So, today I attended TMM11 – TeachMeet Midlands 2011 – which was, as ever, inspiring. We enjoyed any number of cracking talks: a couple about game-based learning (one using Xbox Kinect, the other on Mario Kart), a fabulous insight into using Aviary in both primary and secondary settings (the latter by Helen Morgan / @nellmog) in a fabulous insight into how to get my own pupils enhancing their animations 🙂 and a wry look at learning the lessons of practical fault finding.
For me, though, the highlight (lowlight? most terrifying part, certainly) was finally putting my mouth where my money is, so to speak, and delivering a short, unrehearsed, talk on the unit I delivered initially to Y9 (and now to Y8) using Scratch to produce an animated short story. My thoughts, such as they were can be summarised as
- use simple tutorials to get the children engaged in using Scratch (which isn’t usually too hard, as it’s sooooo engaging)
- get them to plan a story on paper (which can help with APP AF2c – “can we give your storyboard to someone else to animate?”)
- extend their use of searching (which can help with AF3a, and have found the Common Craft video very amusing, here)
- possibly use some image manipulation software to trim borders from sprites to leave them on transparent backgrounds – we used Paint.NET (which can arguably help with AF1a)
- (the one I forgot) you can demonstrate the use of sub-routines (kind of) by using Scratch “messages”, which then opens the pupil up to level 6 on AF2b
Apart from the usual adrenaline rush I always get from new endeavours, all was good. The only mild frustration was in not talking about the use of “sub-routines” in Scratch – another notch on the APP tick-chart – but was flattered by the positive comments I received. Thanks, all – I think it helped being sat where I was, and being encouraged by the redoutable Zoe Ross / @zoeross19 and friends.
So, in short, that was one small leap for teacher-kind, but… 🙂