Pen-y-Bryn is a senior day special school for pupils with moderate to severe learning difficulties aged 11–19. Many of the pupils have additional physical, sensory, medical and associated behavioural difficulties. All pupils have an educational statement which is reviewed annually.
At Pen-y-Bryn the pupils receive a stimulating and appropriate curriculum which is innovative and demonstrates an outstanding use of ICT as a teaching and learning tool.
The children needed to embed a local history topic they were undertaking. The children had been learning about the journey the brave sailors from Swansea undertook to exchange copper with Chile. The sailors that survived the treacherous journey to Chile and back were known as the ‘Cape Horners’ and Swansea boasted more Cape Horners than any other port in the UK.
Mrs Sarah Oakey-Phillips the class teacher wanted a fun and interactive project to celebrate this and the work the children had been learning whilst developing a wide range of skills including Language and Communication, ICT and social skills such as working together.
After developing a good understanding of the story, the animation project ‘The Cape Horners’ on Clicker5 was started. The children embarked upon designing scenes, settings, making characters and choosing music to add mood to the production. The children looked at the structure of the story and used digital cameras to photograph and animate the play.
The children put the characters they had made on scenes, took photographs, uploaded the photos onto the computer and recorded voice clips using microphones. Music and sound effects were added and the amazing animated story of ‘The Cape Horners’ by all of us was born.
The story was introduced with lovely ‘Yo Ho Ho!’ music and the children could access different aspects of the production by pressing different coloured buttons on the Interactive Whiteboard screen. The children were able to scroll forwards and backwards through the animated story by pressing the appropriate buttons.
The process of the animation work was recorded via photographs and these are displayed on a storyboard wall with talking tins where the children have recorded comments about the story so the children can reflect and recall on the processes that were involved prior to the end product using a device which doesn’t require them to read or write.
The children’s scenes, props and characters are assembled on an interactive display in the classroom to reinforce the story also with talking tins to add an audio element and ensure the children have plenty of opportunities to embed the story of the Cape Horners in many different ways.
The children developed lots of skills during the project but particularly through the animation aspect. In addition to developing the use of digital cameras, searching for sound clips, recording via microphones and uploading files the children gained an abundance of social skills through partner and group work, sharing ideas and reflecting on each other as well as their own work. Language and communication skills were enhanced through these discussions and as well as the medium of voice recorders where the pupils had to think carefully about what they wanted to say, the way in which in needed to be said taking into account the mood of the scene that they wanted to create and the audience who would be listening. Their context of what was said had to be appropriate and the clarity as clear as would be possible.
The finished result was an fantastic film of which the school and pupils are extremely proud. It is a wonderful example of how ICT can be used to produce an interactive, exciting piece of work in which learners of all abilities can participate and contribute. The children will be able to enjoy this piece of work for years to come and can be used as a teaching tool for other classes in years to come when they come to learn about the brave ‘Cape Horners’