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Credit: Kingsland C.E Academy

Can technology enhance literacy?

Kenny Bartonshaw at Kingsland C.E Academy explains how he uses 'A Tale Unfolds' to enhance digital literacy in the classroom

Posted by Lucinda Reid | April 24, 2017 | Secondary

I have used a variety of apps and videos across the curriculum, so I have witnessed how technology can enhance children’s learning and really hook them into lessons. When I discovered the LitFilmFest competition taking place in June at the BFI IMAX, I felt it would be a perfect opportunity to introduce the use of multimedia and technology within English lessons, especially as I had previously used a range of videos to develop comprehension.

Credit: Kingsland C.E.Academy

To support my pupils’ learning on their class text, Beowulf by Michael Morpurgo, I decided to use the five lesson Mythical Movie Trailer project, aiming to strengthen pupils’ descriptive writing techniques – something many of them had previously struggled with.

We combined traditional and digital literacy which enabled the children to develop their understanding of how writing techniques and carefully chosen vocabulary can engage the reader, and even the most reluctant writers in the class produced high-quality writing. The children were also creating a visual representation of what they were describing. This use of imagery has continued to aid their writing across the curriculum.

The children were really considering how they could best engage the reader - the difference in the quality and content of their writing was amazing. Children were no longer writing descriptions that simply ‘told’ me about the character, such as: The brave warrior stood on the battlefield. Instead, they were writing to ‘show’: Standing amongst the fallen as the final warrior, he clenched his sword in his blood stained hand as he prepared for his final great battle.”

Not only were the pupils excited about filming their written project, but also extremely keen to design props and outfits for their trailer, based on research from their Vikings topic. They were proud to discover that people had already noticed their work on Twitter and chose to celebrate their filmmaking efforts with a movie premiere afternoon for parents and Senior Leadership.

Credit: Kingsland C.E.Academy

Within teaching, English is not my strongest subject - I am more sport and maths orientated. Yet these resources have increased my confidence and ability to teach the subject. Lessons are very well structured and easy to follow, enabling pupils to see the purpose and development of their writing.  Writing aside, the project had a great impact on pupils’ teamwork skills – they needed to communicate when directing each other, problem solve collaboratively and learn to compromise when deciding on ideas. I’ve been extremely impressed, not only by the standard of work created by the children, but the positive atmosphere and relationships that have been formed and developed as a result.

Video credit: Kingsland C.E.Academy

To find out more about the filmmaking and literacy projects available for your pupils, visit www.ataleunfolds.co.uk. For more information on LitFilmFest, the brand new film festival giving KS2 children the opportunity to showcase their writing and filming at the BFI IMAX, visit www.litfilmfest.com.

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