Posts Tagged ‘media studies’

Surveying students about their learning preferences and progress used to be a cumbersome process involving screes of paper and (from me at least), a calculator. But there are tools and apps that make the process much easier – for teachers and students who need to conduct surveys as part of their learning/for course planning/professional development.

  1. Excel Survey Tool – Firstly, log in to your OneDrive account then select the New Excel Survey option. Excel will prompt you through the steps which involve giving your survey a title/subtitle, selecting the response type (you need to tick required to make the question compulsory) and adding new questions. There’s a text box option if you want longer form answers, and if you’re like me and create surveys organically, you can re-order questions by dragging and dropping individual questions. Save in View to preview the survey and edit before sharing. Like other MS tools, there’s a Share option in the top task bar to the right. This creates a URL linking to the survey. You choose where to send the link – it could be in an email or in a class notebook , in a word document or on a website. Just type in the names of the recipients and voila! You can open the results in the Excel spreadsheet and from there create charts.
  2. Microsoft Forms – This app is part of Office 365. My Media Studies students have used it successfully for the past two years as part of planning to create film trailers and short films. Again, you need to log into 365 then select the Office Forms app to get started. We brainstormed questions together on the board based around the requirements of the Achievement Standard we were working from and, to ensure individual students could share their results when they got together in groups of three later. The surveys can be shared like Excel Survey via the Share button. Once you have reached the respond by date (it pays to have a cut off), Forms will collate the data and create charts highlighting key findings. Here’s a link to one of my students blog posts based around their survey results.

Whichever option you choose, both Excel Survey Tools and Microsoft Forms are ideal for helping learners to gather and analyse data. Just remember you can only share with people within your organisation. This worked for us as at Level 2  our brief was to make a film/trailer for our peers. Slightly trickier for level 3 when the brief was to make a short film for the wider Taieri community. Students included staff in that survey.

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With our seniors heading into practice exams next week, there’s been the usual flurry of emails this weekend from students in various stages of panic. While I am more than happy to give feedback to students who have come to class, contributed, met milestones and generally brought something to the learning table, it’s a little harder to know how to help those with questions like”Can you help with dystopia? I’m really confused.”

Like I said, difficult to know where to begin.

We’ve a got a few months yet ’til externals so I hope their questions will become a little more refined in the near future! In the meantime, I’ve had a go at summarising an Achievement Standard via a web based presentation tool called mysimpleshow. This allows you to explain topics using a range of templates to create a short video. You supply the script (there’s a word count limit per slide so it tests your skills in brevity). The programme then matches your words with visuals which you can keep, delete or replace and even reads the script for you. If you don’t like the male American script readers, you can record your own. Each step is navigated via a set of tabs at the top of the page logically labelled: Summarise, Visualise, Add Audio, Finalise.

I’ve used similar tools in the past – ShowMe is a great one to use on iPad. I’ve used it for Slide the Corner,  The Whale Rider and Level 2 ConnectionsOfficeMix will do similar for Microsoft people. These programmes enable you to project directly off the site or if you’re worried about WiFi connectivity, you can download and save your presentation. Another plus for time-poor teachers is these sites feature collections of presentations made by others so you might find what you need ready to use! (A bit like SlideShare).

Curation sites such as ScoopIt, which I love for students looking to elevate their thinking and make independent reflections on the text, are also helpful at this time of the year. It’s also handy for saving all the sites you bookmark for a topic in a more visually appealing space.

Mysimpleshow combines text, visual and audio elements catering for a range of learners. You can elect to turn subtitles on or off – I put them on – and choose the speed of the speaker. I view it as a starting point to get students focused on key concepts. For my subject area at least, students will always have to engage with material, develop their knowledge and then synthesise and express their ideas via a well structured written response but as we all know, starting if often the hardest bit!

Next time I teach these topics, before writing a practice essay, I’ll get students to hone their thoughts by creating their own  Simple Show – flipping the learning should enable them to reflect on the content in a meaningful way AND ensure they create their own revision resource for later in the year.  I’d call that a win:win.



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Famous last words in my previous post about using tried and trusted platforms for senior assessments. You would think having used WordPress since 2010, guiding six Year 9 classes through the process of blogging on Taieri Hot Reads and administering two sites that using this format for my Level 2 Media Studies recent Design and Plan a Media Product assessment would be a walk in the park.


I’m not sure if it was because they were working on streams rather than laptops/PCs but despite me projecting the entire set-up process and talking them through it, students had no end of problems setting up blogs with four separate pages representing each stage of the assessment.

Once again, I’m left worrying that the use of technology simply added to their angst when they should have been focussing on the content more – planning a film trailer using their knowledge of various conventions and feedback from me and their peers (hello comment function – seemed ideal?!).

In the worst case scenario, when the clock is ticking and no amount of creative thinking solves an issue for them, it pays to go back to basics so I suggested they avoid trying to add pages and simply put all four stages on the home page with clear headers so external agencies 😉 can follow their planning. Having just had a quick check of some of their sites, it appears even that threw them.

Anyway, here’s a couple of the ones that are currently working to plan. They were due to submit them on the last day of term but were in such a tizz, I’m letting them tweak over the holidays and submit first day back – yay, lots of Week One marking for me.

Student X

Student Y

Student Z

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Recently, and with thanks to Andrea Robertson, (our fantastic e-learning lecturer at Otago University’s College of Education), I was introduced to another fast, fun and simple to use on-line learning tool which goes by the name Animoto.  This site allows users to create unique slide shows using either their own or Animoto’s selection of photos, video clips and music.

I had a go using some photos I had stored on Flickr. After several unsuccessful attempts (where Animoto valiantly tried to upload an entire album of a hundred odd photos), I found the easiest solution was to go back to Flickr (you can also upload from Facebook or select from a folder on your PC) and create a dedicated Animoto folder to upload to the site with no more than 12 photos. This is about all the app can use within the 30 second free service – if you want/need more than that, you start paying. 

I selected a background theme from several templates offered by Animoto and likewise with the soundtrack in the background.  If I’d worked out how to upload from Flickr at the start this would seriously have only taken about 30 minutes to create the final product.

So what are you left with? A visual representation based on a topic of your choice so a great way to synthesise information, encourage deeper level thinking and reinforce key learning objectives.  Classroom applications I’ve thought of for Animoto in my subject areas include:

  • Download a selection of images from a play/novel and present an interpretation of a key scene.
  • Select a theme from a unit of work being studied and get students to do the same either on their own or in pairs.
  • Use Animoto as an introduction to editing for a junior Media Studies class – does the tone suite the images? Is the music suitable?
  • Create a slide show around a key character in a novel/play – use images that sum them up
  • Get students to take photos around the school and use those to create a quick presentation about the school e.g A Day in The Life Of Mr Brown, A Typical Day for 11RT, Our School etc
  • Similarly they could take digital cameras on an outside trip the Museum etc and use Animoto for a follow-up report
  • Who Am I? Use as an icebreaker at the start of the year – see if students can bring in a few digital pics of themselves which say a bit about them e.g hobbies, families, favourite holidays, places, mentors etc

Like most online tools you’ll need:

  • Access to the computer lab in good working order
  • To create a unique account for each student (check if the school is ok with that)
  • Time to give students a quick virtual tour
  • Make sure they have the resources (stills, video clips, music) they need set up in a folder

The uses are pretty endless. Given that I created mine while at College and don’t have a lot of pics stored online, my first foray was a slidehow of my sons – not exactly educational but the grandparents like it!  Friend Boys.

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