Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Using iPads and MacBookAirs to teach A-Level ICT


I think it's high time that I started blogging my journey delivering course content for two OCR Applied ICT units to my current sixth for students.

I have been lucky enough to be able to purchase 5 MacBookAirs to complement the 5 iPads and 20 iPod touches we currently have in my dept. 

The iPads and iPods have been in circulation around the school, being loaned out nearly every day now, for over a year.  The iPods have a carry case that doubles up as a sync and charge system which is very handy for delivering the iPods around school.  They have been used in many ways of which I will blog about over the coming weeks and months.

Onto the 6th form teaching.  In Y13 I currently teach 2 A2 units;

A2 Unit GO50 : Interactive Multimedia Products

Interactive multimedia products can play an important role in entertainment, education and in providing information.
This unit helps candidates to:
  • · Be critical of commercially-produced interactive multimedia products;
  • · Appreciate what is involved in the design and creation of interactive multimedia products.
In this unit candidates need to:
  • · Research into interactive multimedia products;
  • · Produce elements of interactive multimedia products;
  • · Design and build an interactive multimedia product to meet a client’s requirements;
  • · Review their interactive multimedia product for its effectiveness in meeting the clients’ requirements

A2 Unit G048: Working to a brief

This unit helps candidates to improve their performance and working relationships through the planning, implementation, management and evaluation of an ICT project. Assessment is intended to allow candidates to demonstrate the development of their skills and knowledge in relevant areas of ICT, as well as in their ability to work with others. Candidates are asked to find the solution to a brief chosen from a list. The briefs are set by OCR and may be completed by candidates as an individual or as part of a team.
Candidates will produce:
  • · A preparatory report into current working practice;
  • · A project plan in response to the set brief;
  • · A diary or log of work completed;
  • · Support materials for use with the project;
  • · A summative report on the project, some of which will be informed by client and user feedback.

G048 is an examined coursework component that has 5 different case studies to choose from.  Mt candidates are choosing the case study that can be taught alongside G050 very nicely.

The case study is as follows;

Road Safety:

You have been asked to create a prototype of a multimedia product that will teach road safety. The product will be aimed at children between the ages of three and six years. The main character in the product will be a cartoon character.

Your product must allow users some interactivity so that parents and children can personalise it. For example, parents could be given the ability to choose a name for the main character, or children using the product could choose the clothing that the character is wearing. Your client has also asked that any child using the completed product should be able to pause it at any stage, as well as repeat any section.

The following is a list of some of the features that could be included in your interactive multimedia product. Your client may amend this list and will certainly add to it. They will provide you with some of the material you need to include but you will also need to find/create some of it yourself.

·         an introductory page
·         a form of navigation through the story
·         sections representing different chapters in the story
·         images to be used in the product
·         videos to be used in the product
·         a sound track (including both voice and music)
·         buttons or clickable images to allow navigation through the interactive multimedia product.

As you can see, this lends itself perfectly to the students designing and creating some form iPad multimedia product.

Having looked around at the different types of software available to create apps I quickly realised that there isn't really a viable solution yet for creating apps efficiently enough for my students.  I had a quick rethink and looked into iBook Author.  This is a brilliant free app for the Mac that allows you to create amazing interactive ebooks easily. You can incorporate text, images, animations, sounds, videos, presentations and many interactive widgets along with so much more.

This video sold it to me...

So, I put some bids in and I got approval for the Macs and we are now about to embark on our journey.  A huge part of the units is showing how the students grow and improve their ICT skills and one of the ways they are going to do it is via their own blog.  None of the students have any experience using Macs before and are going to really enjoy creating a product that is relevant for their time and era.  One student has already said that this won't be like learning and will be amazing to see his product on the iBook store!

I am also going to hold workshops in the summer term (after silly season - or exams as we like to call them) and show staff how they can use their resources to create simple but effective eBooks for their subjects.  I will blog on this too!

So, watch this space and please feel free to comment.


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