Question – What do shapes and underpants have in common?
Answer – A maths/art lesson with some reading for enjoyment thrown in for good measure.
At snack time I read my class the Aliens/Dinosaurs love underpants series of books by Claire Freeman and Ben Cort. The children loved the stories. This gave me an idea to have the children design their own underpants. As they were learning about shape and pattern I used this as a basis for their designs.
The children had a choice of underpants and were able to create their design either by printing shapes or using coloured dots.
I created washing lines to display the underpants, using craft mini pegs to attach the pegs to the string.
Memes and animated gifs abound in social media. You don’t have to look too long online to see these appear, often being shared and shared by many people via their social media accounts, or prominent on webpages or blogposts to draw in the reader to find out more about a story or data.
Having learners create their own memes or animated gifs can support their learning across all areas of the curriculum. The process of demonstrating understanding of a concept involves learners in reflecting on their learning, often discussing with others to test the depth of that understanding, and then finding creative ways to present the information to others. Where learners are encouraged to make these animated gifs or memes to demonstrate their understanding of concepts they are reflecting on what the key points are, they are summarising, in effect creating a visual précis of information.
So what is an animated gif?
Animated gifs are short animations lasting just a few seconds, sometimes just a sequence of related images, sometimes a short looping segment or clip of a video, sometimes a stop-motion style of inanimate objects brought to life to convey a message.
Image Memes generally may consist of a single photograph with text along the top and foot of the image, sometimes black top and bottom borders where bold white text is superimposed. The text is often in capitalised Impact font.
The text is usually very short and the text along the top can often be the draw to bring in the viewer, and then the text along the foot can spin the idea to make the reader reflect on the issue, often with humorous effect.
Where learners might make memes and animated gifs
Animated gifs and memes present messages in a visual, attention-grabbing way, to make those who view them stop and think. The most thought-provoking memes and animated gifs distil what can be a complex concept into the main idea which can be understood in just a few seconds.
A Mental Health and Wellbeing project, AyeMind, (which inspired this blogpost after a presentation by Dr Trevor Lakey, Health Improvement and Inequalities manager with NHSGGC) developed by the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde along with partner organisations, has a fantastic website to be a part of providing positive mental health support for children and young people.
Part of this was about digital inclusion, and using the tools, platforms and means of communications familiar to children and young people to engage and share. Part of this project was enabling talking about mental health issues in a positive, supportive environment and giving the children and young people a voice and opportunity to make better use of the Internet, social media and mobile technologies. The memes and animated gifs on the AyeMind project website were created by children and young people as part of the project.
How to create an animated gif
There are a number of free online tools which let users create an animated gif. When using in an educational setting it would be prudent to check for suitability of advertising or galleries of user-created content which is rarely moderated.
Ideally find a tool which just offers the tool for creation of the animated gif. Each tool which creates an animated gif may provide different options such as the limit on the number of images which can be uploaded, the option to control the speed or frame-rate of the animation, the size of the output animated gif image, and sometimes further options. Some simply provide the option for users to specify the location of an already uploaded video online, and the starting and finishing point for the clip animated gif to be created.
The Young Scot website AyeMind project page provides an excellent outline of an activity for involving children and young people in deciding on the message they wish to convey and then shows step-by-step how to use either an online tool or a mobile app to create an animated gif. There are also plenty of example of memes and animated gifs created by children and young people on the Young Scot website AyeMind project page and an outline guide providing the steps to running a session with children, young people or adults on coming up with the ideas and then moving to making the memes or animated gifs.
Online tools or mobile apps for creating an animated gif:
ABC.ya animator – aimed at being suitable for young children since it only permits drawn images or selection of pictures from an inbuilt galley of images.
GifMaker.me – animated gif creator with several options from which to choose in controlling how the animated gif will be presented, and provides the option to add music or even combine several animated gifs. As with any creation tool it provides the opportunity to explore sources of images and content found elsewhere, to use only where permission is granted and attribution given as required.
MakeAGif – provides the option to make a gif from an uploaded existing video or from an online source on YouTube, from which the specific segment can be selected. Be aware of the gallery of examples which would not all be appropriate for an educational setting.
EZGif – provides the option for animated gifs from multiple images (up to 400) or from video. There is advertising on the site but no gallery of user-created content.
Mobile device apps – many apps are available for smartphone or tablet to create animated gifs. Leslie Walker put together “Mobile GIF Guide: Make Animated GIFs on Your Phone” which lists several apps for mobile phones or tablet devices, along with descriptions of the features of each. Justin Pot gathered together “Making an animated gif is easier than you think with these which lists online tools as well as mobile device apps, including descriptions and guidance as to how to make use of each. Elise Moreau collated a list of free animated gif creators for mobile devices at “9 Free GIF Maker Apps for iPhone and Android” describing each and providing helpful hints as to how each can be used.
Online tools or mobile device apps for creating an image meme
Any image-creation tool (or a presentation tool like PowerPoint) on computer, mobile or tablet device can usually be used for creating an image meme – wherever an image can be placed with the facility to overlay text either along the top and bottom of the image, or within a border of black along the top and bottom of the image for white text to be superimposed on these black panels. There are online tools but as with any free online tool a having unmoderated galleries of user-created content has to be a factor an educator looks at in assessing the suitability of a tool in an educational context, however the following may provide the teacher with ideas, guides as well as inspire an adaptation of an existing meme to suit the learning need. Meme creation online tools include imgFlip Meme generator, MemeMaker.Net, MemeGenerator.net, and ImageChef Meme Maker (be aware that all of these have galleries of user-generated content which would not generally be suitable in an educational context but selected memes may be shared by a teacher for showing examples).
Mobile device apps specifically for creating image memes have been collated on the AppCrawlr site “Best iOS apps for meme generator” and “Best Android apps for meme generator.” Mobile device users may well find they already have one of these apps as several have multiple purposes such as for editing images.
In the early 1950s, the artist Joan Eardley could be seen transporting her easels and paints around the Glasgow tenements in a pram. She painted and photographed the ragged children of Glasgow’s inner city slum housing. The artwork she produced is also ragged and childlike. Bold colours and brash strokes. She incorporates collage with newspaper scraps added like crude nursery school graffiti. Her subjects are innocent and bright eyed. Cheeky. Poor children painted with compassion. Her photographs share the same humanity.
The post-war Glasgow was a city in planning turmoil. The controversial Bruce Report proposed completely ripping up the town centre, clearing the slum housing and starting from scratch. Glasgow Council never followed through with report’s more extreme recommendations but the slum housing was cleared and the city’s poor cleared and moved to new high rises on the outskirts, and the New Towns of Cumbernauld and East Kilbride.
I use Joan Eardley’s artwork in class because it has a beating heart and a non-judgemental social conscience. Pupils can reflect on her free, childlike style and consider how this generates emotion and storytelling. Her artwork is a wonderful way to encourage pupils to be expressive and observational too. To sketch loosely, to mix colours, to experiment with pastels and paint, to cut out newspapers/magazines and mix elements of collage, and to look completely differently at portraiture. But NOT to copy.
Tracing the paintings back to examples of her photographs also inspires many deep questions and enquiry about the children, her depiction of poverty (and Scotland), the children’s lives and whether they were being taken advantage of. How would we react today if a random artist asked us to come to their studio to be painted? And if Joan Eardley was alive today, what would she paint?
I have used her artwork to stimulate discussions and debates about street children throughout the ages, whether they be in the Victorian era, the 1950s or now. This in turn links naturally with Children’s Rights and Global Citizenship.
Later, Joan Eardley moved to the small Aberdeenshire fishing village of Catterline (not far from where I grew up). Her new subjects became the sea and the landscape. She often painted outside in poor weather but her paintings lost none of their sense of freedom and joy.
I have been an admirer of Joan Eardley for a very long time. I love sharing my passion for her art with the pupils and revealing a little of the magic of how she told her stories so they may find new ways to tell their stories and find a voice.
(A post written for #teacher5adaysketch on http://staffrm.io/@mrm/nfQyGkvByD and Twitter)
I recently went along to the first meeting of the Digital Cultural Heritage Research Network here at the University of Edinburgh. The aim of the network is to
“bring together colleagues from across the University to establish a professional network for researchers investigating digital cultural heritage issues, seeking to include perspectives from diverse disciplines including design, education, sociology, law, cultural studies, informatics and business. Partners from the cultural heritage sector will play a key role in the network as advisors and collaborators.”
Anyone who follows this blog will know that I have a bit of a thing about opening access to digital cultural resources so I was pleased to be able to contribute a lightning talk on digital cultural heritage and open education. This was one of an eclectic series of lightning talks that covered a wide range of subjects and topics. I live tweeted the event and Jen Ross has collated tweets from the day in a Storify here: Digital Cultural Heritage Research Network, Workshop 1 and has also written a recap of the workshop here Recap of Workshop 1: Cultural Heritage Sparks.
My EDINA colleague Lisa Otty kicked off the day talking about the Keepers Extra Project which aims to highlight the value of the Keepers Registry of archiving arrangements for electronic journals, to libraries, preservation agencies and publishers through national and international collaboration. Lisa noted that only 17% of journals are archived in the Keepers Registry and asked the very pertinent question “do we trust publishers with the stewardship of electronic journals?” I think we all know the answer to that question.
I confess I rehashed a previous presentation on the comparative dearth of openly license cultural heritage collections in Scotland which allowed me to refer for the millionth time to Andrew Prescott’s classic blog post Dennis the Paywall Menace stalks the Archives. This time however I was able to add a couple of pertinent tweets from the Digging Into Data Round Three Conference that took place in Glasgow earlier in the week.
One lightning talk that was particularly close to my heart was by Glyn Davis who spoke about the ‘openness’, or lack thereof, of gallery and museum content, and reflected on his experience of running the Warhol MOOC. Glyn noted that license restrictions often prevent copyright images from being used in online teaching and learning, however many of the students who participated in the Warhol MOOC understood little about copyright restrictions and simply expected to be able to find and reuse images via google, so lots of discussion about open access was required as part of the course.
Other highlights included Jen Ross‘ talk on Artcasting a project which is exploring how digital methods can be used inventively and critically to reimagine complex issues. The project has built an app which engages audiences by allowing them to capture images and decide where to send them in time and space and time, while also retrieving data for evaluation. Bea Alex introduced the impressive range of projects from the Language Technology Group, including historical text projects, which aim to use text mining to enrich textual metadata with geodata from the Edinburgh Geo Parser. Stephen Allen spoke about the MOOC the National Museums of Scotland created to run in parallel with their Photography – A Victorian Sensation exhibition. The museum now hopes to reuse content from future exhibitions for more MOOCs. Rebecca Sinker presented a fascinating keynote on Tate’s research-led approach to digital programming which prompted an interesting discussion on how people engage with art now that so much of it is available online. Angelica Thumala spoke all too briefly about her research exploring emotional attachment and experience of books in different modalities, and left us with one of the loveliest quotes of the day
“Books are constant companions, people carry them around and develop physical and emotional attachments to them.”
The workshop ended with four group discussions focussing on issues raised by participants; openness and preservation; participation and interpretation; semantic web and curation; and how can DCHRN create a sustainable interdisciplinary network. These and other issues will be picked up in the next workshop Research that matters – playing with method, planning for impact takes place in March
DCHRN is coordinated by
- Dr Jen Ross, Digital Education
- Dr Claire Sowton, Digital Education
- Professor Sian Bayne, Digital Education
- Professor James Loxley, Literatures Languages and Culture
- Professor Chris Speed, Design Informatics
On a side note, it’s a while since I’ve done a lightning talk and I’d forgotten how difficult it is to put together such a short presentation. Seriously, it took me most of an afternoon to put together a 5 minute talk which really is a bit ridiculous! Seems like I’m not the only one who struggles with short presentations though, when I mentioned this on twitter, a lot of people replied to say that the shorter the presentation, the more preparation was required. Martin Weller reminded me of the quote “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter”, while Kevin Ashley invoked Jeremy Bentham who was allegedly happy to give two hour speech on the spot, but a fifteen minute talk required three weeks notice. I’m with Bentham on that one!
|Eileen Lawrence: Greylag 1978|