I had this idea a few years ago of building a zoomable website which would enable students to navigate the globe, zooming in and out of places they were studying and adding information, or uploading postcards and images people sent from their holidays. This became a bit more realisable after visiting world atlas.com and took initial shape during a geography focussed book week when we used Where's Wally? as a context for a whole school project. When our Key Stage One Students adopted Tizz The Bear as character to roam the globe with them early in the Spring Term, this seemed too good an opportunity to miss to play with and develop this idea even further. As students have been covering geographical topics I have tried to encourage them and their teachers to contribute material they develop to this space. This hasn't always been as successful as I would like, but the aspect which is now just starting to take off, is the idea of travel logs, and sending postcards to school from Tizz. 2 Create a Story with the ability to save files in swf format, may just be that additional catalyst I have been looking for.
My colleague, spent the morning with me and a group of year 2 students, while we prepared a writing frame together using screen captured images from a video. She had originally decided to use PowerPoint, to present her version of Tizz's Travel Log, but having seen how easily this tool enabled the students to build image supported texts, create animation effects and to use sound files, she decided this might be the tool to help her get the best from the materials she had.
Using teacher the options we have set up the software to give access to the full set of drawing tools, and this also enables on right click a file import, copy and paste option on a pop up menu in the drawing space. So to set up her travel log, she firstly imported each of the image files she wanted to use, sequencing these to tell her story as she went. In the writing space she added supporting text, before moving to add her animation and sound effects. When you are in the flow, confidence is growing with a piece of software and you have identified a purpose for what you require it is amazing how adventurous you can get and to what lengths you are prepared to go to achieve this. You cannot really imagine a visit to spain without the appropriate music, and in her final slide, as Tizz reclines on his last day, she decided she needed some Spanish Music. This was not available in the sound effects so we needed to aquire some. She had brought along a CD, and with a bit of playing around we used Media Player to extract the track she wanted to use in .wav format. Using Audacity, she spent some time trimming and cropping her file to extract about 10 seconds from the file, before saving it. Using the import a file option in the sound effects menu, she then attached the sound file to the page. To say that she had never used either piece of software before, the outcome was amazing, and from her point of view unexpected. This also, again demonstrates just how powerful this tool could be as a multimodal resource in the hands of young children, with teacher preparation, and student access to, collections of theme based images and additional sound files.
Combined with a zoomable and tagged map created at Quickmaps.com, this document is currently displayed on Tizz's Travels, on our school web site. As I said above, I think I brought the wrong swf file home with me this evening, and so will need to update these pages tomorrow to gain the full effect. Well Done Ms C. I am sure others will be inspired to follow in your footsteps...