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Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Isle of Wight Conference

Had a great time at the Isle of Wight Conference last weekend. It was good to put some faces to names, and a great opportunity to pick up some tips on podcasting and eTwinning (in my case that is, the choice of workshops was far wider). Persuaded by Kathleen Holton's session on digital voice recorders I've invested in a Sony UB70X and am already enjoying recording and uploading audio much more simply and quickly than with audacity (press record, talk, press stop, plug into the USB port and off you go). Yesterday I added a comment voki to the voki posted by our partner class in France on our shared blog using the Sony recorder and am hoping the French class will use comment vokis maybe rather than typed comments to give us a bit of feedback (this will make sense if you follow the links above).

So a big thank you to Joe and Heather Dale, and all the speakers at the conference for a fantastic weekend. Lots of inspiration, and several instances of making digital life easier: we couldn't ask for more. Didn't have an opportunity to go to Alvin's Waffle House, however. Next year maybe.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Pixton again

I had a great time last week with my Upper Sixth playing with Pixton. We're studying two films of Truffaut for A2 and as we are homing in on character work at the moment, I thought it would be fun for them to write their own extra scene for the film and set up a heart-to-heart between a couple of characters, using the Pixton cartoon site as a medium. Despite taking a while to get to grips with it (not for the colour-blind: in advanced cartoon creation everything depends on whether the editing box over your character is blue, red or green...) they really enjoyed the creativity of the activity. Within half an hour they had found imaginitive ways of expressing the character's views and feelings in words and by using the highly-customisable posture and expression options Pixton provides. The bonus was that the students are beginning to understand, hands-on, what sorts of decisions a director has to make, frame by frame ("shall I zoom on the character or will I miss out on the other character's reaction?"etc.). The corrected, printed versions are going to make an eye-catching start to our Truffaut character wall.

PS Links are playing up for me again tonight, so with apologies, the one vital address here:

As I previously suspected, Pixton is maybe a little too complex and less visually appealing than other sites, such as toondoo, for younger students, but is a fantastic tool for the more ambitious or experienced. I'm now wondering about setting a cartooning task for November's "blogechange" project...