Course 5 Reflection

So the final video has been made and uploaded.  It’s time to look back on it and reflect.

I set out to examine current Visual Arts unit of inquiry and redesign it, ensuring when rebuilding it I utilise my new understanding of technology integration and use.  My initial goal was to take an art unit involving hand drawn animation and rework it to use digital tools to create an animation.  The tool that I decided to use was Scratch Jr,as I love it ease of use and the professional finish it gives each project.  This is an attribute that makes this program so attractive to children.

As this was my original goal I must ask the question did I meet it? Well the answer is yes and no.  Yes all the students created a great little animation retelling a story, but I am not sure that I made enough of a comparison between the original UOI of creating a flick book and this unit that required the students to use Scratch Jr.  I really wanted the student to make the connection between traditional forms of art and digital forms of art – I just don’t this that I help the students make this connection.

As I started the unit the original plan seemed somewhat ambitious:

  1. Learn how to use scratch
  2. Retell a traditional or well known story through the use of Scratch Jr
  3. Use a story the students used to create a storyboard
  4. Use Scratch Jr to animate this story.

Seems pretty simple? 4 easy steps? Well no, I totally underestimated how long it would take the students to retell the traditional story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff.  We actually managed to sequence the series of events in the story, use them to create a storyboard and then recreate and retell the story.

I was so surprised at how difficult the student found it to predict the blocks that they could use to retell the story.  Making the connections between the concrete and the abstract was ver near impossible for some students.  Therefore to get around this stumbling block I allowed the students to write their storyboard one scene at a time, after they were sure that the last scene made sense.  It was interesting that, in my opinion, this was one of the hardest aspects of the unit and when the student completed their reflections at the end of the unit they also said that they need help with this aspect.

Again I found this difficult to predict as the students had worked very successfully on a ‘reverse engineering’ task, where they had to predict the blocks they would use to complete a task:

This is definitely and area that, if I were to do this again, I would give more time to before I continued.

It was gratifying to hear that the students like using Scratch because ‘it wasn’t really like writing a story, it was like playing a game’.  I also enjoyed watching student who, under different circumstances, really struggled with writing  find it so easy to express themselves through the use of the voice recording.  Just taking the secretarial aspect of retelling a story through the traditional means of pencil and paper demonstrated how often we are assessing our students abilities to write and not their understanding of how a story is constructed or retold – this task was very far removed from the traditional pencil and paper approach to literacy.  In addition to this, the student were not held back by their artist abilities.  I felt that the application had a built in differentiation tool.  For the students who wanted to write they could use the speech bubble block, for the students who were stronger vocally they could record their voices.  For student who enjoyed drawing they could create their own characters and background and for those who found this difficult they could use the stock images provided by Scratch.

Throughout the unit I really enjoyed watching the students help one another.  Around the halfway mark we had a new student join the class.  One other student decided that she would find it difficult to catch up and so stood with her during one lesson and explained how you ‘write sentences in Scratch’.  It was at this moment that I realised that the students were really making connections to their class work and that Scratch was making sense to them.  This was a great moment as I felt that at least one of my goals had been met.

Overall, I am not sure that I met all aspects of my goals however this was really a worth while experience for my students and a great introduction to the world of programming. This project definitely put a new spin on an old unit.  In reflection, where did my project sit within the SAMR model? I’d have to say somewhere between Modification and Redefinition.  The animations could, certainly, have been created without the use of technology.  However, the final animations produced were of a very high standard.  The students were free to create without their artistic abilities holding them back, therefore the unit was redefined as the ” technology allowed for new tasks that were previously inconceivable.”  (Technology is Learning)

throughout this unit the students could created the animations to a very high standard without their artistic abilities holding them back.

Finally, the greatest lesson that I will take away from this course… That’s a hard one, as there were so many different lessons.  I guess overall it is to use as many different lenses as possible to examine your practices.  Go back and think about your lessons from different angles.  I really believe that the ability to do this has benefited my learners and has injected a new lease of life to many of my old lessons.

Here are our final completed projects:

Grade 1w final Scratch Jr animations

Grade 1G final Scratch Jr animations

These are my Ideas for each section of the video, based on the COETAIL objects detail in the Course 5 materials:

Enjoy my final presentation:

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