The challenge facing educators today is getting young children into the idea of writing for communication. I find that it is one of the hardest areas for me to do as I teach my class of 10 and 11 year old children.
Why are we actually learning to write? Is it just to fill the pages of the exercise book? To demonstrate that we are capable of reproducing what you are telling us? To practise those elements of punctuation and spelling that are taught on other days? Are these the thoughts running through their heads?
Perhaps one of the most liberating moves in the recent changes to the Northern Ireland Curriculum was that Communication was recognised as being in many different forms – not just the writing on the page. This meant that children could be encouraged to Communicate in many different forms – written, spoken, blog, website, etc. This is where discovering GoAnimate has helped the process of children realising that Communication can take many different forms and have many different purposes.
As well as being a marketing tool, I utilised the power of the animation to let the children create introductory animations about the school for our eTwinning partnerships that have begun with various schools around Europe. The beauty of having the tight 10 lines of dialogue in the free account with the constraints of 180 characters meant that the children were now having to consider every word in their communication – to maximise the communication in the restricted space available. Writing also has a definite purpose – people are going to be watching the animations to gain an understanding of their school.
By having the ability to replay the videos as they are created, children are also able to constantly evaluate and revise their work as it is read back to them. If they have done it incorrectly, the computer generated voice will always pick that up! A great, immediate feedback tool – another important skill within the Northern Ireland Curriculum.
Homework assignments were met with eager anticipation as I asked the children to complete a video to warn of the dangers of the Internet on Internet Safety Day. The made a fantastic attempt to create animations and over ¾ of the class had the assignment created on the first evening – despite having 3 nights to do it!
In GoAnimate we have a new medium in which the children can communicate. The animations have been embedded in our eTwinning page for our European Partners as well as being embedded in the school Facebook page for parents to see and share in the success of their children’s writing.
It will be onwards and upwards as I find more ways to encourage the children to practise their writing through the ‘GoAnimate’ medium as well as their intonation in speaking as they add their voices to future projects..
– Barry Corrigan, Communications, Elementary School, Northern Ireland
Millennium Integrated Primary School is a medium sized Primary School with Nursery Unit (220 pupils in total) on the outskirts of Belfast, Northern Ireland, offering education from 3 -11 years of age. I have been using the GoAnimate website with my P7 class (10-11 yr old) for a short while but have already recommended it to colleagues as another dimension to their writing. Our school was established by parents and opened in 2000 as another, more inclusive, option to the religiously segregated system that operates in the Northern Ireland Education
Editor’s Note: Barry’s class recently tried out GoAnimate for Schools. We hope to follow up with them and share their experiences with our school-safe product soon.
To learn more about GoAnimate for Schools visit http://goanimate4schools.com.
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