Sep 20 2009
Homeostasis as a chat up line…
Nik Peachey is a learning technology consultant, I downloaded his recent document web 2.0 tools for teachers and shared this with the teachers in our school. You can follow him or message him on twitter http://twitter.com/NikPeachey or visit one of his blogs for teachers: http://nikpeachey.blogspot.com/
I tried one of Nik’s suggestions out and so did a colleague of mine last week. It was something called Dvolver moviemaker: http://www.dfilm.com/live/mm.html
“Dvolver Moviemaker is a simple tool that enables you to create your own animated cartoons by selecting from a range of characters backgrounds and scenarios and adding your own dialogue text bubble. The movies can then be sent by email or embedded into blogs or websites for others to enjoy.”
It is ridiculously easy to use and really has bags of potential as a learning tool. I used it with my Year 11 students this week. We had been learning about Homeostasis and we had completed the activities we were working on a lot quicker than I had anticipated. I then asked the students to review what we had learnt and to reflect on their learning. As I had them in Year 10 they were used to how they did this, normally they would use their learning log where they would reflect on their learning at the end of every lesson. This was simply the right hand side of their exercise books. However today I was thinking about an email I had just before the start of the lesson from Marc an ICT teacher from our school who had looked at Nik’s booklet on web 2.0 tools and had tried out the Dvolver tool. He emailed me the link to one of the student’s animations and I had watched it just before the lesson and thought it was brilliant. Have a look at her animation on protecting information here: http://www.dvolver.com/live/movies-303208
So I said to my year 11 students do you want to try something and explained quickly what it was. At this point there was less than 20 minutes of the lesson left and I had never used it myself – all I had was the link to the website. So we basically went through the options which were extremely straight forward and together as a class we made a really simple animation on Homeostasis in about 3 minutes and then watched it back.
The students absolutely loved it and they said we have to make our own, so with 15 minutes left they set off to create their own. The results were fantastic though this creative tool they had demonstrated their new knowledge about Homeostasis in fact one of my favourite animations was a romantic love scene on Homeostasis which basically involves a man chatting up another man but discussing the correct science behind homeostasis. It is both funny yet informative and it was produced by a couple of girls who seemed to thrive in using this tool and produced excellent results. I never thought I would see Homeostasis uses as a chat up line I guess that what teaching is about! We then posted the links to the videos to their own class ning site. At the end of the lesson the students said that really what we should be doing next is reviewing each other’s animations to check the content and how accurate this is and peer reviewing them. They said that this will help them review their own learning whilst coaching the other students, I agreed and now this is the start of our next lesson. This is the student’s really taking control of their own learning and giving them real input into developing their own innovative curriculum. To watch their animations click on the following link: http://dan-sgjbx.posterous.com/
My Year 11 students loved using this and I am sure that any age of students would like to use it even 6th formers. The best things about this tool is that is free, easy to use and also the final product looks totally professional. You definitely need to have a go at Dvolver moviemaker and let me know how you get on by posting a comment with a link to any animation on my blog. Don’t forget to download Nik’s document where you can read about other uses for Dvolver and other web 2.0 tools.