In the summer term we take our Foundation Unit to Sherwood Pines, a Forestry Commission park here in Nottinghamshire. As the name suggests, it’s a large woodland with tall pine trees and a great outdoor education team and facilities for all ages. During the day we did all of the outdoor education activities you could think of in a forest: mini beast hunts, woodland art (Andy Goldsworthy), story trails (The Gruffalo) and for the purpose of this blog post, photography.
This week saw the arrival our MakeyMakey and the first time I got hands-on with the kit. Having followed the work of ADE Mark Shillitoe for 2 years, I thought it was about time I tried it out for myself. I ordered the MakeyMakey from Amazon, just over £40, and the kit comes complete with enough crocodile clips for simple projects. The instructions are clear, set up took about 5 minutes and we were up and running with a Banana Piano in a matter of minutes.
Wait a minute though, what is MakeyMakey?
I have always been a fan of the Puppet Pals and it was one of the first apps I came across when my journey with iPad began. At BETT 2013 I worked with Ian Wilson ADE again and we had a lot of time to chat about new apps. During the week the Puppet Pals 2 app was released and that was one of the apps we talked about. This addition to the Puppet Pals series makes further use of animation and has some very cool characters which interact with other objects on the set… But we agreed that the simple charm of the original app was what we liked. I have always enjoyed putting in my own characters straight from books, and Ian talked about using the app beyond the obvious story telling purpose.
He explained how he has used Puppet Pals to discuss physics, moving objects (put in as characters) around a plain white background and recording the conversation in the app. Straight away I thought this was a great idea and I knew that when the opportunity came for me to adapt this to an early years context I would pull it out of my bag of tricks…
And the time came to use it…
This half term our school have had new Promethean interactive whiteboards and a priority within the ICT team has been to improve whiteboard use. As I always say, training and sharing is the best way to improve staff skills. So this is the route we are taking.
Here a few ideas, tips and tricks that are easy ideas for whiteboard use. All of them are free, most of them are already installed on your Windows 7 machine!