ICT and Local History

As part of my ICT support role in the local area I spent a fascinating day with the children of Dennington Primary School. They are looking at local history. I introduced digital cameras to a year 3 / 4 class. They quickly became confident with the new equipment. We talked about some important issues regarding photography:

  • the use wherever possible of NATURAL LIGHT

  • the importance of BACKGROUND and FRAMING in a photograph

  • the use of the CLOSE UP function (the 'flower' option)

The aim of the visit to Dennington Church was to acquire images of local history and to practise using the skills of taking good photographs. Thinking about taking photos also encouraged the children to look more carefully at everything in and around the church.

The image on their school badge, for example, was noticed in a carving on the end of a church pew. Photographs like these can be taken back to the classroom to stimulate further discussion and research.

The short film below includes a collection of pictures from outside and inside the church.

The church had a display of fascinating old technology. This included a sand tray for writing in - a sort of ancient message board. This short film shows a child using it.

ICT in Food Technology

We have been using ICT in more areas of the curriculum. Our Year 6 children have been making vegetable soup and felt that digital cameras and sound recorders could be used to make a short film which might help other children understand the various parts of the process.


Using new sound recorders

As part of my role within our pyramid I spent a day working with Easton Primary School on multi media skills around a theme of Ecoschools.

We learnt how to use our new Kodak digital cameras and Edirol Sound Recorders.

The children collected photo and sound (interviews) evidence from around school of the Eco friendliness of the school.

The children loved using the new equipment and very quickly got the hang of using the Edirol sound recorders. They produced some high quality interviews with children and staff about the schools eco friendliness. The Edirol R-09 Recorder produces high quality MP3 or wav files which can be easily transfered and used on computer.
Some of the children were able to combine their photos and interviews using 'Movie Maker' software. You can see some examples below.


What's my Angle

In Key Stage 2 Maths we have been learning how to use a protractor. We have used digital cameras when looking at angles around the school site. We have set up angle trails inside & outside the classroom.

We have also used a brilliant online program called 'What's my angle?'
It is free to use. Click on the link below or on the icon.


Digital Sound Recording in Early Years

Easi-speak microphones by TTS are a simple and brilliant way of digitally recording children's voices and sounds. They come in sets of 5. We have purchased 2 sets and have trained our Foundation and Key Stage 1 children (and staff!) how to use them.
Inside each recorder there is a flash memory - like a memory stick. On the end there is a USB connector so that you simply plug into a computer. No software needed. The recordings are in MP3 format and can be saved and played in any media player.
The microphones themselves have a red button for record and a green for play back. The speaker on the play back is limited. I would recommend that you play them back through a computer - this will also mean that you can see all the recordings made in a session & save / clear the memory at the end of a recording session.

These photos show KS1 and Reception children using easi-speak. I found that it was worth spending some time talking to the children about interviewing technique, holding the microphone when asking or answering questions etc.

Click on the TTS logo to see Easi Speak website.

See short video of reception children using easi-speak when singing.

Tesco ICT Vouchers

We have recently taken delivery of Tesco ICT equipment from collecting vouchers. The range and quality of equipment and software in their catelogue is excellent. From 100 up to 30,000 vouchers there is something for everybody.

It is well worth saving the vouchers.

Click on the tesco logo to go to their online catelogue.

Follow this link to see the items we received.


Rivers Project - Photos and Narration

As part of a study on rivers we have been looking at our local river; The Ore. The children have been looking at where they live in relation to the river and why settlements such as Framlingham, Aldeburgh and Orford have developed close to a river. We also noticed that many towns and villages get part of their name from the river. Suffolk is famous for its village signs. Many of the villages on the River Ore have images to do with the river. We have photos of some of these signs and have designed our own village signs. We photographed them so that they could be used as part of the films the children are making about the stages of a river.

The children also wrote and talked about what their villages signs represent. Some of these have been recorded using a digital MP3 recorder. This narration can then be added to the film.

The example below shows a photograph combined with a narration by a child.....

This second example shows photographs of the children's work combined with some narration...

These films were made using an EDIROL MP3 recorder, digital camera and Movie Maker Software.

Rivers Project - Photographs

As part of a study on rivers we have taken photographs of the various stages of our local river: The Ore. Its source is just outside Framlingham at Saxstead Green. It passes close to the school, the castle and winds its way through Framlingham. Some of our photos show that some of the streets have names associated with the river.

These photographs where used by the children to form a film (using 'Movie Maker') about the stages of a river. See other posts about the use of digital sound and video.

The River Ore passes through other Suffolk villages such as Parham, Hacheston, Marlesford and Snape. At Snape it joins with the River Alde and goes close to the town of Aldeburgh. It then runs parallel with the coast for several miles. It reaches the town of Orford where it is again called the Ore. It runs alongside a shingle spit called Orford Ness for a few more miles before finally reaching the North Sea at a place called Shingle Street.

There is a very useful website called WATERSCAPE where you can interact with a map of the UK to follow the route of any river.


Mini Tripods

Tripods are essential for avoiding camera shake and, therefore, blurred images. This is particularly important when taking macro (close up) photographs or movies. A tripod is also useful when taking images of moving objects. It is vital on a fast shutter speed (sports setting on some cameras) that the camera is stable. You could use a traditional tripod (with legs) but these are rather bulky for classroom use.
A mini tripod (see photo below) is very useful in the classroom for taking close ups. For other shots the mini tripod is placed on another surface to provide required height.
These mini tripods have extendable legs and a flexible head.

Tripods are essential for 'Stop-go animation' photography. The camera must stay in exactly the same position for each shot - the tripod will obviously give the camera a fixed position whilst the animator is changing the object to be photographed.

Mini tripods only cost about £5 and fold up small enough to fit in to a camera case.


Australian School Science Website

Copacabana school is situated in the Gosford shire on the Central Coast of New South Wales 100 kilometres from Sydney.
They have a very good set of science resource pages - well organised and clear sections. It includes a link to part of the Robert Hitcham's website (Habitats section) which they describe as being 'truly inspiring'.

Click on the links below to go to:



Online Stories

You can listen to some great children's stories on line.

One of the best websites is ' Storynory'

This website has a brilliant new audio player. It is very simple to use and needs no software. Simply play or pause a great range of stories.


Sparklebox Teachers Resources

Sparklebox box is an Early Years teaching resource website. Back in February 2006 SparkleBox.co.uk was launched as a means of sharing useful downloadable resources with other teachers around the UK (and beyond).Since then the site has grown dramatically but the fundamental aim of sharing resources remains.
Click on the logo below.......

Sparklebox has recently included a Key Stage 2 section - click on logo below

Access to the site used to be by subscription, however, since June 1st every resource on the site is FREE to download - no payment required at all!

Several teachers at Robert Hitcham's use Sparklebox. It is particularly useful for display items.

We hope you enjoy looking around the site!


Photo Slideshows

All of the photos used on your blog are automatically saved in your google account.
They will be placed into galleries which you can edit and share.
You can also embedd a slideshow of a photo album. Go to 'Picassa Web Albums' within your bloger account page. Simply copy and paste the html code on to your blog.


Put a countdown on your website

See example below. Click on link 'A countdown for your site' to create your own.


Digital Photography and Video in PE

A digital camera (with a good sized screen) can be a very useful teaching / learning aid in technical sports such as cricket.
In these photographs I was able to talk to children about variuos aspects of hand, feet or head positions in batting, bowling and fielding.

Video clips can also be useful in other sports such as athletics eg demonstrating use of arms in the air and on landing or in hockey. See videos below.

Producing a Audio Podcast

My English group have been working on a project to produce their own short play.

First of all they took a short story called: 'They forgot to plant an acorn on the moon'. This story by Phil Shapiro (an American Primary School teacher - see his website for this and more stories) had no speech within it. The children in small groups turned the Narrative into a short Play Script - see example. We looked at examples on guidance on the internet (via our school website) about writing play scripts.

Following rehearsals of the plays we looked at how the scripts & the role of a narrator could be improved / adapted to tell the story. Some children also added their own slant to the story.

The finished scripts were then recorded on digital audio recorders. We started by recording one scene at a time and looked at issues such as speaking into the microphone, speaking slowly and clearly, rustling of papers etc.

The recordings were imported into Windows 'Movie Maker'.

We talked about how radio plays have sound effects and background music. The children then found and used some space sounds and suitable background music to go with their recordings.

In movie maker they then added titles, text and credits plus some images.

You can see below some of the final productions. All of the children are in Year 5 (9 and 10 years old).


Art Galleries

Like many schools we have regular displays of children's art work on the walls.
We have taken digital photos of the work on various displays and made them into a virtual display on our website.
The photos were imported into 'Movie Maker' and a piece of music added.
The 'Vision On Gallery' tune was downloaded from this website

See these examples.

The 'Vision On Gallery' tune was downloaded from this website


Data Logging

At Robert Hitcham's we use Logit Explorers data loggers.

They have 3 basic functions: temperature, light and sound.

You can also buy extra sensors such as heart rate monitors and temperature probes.

Children find them easy to use. They come with software which enables you to transfer data on to a computer / laptop.

Logit also gives you a booklet of suggested activities.

There are lots of uses for data loggers in Science, Maths, Geography and Physical Education. See some suggested activities on Kent's NGFL Website

Logit Explorers are made by Logotron - see their website

You can get Logit Data loggers with Tesco vouchers this year

Each one is 7500 vouchers - see Tesco website
You can also get accessories from the Tesco catalogue such as heat probe for 500 vouchers.

This short video shows children using data loggers to record their resting pulse in a science leson.