As someone who has predominantly used Macs for the last 20 years for learning, professional and personal use it has always amazed and frustrated me that they are not used more widely in UK schools. Thankfully, I’ve now started to see the tide turn with a growing number of educators realising that there is more (much, much more) to the world of ICT in education than PCs and Microsoft Office.
In my role as Community Governor to a local primary school I see the day to day impact of ICT policy on children’s learning and today I had the pleasure of spending a couple of hours working with children and staff at Bridgewater Primary School on a Mac based learning project they are piloting with the help of two MacBooks provided by the local council.
The learning intention was to create a short video based advert for the school using footage taken by the children and edited in iMovie. I’ve been involved with creating advertising, videos and TV commercials for many years now and it was so refreshing to see the children excited, engaged and full of ideas regarding how they think an advert should work and for them to describe what they believe the ingredients of a successful advert are.
They brainstormed in groups and created a checklist for their advert: smiling faces, children playing, teachers helping children, bright colours, happy music, funny. Pretty impressive stuff and, to be honest, apart from some more sophisticated language, it’s not far off the type of brief us ‘professionals’ might come up with. Bridgewater has successfully implemented a creative curriculum over the last 18 months and so, in many ways, it’s not surprising that the children are able to think in such a way. They’re young ideas people and it’s a great thing to see.
So, on to the technical part of the project. The children are given a 5 minute tour of iMovie by Miss Hawley and away they go. They intuitively find their way around the software with little help and get stuck in to editing existing clips as a way of learning the programme.
I worked with one group on an older version of iMovie and two other groups used the MacBooks with the latest version. The point is that the children didn’t care what the software was or which version they were using and I can’t recall any of them asking if they were using a Mac or a PC. They were editing video, it was quick and easy and allowed them to be creative and that’s all that mattered to them. And that’s all that really should matter for their learning journey.
I’m looking forward to seeing how the children progressed with their advert creation and would love to see more of this type of intuitive creative software in the school. Bridgewater has already used Garageband in their music lessons and I know that the teaching staff have the ability to embed ICT into the curriculum in really interesting and engaging ways (Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games being used to introduce reception children to the Winter Olympics was inspired!).
Engine Creative has donated a Mac to the school to help them on the way and we and other private sector companies should really do more. By investing in education we not only give something back but we can learn so much regardless of whether or not we’re a Mac or a PC.
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