some of the detail but loads more to come. The pupils have setup a blog and will be starting to post to it soon.

That's the background. This is what I am looking for.

What technologies should they be taking?

I have spoken to one of our suppliers, Lanway, and asked about a small, robust UMPC or netbook. They are suggesting that they can borrow a solid state UMPC with built in Camera (Both Video and still) and takes a SIM card. Though I will have to check out if they can connect to the local network after reading this.

They will also be taking an Olympus SW790 (Thats the one that can be dropped and used in water upto 3m).

I am a little concerned about charging. I have been looking at solar chargers. Anyone know anything?

and lastly GPS tracking………. I am a complete novice at this and would welcome any help.

And the last catch all What would you take?

Looking forward to the responses.

 

Technorati Tags: ,,,