Bev's adventures in ICT

Posts tagged ‘Design’

This Sporting Life

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There are so many things going on this year – it’s difficult to keep up!!! This summer’s Olympics must rate pretty highly though and it gives so many opportunities for learning. Here are a few ideas that might inspire you to try something new or different in your classroom.

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Now I love Google Sketchup. It’s one of those programs that the children can grab hold of and just run with. What’s even better is that there are plenty of tutorials available for using it – just check out You Tube! And what better way to use it than to get pupils to design an Olympic village, sports facility or stadium? Or, if you’re trying to inspire your pupils to write, get them to design one of the above and then write instructions on how to do it for other pupils to follow. Genius.

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Of course, not everyone is lucky enough to get to the Olympic site. But you can take an aerial tour of what it looked like while being constructed. Tours from above is a great idea and contains many other useful aerial tours you could use in the classroom – perfect for those times when you want to whisk your class away to somewhere different.

The statistical data that gets thrown at you during big sporting events makes them perfect for linking to maths. Why not think about introducing some games based learning? Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games would be perfect for this and has already been used in classrooms for this very purpose. I know a number of educators have developed ideas for using this, including the ever wonderful Steve Bunce, so why not give it a whirl?

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Obviously there are so many more ideas that could be mentioned. There are numerous videos of past Olympic events that could be used to inspire pupils to write or as discussion points in the classroom. There are a whole load of links on the Project Britain and BBC sites that could be very useful. I’ve created an ICT challenge pack for UKS2, that includes PowerPoint templates and other bits and pieces. You could create news items, based on past Olympics using the BBC On This Day, as used here or design your own sporting outfits. Whatever you choose – I’m sure it will be fab!

 

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That time of year again…

…so much happening. Lots to do. A constant emery go round of events, or so it seems. Anyway, I thought it might be time to remind you of a few art based, ICT ideas that I’ve highlighted previously. You might be creating firework images using a suitable software package, or looking for ideas based around Children in Need, but I’m going to focus on poppy based  ideas you could link to November 11th. So here we go…

You might like to create some mosaic style images: poppies (any sort of flower really) are a particularly good subject for this – you just need to find the right images. Andrea mosaic would be my tool of choice and there’s a bit more information about that here (including a poppy themed example). You could also try your hand at one of the art activities here or maybe create a stained glass or texture style image: all fabulous ideas in their own way. But what I really thought you might like was another quick clip art tutorial showing how to make simple poppy images using Autoshapes. So that’s what you’re getting…

 

Are you an Angry Bird (addict)?

So…here goes with my second post of the day – I must be mad. I did, however, promise a few people I would share a few of my bonkers ideas for using Angry Birds as a basis for learning in the classroom. I’m sure many of you have some ideas of your own to go with this topic and I have a few friends who have already been using Angry Birds activities as a way of engaging pupils in the classroom. Now not all of these ideas are ICT based but I promised I would share them so…here we go…

First the mad part. I was sitting on the train the other day with my ipad and I saw a mum bring out some home made toys for her little one. Simple felt balls, about 6 cms across, (created as shown above) with little eyes and extras on. I thought how that would make a lovely idea for a school fete or similar and made a note of it.  Then she brought out a blue one that looked just like an Angry Bird – my mind went into overdrive. My initial idea was to get pupils to create them (or, possibly a friendly adult) and stuff them with a set weight of kapok so they could be used in maths for weighing/comparing/measuring. Maybe sort them so that the black one weighs twice as much as the red one which weights twice as much as the blue ones (if you know what I mean). After this, mind still in overdrive mode, I thought about creating a separate set of blue ones which had three mini blue ones inside – for times tables work or counting (but  I realise this might be pushing things a little too far…). Of course, if money is no object, you could always purchase a complete set of Angry Birds plush toys but I doubt many school budgets would stretch to them!

Let’s move onto my next batch of mad ideas then. After maths I moved onto science. How about using the little blighters you’ve just made for maths in a lesson on forces, complete with giant catapult. Too dangerous? Well it’s just an idea. Coming back down to earth with a bump (!!!! – sorry, couldn’t resist) why not use autoshapes, or another shape drawing program, to create your own Angry Birds? They could be as simple or complicated as you like. The one above is fairly straightforward – I bet the pupils could come up with something better. Another ICT idea I came up with involved the use of 2DIY (or maybe even 2DIY 3D if you have access to Purple Mash): creating games based on the Angry Birds story and characters. Maybe a journey game where the birds have to sneak past the pigs. Or a collection game for finding golden eggs. Again – the children are bound to come up with much better ideas.

And so to my final few ideas for today (and, I’m warning you, I have loads more): let’s link to literacy. If there are pupils who are really familiar with the game they could hone their instruction writing skills by creating walkthroughs for other children to follow. I think this would be a lovely exercise that could involve some really obvious peer assessment. I also think that the initial introduction to the game would make an interesting story starter and, if you want to get really into it, why not get pupils to storyboard and create their own game trailers, similar to the one seen here? I bet they come up with some corkers!

Getting Better All the Time

Well done to the bods at 2simple! They’ve just revamped their fantastic creative online space, Purple Mash, and, I have to say, it looks rather spiffing and works very well. New graphics, new menus, a lovely clear layout and an amazing array of content. If you haven’t tried it you really should: it’s inclusive, adaptable, cross curricular and a whole lot of fun. Pupils can have their own logins and save work in their own online space or to their own computer: meaning they can be creative at school and at home. Of course I’ve been a fan of Purple Mash for quite a while but, for those of you who haven’t seen it yet, let’s have a look at some of the new developments.

Well, firstly, there are some nice little changes to the main menu and subsequent areas. For a start there’s the addition of links for the different educational phases, making it easier for teachers to see what content might be age and skills appropriate. As you hover over each icon a lovely, unobtrusive pop up menu explains what to expect when you click through. They’ve also included a link to the most seasonal activities, the most popular activities and their latest content. All these features make it far simpler to get find what you want which, for busy teachers or impatient pupils has to be a good thing.

One of the most anticipated developments in Purple Mash (especially among some of the pupils I know) has been the inclusion of 2DIY 3D – a fantastic maze game creator that has a cross curricular purpose while, at the same time, being a whole lot of fun. I’m not going to wax lyrical on this now (although I think it’s absolutely fantastic) as there is a fantastic post available for you to read right here that will pretty much tell you all you need to know. I will, however, say that I think this activity lends itself you finding interesting textures that can be used to create the stunning 3D landscape (as seen above). I quite like to use a site I’ve mentioned before called CG Textures and, in the above screenshot, I used a tiled sky texture to create the ‘roof’ of the activity. The walls of the maze were created using a tree image I created especially. I think I’ll probably make more elements like this and post them as a bundle at a later date. Finally, I used a picture of the grass in my garden on the floor: I was trying to get a foresty feel as the game I’m creating is linked to the fabulous children’s book ‘The Gruffalo’ and I will be posting about this some time soon. Of course games are to be played and need to be shared and 2Simple have even got this covered. Once games created with 2DIY 3D have been completed and saved there’s a ‘share’ option allowing you to link to the game or embed it in a blog post/school website. Genius!

Going back to the main menu, another addition which I think teachers will find really helpful is the new Themes section which can be accessed from the tabs across the right of the page. As more schools go down a creative curriculum route they need to be able to find resources on a given theme quickly and efficiently. This section is just the job: I counted over 30 themes available at the moment and, when you consider how often the team at 2Simple are adding new and relevant content, that’s only going to blossom and grow even more.

So there you have it: quick, initial thoughts on the revamped Purple Mash. I think it’s getting better all the time: have a look and see what you think.

So, You Wanna be a Digital Leader?

There’s been a lot of chat on Twitter recently about Digital Leaders: pupils who can carry out a range of simple ICT based ‘jobs’ within school settings. It is an absolutely fabulous idea and there’s a great blog post about it, by Ian Addison, here if you want to find out more. Lots of schools have mini task forces for all sorts of little jobs ( School Council, recycling group, e-safety group – need  I go on?) so why not have a group of pupils doing little tech based things that will save the  a bit of precious teacher time.

Thing is, lots of school groups end up having little badges to wear out and about in the school corridors and I thought it might be nice to have something suitable and adaptable for the Digital Leaders. With that in mind I’ve created some editable badge templates, in Word and Publisher format that some of you might find useful. I’ve placed clip art images of children on them at the moment but these can easily be replaced by photos or other avatars. The borders could be changed to reflect school colours and I’ve used the much maligned Comic Sans font as I thought it was one most schools would have readily installed.  Why don’t you download them and start developing a Digital Leaders culture in your school – you know it makes sense.

 

 

 

 

Shapes of things (again)

Here’s another quick clip art tutorial – this one inspired by someone asking if I knew where they could find vector style, quality background illustrations that were not watermarked or prohibitively expensive. This is a very basic tutorial but more are to follow.

Keep Feeling Tessellation

 

 

Today I thought I’d share an idea I use to make tessellated images using Autoshapes. This isn’t a new idea but something that I though some of you might be able to use in class. Once you get the hang of it you’ll find lots of different ways to combine shapes and create patterns. I’m using Publisher in the video clip but you could just as easily use PowerPoint or any other program that allows you to create shapes and combine them.