Back to Books!

Oh I’ve been flipping too! Following the work I saw with Year 2 at Normanby using the Jamaica iBook (now available for download from this published iTunesu course – with more to come!), I thought that the ability to collate material and give it to children in an interesting way would suit the model of support that I am providing at Badger Hill. The Y4 class have an iPad 1 between 2. It isn’t ideal but I was determined to support the teacher to get the most out of the device, integrating it to the other work that they do. The use of the iBook to access and identify information to then perhaps respond to in their exercise books fits that model (although doesn’t embrace the real learning gains from having 1:1…). I see the class for maybe an hour a week to both show the children how to use the devices and also leave the teacher with lots of transferable techniques. It is a popular model and most schools who buy my time appreciate the little and often approach.

As previous posts show, I am pretty skilled at making iBooks in iBooks Author, it is pretty easy really, but the hard thing is collating the info and getting it put together appropriately. The result of my resource for today can be found here. I wanted to show this, not for the expected adulation and applause but to demonstrate how easy it was to make. The children are studying ‘mysteries’ so I thought a book with info on the Loch Ness Monster and friends would be useful. Now here is the trick. I could have read lots of books and wrote my text for the children. Nope, too long. I went to Wikipedia and looked up Loch Ness Monster. The page is complicated and way above the reading abilities of the children though. No problem, I use the accessibility tool in Safari on my mac and click on ‘Reader’. Instantly the page is reduced to the bare bones that I needed. I copied it then pasted into the iBook. The task then was to edit the text down rather than write it from scratch. I also used the images from the page as I knew that they had creative commons licensing by being on that page. Where other images are required I used Google search settings to specifically look for Creative Commons content. I can’t vouch for it’s accuracy but it is a nod in the right direction if not a full step. The source for my work, although edited, is acknowledged in the book.

The text was still a real challenge for some of the children but that gave me the opportunity to demonstrate to them the ‘speak selection’ option and this was a real winner for many children, they attempted parts of the text that the teacher informs me they wouldn’t have previously.

As a parting shot I also showed the children that they could summarise a text and isolate their thoughts, to be collated automatically, by the notes function. The teacher was really excited by this as she could immediately see how a child could identify key information in a text, justify their choice with a text note and these be automatically collated to be emailed in. Really powerful.


“That was you wasn’t it Mr Stogdale?”

It seems my almost magical ability to conjure up a pirate to give us clues about his buried treasure only held the Year 6s attention while I went through the process. As soon as we had found the gold the questions started:

“Was that Morfo?”

“Which app did you use?”

“Can we make some?”

Yes it was, yes you can make some and we are using

I had created a set of four Auras that led the viewer to draw a cross on a map to show where the treasure  lay. It was a simple task but I wanted to show them the basics of what was possible. If you would like to follow the directions simply draw a rough map on a large piece of paper and put the trigger pictures in the positions you can see. (downloadable to print out and cut out below). Find my public channels (username is spiketown) from within the app and then choose the Pirate one. It will load my auras for you and away you go.

I actually worked with two classes today as part of the support that they buy me in for, helping the teachers and children to develop their use of the iPad minis (they have one each) to improve their learning.

The first class already had a maths task in hand when I came in, identifying properties of shapes around the school by photographing them. We augmented this task by turning their photos into Morfos which explained why a right angle was a right angle. The final step was to create a set of playing cards for each child. On these they drew unusual symbols that triggered each of the auras. It was a bit of a mashup of ideas but I wanted to try and use what they were already doing to give the task context.

The upper KS2 class were open to whatever I wanted to do so once I had finished the demo they made a simple aura for themselves based on a pirate Morfo (school topic is Pirates if you hadn’t guessed!). Once they had been through the process they began to plan a treasure hunt using triggers around school for a ‘real life’ treasure hunt. They are planning to use the Year 2s as guinea pigs to test them on.

I discussed with the teacher how the auras could be used to add detail to a display, allowing the artist to describe how they made a particular piece of work – this promotes reflective thinking in the children and this in turn supports their deeper understanding.

Pictures are below for your own attempt!

Look no hands….well, wires anyway!

I have written previously on this blog about my shift to using iPads for film making over and above movie cameras. Working from the I2L Centre means that we often do have groups here to use high end cameras and explore film making in some detail. However, a lot of the students who come here for a ‘movie day” have had little previous experience of camera use or film production. I have found the use of iMovie invaluable for this is it scaffolds some of the technical process without getting in the way of camera techniques.

For example, we had a fantastic group of Y8 and 9 students a week or two back who wanted to do a film making day, they had done very little previously. I wanted them to activate the implicit understanding of how a film is shot by making it explicit through choice of shot. By using the trailer option in iMovie they were able to do just that. The scaffold of the shot length (and suggested focus) along with pre-designed titles and audio meant that the students only concern was to ensure that the shots were strung together coherently (basic storyboarding) and shot appropriately (choice of shot). The camera on the iPad minis that they used is plenty good enough to allow the students to explore this. Purists would of course argue that there is little option to zoom, properly tilt and pan etc etc etc but that is not the point at this stage in my opinion. This example is typical of their first attempts:

You can see that it immediately draws of genre pointers in the scaffold but also I asked them to think very carefully about choice of shot, distance to the subject, what is included etc. They are clearly drawing on their own understanding of what the film needed to include.
Once they had successfully made their trailers (and watched them), I took the straightjacket off. The afternoon task was to make a new movie in iMovie (as a project) with a vague title of “The Arrival”. Some groups changed this slightly but stuck to the theme:

We had talked at length when reviewing their trailer work about use of light and lack of vision for the audience and this group took that forward into their final piece. I had also used the opening sequence from Once Upon a Time in the West as a stimulus to the task and you can see the Leone-esque style they have applied to aspect of this.

Taking the idea of “gore looks rubbish on a budget” even further the following group went for a less is more approach. There are one or two dodgy sound effects in here but the choice of shot and grammar of the piece hangs together pretty well for the genre:

And finally we see the most abstract offering from one group. I was incredibly impressed that instead of following the crowd and the obvious story for the title, they took a completely different approach:

The shots were simply framed and really their film from that point of view has little to focus analysis on but the concept here is everything and I liked the fact that they went so bold on what they decided to do.

So what can I draw from the experience? The lack of scrabbling around for the correct lead to put the captured images onto a “proper computer” is a massive help and the quality of the images is absolutely fine for the tasks that they were doing. Comments from the students tended to follow this one “this is the best day at school ever”. I don’t think it is simply because they were having fun (but they were as it happens). There were moments during the day when the pressure was on o get their video finished and shots were not working as they had intended. They had to problem solve where shots needed to “look and feel” a particular way and they could not simply work alone, everything was based around team work. They have now had an excellent grounding in getting a film made, encountering some of the common problems that crop up in the filming stage. They are now ready to go back to the process and start to storyboard more closely, look at film genres to explore using stylistic techniques in their own work and improve their awareness of how a script contributes to the piece. They can do most of that on an iPad or maybe explore actual use of “proper” cameras but the experience that they have had so far has given them a flying start and I would argue is plenty good enough quality to be of use across any subject, not just Media:

A new way of thinking….are we flipping crazy?

ibooks_authorThere has been a lot of discussion in recent months about the concept of the flipped classroom. I listened to Microsoft’s view of it today at the launch of their 365 service. The idea is that the teacher removes themselves as the barrier between the students and the “learning”, taking more of a support role as issues occur. I have some fundamental issues with this “new” concept.

Really good teachers have always had the flexibility to both lead learning and work in a support role. Even bound by the constraints of the curriculum and expectations such as the Literacy Hour I would be very confident in saying that the flipped classroom has been alive and well but maybe just considered part of good practice  without rearing its head as a “technique” for many years. I will give an example.

I started teaching the year that the Literacy Strategy was introduced. Although a young and inexperienced teacher, I quickly realised that binding children to such time limited, and teacher support limited, activities did not help the vast majority of children to enjoy their literacy lessons. Furthermore it made it almost impossible to be creative with teaching approaches. If children were really into a fantastic piece of writing, possibly inspired by a film clip  or an interesting international event then the structure stopped them dead in their tracks. Its aims were good, to ensure rigour and progression in what was taught but it went about it in completely the wrong way. My first school had a very strong Headteacher, Phillip McElwee, and he made it clear that he backed us all to use our own professional judgment to vary our approaches in response to the children. Sometimes direct teaching is really useful and sometimes giving children the materials (which are often teacher created or selected anyway to scaffold the learning) and supporting them through their work.

The use of devices has radically altered what is possible in this way. Access to materials is the most obvious factor as a million learning opportunities can sit in the palm of every student’s hand. Fantastic? Hmmm it can be, but I am reminded of my science tutor when I was training to be a teacher. He made the point that you can ask students to do lots of experiments to “discover” things that can easily be explained in about five minutes. Do children always need to have gone through the processes that the discoverers of oxygen or the laws of gravity to say that they have learned it? There is a balance, of course their is but if we look at the Lavoisier example from a constructivist view of how we learn then the place of the experimental “proof” maybe changes. Explaining the theory around what oxygen is, telling the story of its discovery, gives the students a mental construct of what they are looking at so when they do the experiment it has somewhere to “fit”. doing the experiment first places far more of a strain on the process of assimilation as there may be no mental framework in which it sits easily. Does that produce deeper learning as students want to know more or does it simply disinterest the student as not fitting their experience or even fit in with an incorrect understanding as enough facts of the phenomena are consistent.


This may seem a very technical argument but it is at the crux of flipped classroom concept. Simply saying to students “here’s the stuff, get on with it, yell when you are stuck” potentially leads to that situation. This is exacerbated if the students entirely led their own learning interests. Again, there is a balance. Why am I rambling on about this?

Last Thursday I hosted a day at the Inspire2Learn centre to teach a group of teachers who all have access to iPads in their classrooms how to use iBooks Author. The app is free to download as long as you have at least version 10.7 on your mac OS. It allows teachers to create books. Big deal, teachers can do that in loads of ways…however these books have distinct advantages. Yes you can add pictures, text, even video into the pages which make them full of “Wow”, but that is not what catches the eye. The teachers who attended could do that within about 5mins of my input (if they hadn’t already done it themselves anyway!), what we took time to focus on is how an iBook could support the practice in class. Where does the book sit? As a textbook for a course? As a support alongside what happens in the lessons? As a repository for all the other resources that we don’t have time for in lessons. I hope that some of these questions are answered by the work that the teachers do back in class with their creations.

We spent a lot of time simply discussing these issues, and also use of widgets. Widgets are fabulous little things that can ad such a different dimension to an iBook. Yes there are the wow ones (like the 360 panorama widget) but something as simple as a scrolling side bar widget allows a page to hold a lot more content, in context, than could previously have been done. This isn’t simply convenient, it fits with a huge amount of research based around situated learning and how meaning is heavily influenced by context and the expectations that an audience brings to that context.As teachers we need to think about this sort of research to enhance our use of iBooks, not simply saying “it can add more detail”. A sketchpad widget within a page allows a student the opportunity to create or label a diagram and then send it back to the teacher from within the book, again keeping the learning in the context in which is it created.

Something as simple as the browser widget is a godsend. Why is that important? We can add weblinks to any book, document…even an email…so what? It is massive, the book opens the webpage, it doesn’t go off to Safari and all of the distractions (the youtube widget does the same), it stays within the book so when you close it you are still in the book. Simple yet a huge help, imagine using Guided Access with this for certain situations on shared pads?

We do have some unanswered questions though. I mentioned some above relating to how it fits within the classroom context. Also, when do you ask the student to do activities within the book and when do you offer them maybe a gallery of pictures and ask them to create a presentation in an app of their choice. I don’t know if there is a definitive answer as every situation os different and teachers are the killer app that make the difference, judging when to do what. However, an iBook is a finished artefact (although you can update it) and that means that some of these decisions need to be made when creating the book and defining its role in a scheme of work.

The teachers who attended were very complementary in their feedback for my input during the day (as a teacher I used my professional judgement of when to tell and when to… but I will be pursuing them over the next few months and hopefully reconvening the group to really pin down where the book sits within the classroom context. Armed with that sort of information future users of the app will not have to discover it all for themselves but will have some guidance as a starter for ten…isn’t that where this post started?

Example of iBook from the day:


Reflective and proud

Screen Shot 2012-12-07 at 13.17.07Just spent the morning with the ever wonderful children at Green Gates Primary. I suggested last week to the Year 6 children that the device would be an ideal way of keeping a record of their work in one place, a portfolio of achievement as it were. They took me at their word. The link below takes you to a folder full of images, pdfs and the like that they currently have on their pods. As they achieve something or finish a piece of work it is now common practice for them to add it to their portfolio. This is a brilliant example of the data hoover and second brain dichotomy at work. More than that it requires the children to re-engage with a piece of work and often add a comment themselves, something that is often missed in a traditional “work in books” classroom setup.

Sample of reflective journals

They are only a sample but it is clear that there are already different levels of recording going on, something that the teacher will pursue with the learners over time – what works best for them. Their portfolios are stored on their devices as work in progress but also as finished PDFs which sit on their bookshelf in iBooks. This will obviously be updated as the projects are continued.

Xmas fun and frolics

photo-25We’ve had nearly 300 children through the doors over the last few days, mainly 5 year olds but a cohort of Y5 and Y6 did a one off day today around science.

It has been interesting to watch the children get to grips with iOS devices so quickly. Sessions for the very young were barely 20 minutes and today each group had little over half an hour on each activity. The pads were used with the young children to scan QR codes on reindeer stables (which appeared on the walls around the cafe area). Each scan produced an audio track describing a letter that the young children had to recognise and write down. After scanning four stables they had the letters to a Christmas word that would help solve a magic spell to retrieve Santa’s sack. The teacher running that session showed the children how to use the QR scanner app and then click on the audio file. The IT element of this melted away after the first scan as they raced to the next clue to be found and repeated the procedure. The focus was very much on the objective.

Today’s group were exploring the senses and Mrs J led groups to develop short animations (that’s right, understand the concept, learn the software and then make something in less than half an hour – no problem). We used Animation Desk as the app of choice and the results can be sen below. It costs a couple of quid but if you want to do animation simply and in a range of ways then we found it very easy to use and very versatile.

Eyes on the Horizon

My voice may have given up but at least I’m enthusiastic!
I had my second session with the Year 3 class at Lockwood Primary. I was met at the door by the ever enthusiastic Headteacher who was full of examples of how he had seen both the class teacher Miss Easby and the teaching assistant Miss Langley doing fabulous work with the children. He described how they had used them for PE to improve balance shapes by taking photos of each other and reviewing their work (when I was a boy only elite athletes got to use photo and video to improve their technique!), and several had made comic books all about themselves as part of the PSCHE sessions. Speaking to the teacher they had also been using them in literacy for writing notes. It goes to show that when teachers understand how the device supports what they already do – then makes it even more effective for learning, then you can very quickly integrate them into a classroom.
So how?

Well this is week 2 of them having the pods on loan, see the Launching from Scratch Category for week 1!

I didn’t want to go in and simply show them apps, that really is not a long term sustainable model and really misses the way that the devices most effectively support learning. What I wanted was to get the children used to using information from one app to support another. So the device acts as the data hoover, bringing in information then becomes the second brain where the ideas can be manipulated, stored for reference or repurposed for an audience (even if just for the teacher to mark). So, we focussed on four key apps, Strip Designer, Epic Citadel, Mental Note and Mail.

The children were first shown how to make a sticker of themselves in Strip Designer. I suggest all users of the app do this so that when it comes to producing a piece of writing they have stickers of themselves ready to insert. What became apparent was that having to come out of the app, go to camera and take a photo of themselves, then go back to the sticker option was a step too far, too soon for many of the class. They didn’t have the mental map to be able to switch from one app to the other and then go back. I was pleased with this in some ways as it showed that it is a key skill to continue to focus on that users need in order to make best use of the device. So, we supported them through that (some of the children got it first time so they became roving teachers) and realised that this was something to continue to focus on.
I then asked the children to visit Epic Citadel. I quickly demonstrated via the projector and let them have a five minute “play”. They were asked to take a screen shot when they found something interesting (I told them I wouldn’t show them how to do the screen shot…whilst showing them how to do it – so they all remembered….if that makes sense!).

Once they had screen shot something they were then asked to go back to Strip Designer and add it to a page, then add the sticker they made previously. It sounds laborious but I will guarantee that the vast majority of children in the classes that I’ve worked with using these apps over the last few years would do it in seconds. In fact, many did, it struck me that some were really starting to feel their way around how one thing could be used in another. This problem is compounded with the loan kit as the children only use the devices for specific purposes in school. Where children take their devices home they learn this “mental map” in their own time – very quickly I find.

Right, we had a picture, with a sticker of themselves on it. I then showed the picture I had screen shot of the statue in the Abbey in Epic Citadel. Using some of the techniques that the brilliant Tim Rylands had used during his work at Normanby last year, I recreated the story of the statue and the people who lived around it. This generated lots of talk. Soooo, I “hoovered” some of that talk into a list of ideas on my pad (that was being projected to the class), which I then emailed to the children. The joy of 22 “pings” around the class meant that the wireless was working and that they could then continue the work themselves. I used Mental Note to make the list as it is my preferred note taking app. It allows easy access to my notes and it is easy to send work to others. I asked the children to open the text I had sent them, select one of the ideas about the statue then copy and paste it into Mental Note. I demonstrated before I let them touch the devices. They were then expected to write a couple of sentences explaining their choice.
I was aiming to develop that skill of using data from one app to support another. As I said, I use Mental Note for playing around with writing – then I can paste it into Strip Designer or whatever when I have edited it to how I want it.

I was really pleased that the children had little difficulty with moving text from their mail into Mental Note, and then emailing it to me to show me! This whole process from start to finish took the morning session. It is about as app intensive as I ever get with the devices as it is specifically aimed at developing those interoperability skills that will become vital across most of the apps and situations that they will meet as learners.

As a flourish I also quickly made a Morfo of the statue (they didn’t know) and played it to them.
The teacher liked the idea and I believe used it this morning as their morning task. She copied me into an email:

To recap:

  • We focussed on interoperability between apps
  • We started to develop moving from one app to another as second nature
  • We learned to screen shot
  • We learned to copy and paste
  • We started to send and receive work (some children started sending their work to each other

On leaving the school, the Headteacher grabbed me to plan when we offer devices for the children on a permanent basis (with some parental contribution).

If only it was always that easy…

Got quite a few posts to produce over the next few weeks following some hectic weeks as the schools broke up for Summer. This first post is based around the work we did about three weeks ago here at the Inspire2Learn centre.
The Year 4 children from Galley Hill came and did a “Tudor day” here. We always aim to offer schools something that can’t be done back in school and it was nice to make great use of the giant 3D projector facilities and the 3D Medieval street software. Despite multiple requests from the children to “get them to throw poo at us out of the window” we escaped not only unscathed but also somewhat more knowledgeable about what a street during the Middle Ages would have looked like. The children spent the morning working with DM and Mrs J but I had the pleasure of the afternoon session.

As ever I wanted to be a little bit experimental and decided that it would be a challenge and an experience to use the iPads to create a short movie on Puppet Pals to reflect something of what we had learned. To be honest I wanted the children to have more purpose for their presentations then simply “make a movie” so we decided to pretend that the 3D street was a real place called TudorLand that would be a fun day out for all of the family. The movies would advertise one or two aspects of the venue.

The challenge was this:
we had 40mins to work with
some of the children had never used an ipad
the order of work was – create a weemee (as your presenter because the work would be going on the blog and we wanted to be esafe), visit the skydrive and select your backgrounds, write a short script, create in Puppet Pals

I took a gamble and decided to show the children the whole process from start to finish. It took me about 6 mins to demonstrate everything in a superficial way (saving the avatar in the correct place was the most complicated bit). I checked at each point that the kids were with me (I used the Apple TV on a plasma screen to demo each step) and they nodded a lot. I also quickly asked them to recap the steps before I let them loose. By and large they seemed to have got it. So off they went…
The result in on the front page of their blog of the day:

I condensed their work into one movie to make it sit on the blog more nicely (quick theme in iMovie on the macbook, nothing too strenuous!).

Now comes the question: How come I showed them a series of steps, each not too complicated on its own but as a whole, a lot to remember, and they all succeeded? Teamwork undoubtedly played a part, the fact it was going on the web made a few gasp with the honour and the audience implications, and the fact we had three staff helping was a bonus. My wonder is, would I have been as successful teaching them that many things in one go in a traditional way? My experience tells me no.
So what implications does this have for use of the devices? I think the key thing is that you always use the device as the support to the outcome. What do I want to achieve as a literacy focus for example? Then you work backwards and identify the ways in which the device can support that writing.
With Puppet Pals the fact that your writing becomes a movie immediately alters the dynamic of the writing. The role of the audience is enhanced in the child’s mind. Where possible we also try to then use the movie somewhere, and explain this to the children before they write. So in the example above we explained that Mums and Dads, Aunties and Uncles, in fact the whole world could potentially see what they would produce. The reaction of the children certainly suggested that they were going to ensure this was a fantastic piece of work (would this interest be sustained if every piece of work was put up there every day…?).
Once you have established that audience and purpose for the writing, ensuring that the children really focus on the “script” is the key factor. This is the bit that seems to get missed when people suggest that using devices in the classroom is dumbing down writing skills, distracting learners from focussing on the literacy. My argument is quite the opposite. Children vey quickly learn (and it is worth doing it both ways if you have the opportunity to show children by doing) that a written script produces a much better outcome than simply talking off the cuff to an app. Be it Storyrobe, Puppet Pals or Morfo a quality script is essential. In all of our schools using devices these types of activities are giving children a new and fun dimension to their work that wasn’t possible before but it still requires a quality piece of written work sat behind it.

Focussing on writing

Had an interesting day today with Year 2 groups from two schools across the borough. We run learning days which schools sign up to attend. Today’s theme unsurprisingly was the Olympics. For my part I found useful 5 minute clip on Youtube called Birth of the Olympics. The children watched the video with a view to creating a short presentation based around three facts that they had found interesting while watching. Armed with three facts they were asked to use Puppet Pals to create a short presentation with their picture in it. Now the sessions were only 40 minutes long and the children were around seven years of age…so how to structure it. I will describe below the effect structuring it in two different ways had on the outcome, I hope it will help people think about how the devices are best used.

Group A

I showed the children the video clip and talked to them for about five minutes about what they had seen. I then showed them the iPad (most had used one at home I think but one or two told me they hadn’t seen one before). I took  the decision to demo how to make a quick movie using the provided characters and backdrops. This took about 2 minutes and then I released the children to work in pairs to make their own. They did this very easily within five minutes. I then gathered them back together and asked them to focus on three screen shots (of the 27 I had provided from the video) to talk about. I quickly demoed how to ad themselves as a character and add the three photos as backdrops. They were given paper and pencils to jot down key words to talk about. One pair wrote in sentences, three groups did notes and two groups needed persuading that something to work from when speaking would be useful (I had already stressed that spelling, punctuation and so on was not important, content was as the audience would hear the content, not read it). The results were clear at the end, all children produced something technically correct but the content was maybe a bit thin.

Group B

I changed the task slightly in that I showed the video then gave the children the iPads to look at the camera roll to make them decide on three pictures. They were then asked to jot down what they would say about each picture (again I stressed how spelling etc was not important as that was not part of the purpose). All groups wrote down some ideas, one group in sentences. Only once this task had been done did I show them Puppet Pals. This time I whizzed through the app from pressing Start to the complete production with children as actors and pics about the olympics as backdrops. It only took maybe three minutes and I kept asking the children if they were “keeping up” and they all seemed fine with that. Result? All children produced a finished product but they took longer within this task adding themselves as actors and actually recording themselves (mainly through giggling). However, the overall quality of the sentences was better.


Puppet Pals is a great way to allow children to look like they are on the scene of something that they’re talking about. Working in this way gives them a clear purpose and audience. All children were very keen to come up with facts and produce their movie. Time  was a big factor in rushing through but from what I saw, focussing on the literacy of the outcome BEFORE looking at the app made a difference. The children took more time over getting their ideas down and practising what they would say with their partners. Unfortunately the children didn’t have permission slips today to have their faces on the web so I can’t post any but I will chase this up with the school tomorrow and hopefully post some examples.


I have always liked using the trailer feature in iMovie on my Mac. I have used it several times with groups of children in KS2 to create a stimulus for the wider work around story writing. The results always look very professional and are easy to achieve. What has always been a bit of a chore is shooting enough footage to make the trailer have variety of shot and then the process of transferring the footage from whatever camera you have used. In the past we have used iPods for ease of handling and the ability to email footage to the Mac being used to save the “which wire”game. Even then, the footage was often too large to email. So I was delighted when I began to explore the new iMovie on the iPad. The fairly recent updates have transformed the software into something more like its Mac counterpart, of course with the advantage that the camera and the software are on the same device. The trailer feature is also really nicely put together as it automatically cuts clips to the correct length before inserting.
Although I spend a lot of time teaching media techniques and digital literacy to children and highly value the ability to work with a blank canvas, as a simple activity that allows you to focus on the decisions rather than the process behind making a piece of media this really is invaluable. I gave my 13 yr old an iPad with it on yesterday and asked her to have a quick look through the different styles to see if anything was of use. For ten minutes (and I am not exaggerating) I didn’t see her, then she showed me this:

I did of course question why several shots were sideways on. “To disorientate the audience” apparently….forgot to shoot in landscape I think more likely, but that apart, the ease and speed with which she could focus on a genre, create a plot and then use the scaffolding of the trailer option to produce this opens up such a lot of possibilities. So next time you ask your class to write a report on a key event in history or whatever, maybe get hold of some iOS devices and make them create it in a genre trailer. They will have fun, will need to show social skills, co-operation, planning etc but will also have to really know their subject to get the outcome to look right. The app will take about a minute to learn using this option.