Animal Multimedia: An Online Workshop
After months of being stuck in my house, I was finally able to stop by a school and observe one of our exciting workshops firsthand…sort of. I was there digitally! Not like a hologram or force ghost from Star Wars, but via Google Hangouts, which works just as well.
I was joined by my colleague Dave Ravenscroft, a fabulously enthusiastic and charismatic Teacher who couldn’t wait to tell me that we were going to be delivering an animals multimedia workshop for two classes at the same time! We were blessed to be met with the Y1 and F1 children of Rock Ferry Primary School, who greeted us with fluttering waves and wide-eyed smiles; displaying an eagerness and excitement which remained unshaken throughout the session.
“Do you guys like animals?” were the first words spoken by Mr. Ravenscroft, so deafening was both classes’ collective reply of “YEEEEEEEESSSS!” that our laptop microphones shrieked and popped under the pressure.
Presenting his iPad screen to the class, Mr. Ravenscroft showed the class the badger he’d created in the art creation app, Doodle Buddy (Check it out below, I actually think it’s quite good!), and started instructing them on how to use it.
Colouring in a sky, grass, a sun on his portrait, Dave then tasked the kids with drawing their own favourite animal along with it. In response to this suggestion, they excitedly started scribbling; moving their hands across their iPad’s at such speed that the webcam feed could only capture a colourful blur!
Before they could finish however, those two magical words which all F1 children treasure, rang throughout the classroom, “BREAK TIME!”. As they left, Dave used the opportunity to contact our class of Y1’s to see how they were managing. Never had we laid eyes upon a more diverse group of animal drawings; ostriches, dinosaurs, goldfish, cats, elephants, snakes, squirrels, chickens, dogs, lizards and even dragons – they were all there; beautifully drawn and vibrantly coloured. With each piece of artwork being shown one after another in an almost clip-book like fashion, one might be forgiven for thinking we were in a Pixar film (You can see some of them below!).
The sheer variety of species were vast, and granted Dazzling Dave the perfect opportunity to teach the kids more about these animals, but that would have to wait until after another break, and a hardy snack of toast!
Later, both groups of infant humanoids, having returned from devouring their lunch, sat and watched Dave, mesmerised as he discussed both groups magnificent drawings and the differences between each of the separate animal classes (i.e. birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and fish.)
But how would they memorise these classes? B.R.A.M.F, of course! (Watch here and experience the righteousness of true Rock & Roll)
It was after this sing-a-long that Mr. Ravenscroft introduced the PicCollage app; allowing the children to demonstrate their new-found knowledge by applying it to a digital canvas! To provide them with the information, they were given a QR code, which, of course, being the bright little digital natives they are, they knew exactly how to use. After scanning the code with their iPads, they were taken to a webpage filled with pictures of animals which they saved onto their camera roll and merged together using the app; creating a beautifully informative and colourful infographic! (See below)
Having been put on the path to become our next generation of genius Zoologists,, it was time for us to leave, but not before getting a round of flattering applause from our young audience, whom, I’m happy to report, enjoyed the session immensely!
To be back in schools and doing what we do best is an almost overwhelming relief. Our children hold up the other half of the sky, and if lockdown hiatus has taught us anything, it’s that we are incredibly privileged to be part of their lives.