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  1. Published by Film Education

  2. Literacy

  3. KS 2

KS2 Professional Review by Christian Duckworth

Your Professional Context
I am a teacher working with children aged 4-11 in a small primary school. Our school is in a semi-rural area and has 110 children in four mixed-age classes. I teach ICT to all the children in school and am the ICT co-ordinator. The children are taught in year groups and have one hour per year group per week in the ICT suite. They also have access to computers, laptops and net-books in class. ICT is taught as a discrete subject but links to other curriculum areas. I would use Picturacy with children in KS2 in their ICT lessons with links to the Literacy curriculum.

Students’ Usage
The program allows teachers to set up class and pupil lists so that students can log in individually. They can work in small groups or as a class at an interactive whiteboard. Once a student has logged in they are taken to a screen with a media bank of film clips to choose from. A toolbox allows them to add speech or thought bubbles and alter and adjust colour. A spotlight to highlight areas of the film picture and a recording area is available to add soundtracks. There is a storyboard button to enable building a storyboard of images and a camera button to allow students to take screen grabs. There is a print button, an import button to import images from the computer and a text box to enable text captions to be added to film clips. Work can be stored in My Library.

Curriculum Focus
The information leaflet states that the software is “designed to support the teaching of visual literacy and help children develop practical film making skills.” There are six teaching units covered within the resources: Character, Settings, Narrative, Colour and Light, Music and Sound and Camera and Editing. The first three would support work in the Literacy curriculum specifically in the areas of Speaking and Listening, Understanding and Interpreting Texts, Engaging in and Responding to Texts , comparing the structures of different stories, mapping texts to show development and structure, group discussion, drama and presentation. The second three are more in line with the multimedia units of the ICT curriculum and also in the music curriculum including work on camera angles, types of shots, panning and tracking, sequencing and editing, recording music and sound effects, writing a soundtrack and writing dialogue. There are lesson plans included on the disc covering each area.

Value as a teaching resource
Picturacy offers an alternative way to engage children's interest in literacy using film both to tell stories and to enable children to develop their own film making skills and produce multimedia presentations. The film clips included are suitable for the stated age range and offer a variety of styles and characters for study.

The software includes short clips from recent children's films: “The Fox and the Child”, “The Golden Compass”, “Kung Fu Panda”, “Princes' Quest”, “The Spiderwick Chronicles” and “Stormbreaker”. Some of these films will be familiar to the children, some may be new to them but all are age appropriate. The software allows children to work independently or in pairs or groups saving their work to their own individual work folders. The disc also offers comprehensive teachers' notes and lesson plans.

Visual Literacy is an integral part of the renewed Framework for Primary Literacy. However, finding appropriate film clips is not always easy. Picturacy offers a collection of clips chosen for the purpose and appropriate to the age and interests of children in KS2. The software enables children to work with the clips both in groups or independently.

Picturacy “is designed to support the teaching of visual literacy and help children develop practical film making skills.” The software includes film clips from a number of popular children's films and a bank of teaching activities and lesson plans to enable children to work individually, in pairs or small groups or as a class. The program enables children to watch film clips, record and edit soundtracks, capture stills, add speech and thought bubbles, edit images and create storyboards. The lesson plans also give information on using a camera to produce films, types of shots and camera angles, settings and use of colour and sound. The program has been produced by Film Education and support and further activities and suggestions are available from their website.