All posts in the ‘Falkirk’ Category
- June 16th, 2010
- Comments: 2 Comments » Tags: Tags: cfe, concert, Falkirk, Guitar Hero, maddiston, shieldhill, whitecross
: Categories Added Value, animation, Consolarium, cross-curricular, Falkirk, game based learning, Games we have, Parents
I had a most enjoyable and very interesting day touring 4 schools in Falkirk who are all undertaking a transition project with Guitar Hero. The teacher leading this within Falkirk, Stacey Collier-West, had planned a full timetable and we set off from Maddiston Primary where she is based and travelled to see Avonbridge Primary, Whitecross Primary and Shieldhill Primary as well as stopping off back at Maddiston to see the pupils working on this topic.
The first thing that was absolutely apparent from all the schools I visited was the engagement shown from all teachers and pupils involved, but what I found more interesting was the range of approaches across the schools but all within the same context. Every teacher involved had been part of the inital planning and were in regular contact with each other but each one was very firmly focussed on what the children in their schools needed. Seeing this so clearly reinforced with me the fact that this fact should remain at the forefront of the mind of any school undertaking a GBL topic.
Have a look and a listen to some of the work we saw on our quick journey around Falkirk starting with writing in Whitecross Primary. Click on Mr Horne below to hear him chat about writing in his class.
In the video clip below we can see how the classes are building towards their concert. We can see them making stop frame animations with a simple digital camera and windows moviemaker software, which is a free part of most, if not all, winows pc s. I love seeing everyday things used in an imaginative way like this, we then have a chat with a couple of groups of children who talk about what kinds of learning they are undertaking in order to get themselves ready for the show including writing lyrics, choreography and animation. Next we meet another band getting their moves ready for the concert and chatting about how they have undertaken the work and finally we meet two of the teachers who have been running the theme in their class and hear them discuss the impact on the children.
As mentioned previously, all the schools were working toward a final showcase event where they would perform the songs they had written, show their choreographed moves and have their animations playing in the background. As you could probably see from the slideshow above all the bands had also designed their own tshirts which they then sold and each school made a cd of the tracks they had produce and offered them for sale at the concert also. Brian Clark, Ollie Bray and myself got ourselves invited to the final concert and we had a wonderful time watching as all the children performed in front of their peers, parents and friends. Every child successful, confident, responsible and effective. Watch highlights of the show below.More
- November 13th, 2007
- Derek Robertson
- Comments: 10 Comments » Tags: : Categories Falkirk
The most challenging and in some ways satisfying task that I have been faced with so far with in this job was not so much the initiation of a series of games-based-learning initiatives with local authority partners but more leaving them long enough so that we could then go back to find out what had happened. The pressure was really on prior to SLF ’07 because the long promised Consolarium website was still to make an appearance…..but you have to have something to show don’t you!
Anyway, there are some case studies online at present but there are a great deal more in the pipeline. Today I visited Falkirk Council to begin recording some of the excellent work that has been happening there. I was accompanied by Barrie Barreto from SITC who is the audio visual master of ceremonies. It’s amazing to see the finished product that people like Barrie come up with and their great work does go unnoticed in some ways so a big thanks to him for what he does.
The schools we visited today were:
- Bo’ness Academy: There is lots of games based learning work going at this school but the project that I was capturing today was the Phoenix Wright project. We have given 20 Nintendo DS machines and copies of Phoenix Wright to the school and a 2nd year class has been using this with their teacher for the past couple of months. I had a feeling that this game had real possibilities for creating the context for a series of English language activities and I’m glad I was proved right. The Teacher, Mrs McIntyre, has used this game really well and her pupils have :
- worked on character sketches with the main players in the game being used as the focus for this task
- written newspaper reports about the cases and the goings-on in the game
- devised their own game ideas that have been packaged in games casing. Some of these games were incredibly imaginative and detailed, one even looking at the world of ballet to create a ‘Dance Academy’ type game (apparently it’s only for girls!)
- been writing their own drama scripts based on the story and have recorded these using Audacity so that the mp3 file can be shared as a podcast
As with almost every project I have seen in schools the children today were really excited and keen to tell us what they thought about the work they had been doing and how much they liked the idea of games in school.
- Glenfair Nursery School: I gave a number of authorities a couple of PS2 machines with the Eye Toy. I though that this device had great potential in the pre-school setting and today was the first time that I saw it in action. What a time we had. The children love the Eye Toy and they will queue patiently until it’s their turn. This is something that the staff in the school are very pleased with. We have captured on video 3 & 4 year old kids working their way through the set-up of their game and then playing it. We managed to avoid splashing water, clattering utensils and very-inquisitive children in order to capture this case study. I look forward to seeing this one myself…
- Easter Carmuirs PS: This school has taken ownership of a PS2 and the Buzz for Schools game. We saw the children playing some maths and English Language games and it was very interesting indeed. Again, great concentration and engagement but I must say what a demanding set of questions there were! I fancy playing this myself because it was so tough. Here’s one example of the level of difficulty:
put these books in order of when they were published:
- The Northern Lights
- Treasure Island
- The Tales of Beatrix Potter
- Swallows and Amazons
How did you do? Difficult, eh?
These case studies will need to be edited, packaged and prepared for the web but we hope to have them available very early 2008. Thanks to all at Falkirk Council for a great day and for allowing us access to schools where such great practice is happening.More
- October 4th, 2007
- Derek Robertson
- Comments: 7 Comments » Tags: : Categories Consolarium visits, Falkirk
A few months ago Stuart Lennie and the ICT Development team from Falkirk Council came to visit the Consolarium. We had a very good day and as a result of that initial meeting we now have a number of games based learning projects happening in that local authority. Not only that but last night they held a CPD computer games for learning event at Bo’ness Academy.
I was asked to give an initial talk about the place and value of computer games in teaching and learning but the real reason to be there was to see what is happening in schools in that authority. It seems that games based learning is certainly taking hold in Falkirk.
Here are just some of the things that are happening there:
Falkirk Council Active Schools: The people from the active schools team gave a demonstration of the Stepmania software that you can install on your PC and is then controlled via a USB connected dance mat. Maybe the people that say computer games cause obseity in youngsters need to have alook, and a go , at some of the se activity based games. Have a look at some other exertainment links.
Bankier Primary School: The children and teachers from Bankier PS gave a demonstration of RM Easiteach dance mat resources. Have a look at this in action.
Bo’ness Academy: The staff and pupils from the pupil support department gave a demonstration of how skilled they are becoming at using the Nintendo Wii Sports game and Big Brian Academy for the Wii. We hope to follow up this project in the near future.
Bo’ness Academy: Now this is a particularly interesting and juicy games based project. The English Department are using the Nintendo DS and the Phoenix Wright game as the context for a writing project. The children are allowed to take the consoles and the game home but they are expected to complete the case files that Phoenix has to solve. Up to now there has been 100% completion of the tasks and the associated and unconnected homework. When they come back to class the teacher is using the context of the game to encourage the children to write their own newspaper reports of the crimes that are being investigated in the game, they are writing scripts so that these can be recorderd and shared via podcast and they are developing their own characters that will appear in their own crime mystery stories. Much more of this to come in the near future.
Denny Nursery: The staff from Denny Nursery gave a demonstration of Primary Steps Phonics software that uses a dance mat. This resource is really taking off and is making appearance in mnay local authoriuties.
Easter Carmuirs Primary: The very popular and successful Sony PS2 game Buzz has just included another version into its family. It’s called Buzz!: The School Quiz and this school is j ust one of a number throughout Scotland that the Consolarium has managed to make available as part of a pilot project with Sony. Again, much more to come about this…
Glenfair Nursery: The staff from gave a demonstration of the Eye Toy for the Playstation 2 and talked about the impact that this is having on the youngsters in that context. One thing that it seems to be teaching the children is turn taking and queuing. It seems that the Eye Toy is the first thing that the children want to queue for in the Nursery!
Very well done to all at Falkirk for what was a truly exciting and inspiring CPD session. We look forward to reporting in depth about all of these projects.More