If you are looking for something different to do with the kids, what about exploring Film & Video making? I’m not talking about making short films, that would be great, but it’s too involved and labour intensive to begin with. Think of it being an alternative to setting out a table of crafts or exploring painting or lego or something hands-on. It’s an experiment, quick and fun. You can offer activities that fit into your day and don’t involve you organising or knowing much about it. Kids explore, they throw themselves in, they generate ideas, immerse themselves in activities when they are interested. They love technology and are drawn to it, so how can we get our kids familiar with these tools and the skills that they will almost definitely need to handle and be involved within their future?

If you would like to explore this theme a little more please visit these articles from NESTA National Endowment of Science Technology & the Arts.  Creativity and the Future of work NESTA by Eliza Easton and Hasan Bakhshi. https://www.nesta.org.uk/report/creativity-and-the-future-of-work/  Or this article called Young Digital Makers by Oliver Quinlan. https://www.nesta.org.uk/report/young-digital-makers/ 

82 per cent of young people say they are interested in digital making. However, half of young people make things with digital technology less than once a week or never.

by Oliver Quinlan NESTA

It also says that only half the actual ICT teachers feel confident teaching that curriculum. As an ex-teacher myself, I can see many issues with schools teaching technology, especially creative technology, but I think the main issue is that schools have a culture of being very prescriptive. Everything is very well organised these days and each child will know exactly what the aims of the lesson are, what they will learn and probably have examples of outcomes that they are expected to replicate to a high standard. This standard of excellence will be shown and you will be aware of what will be a lower level and what will earn excellence. They are being told how to replicate. I have a bit of an issue with all of this to be honest, especially when it comes to digital making. (Please see this blog post for my ideas on how to learn creatively and in-flow). The gap in experience here for our young people is giving them a truly free, creative, hands-on, digital making experience and I don’t think many schools feel ready to do this. Individual teachers can and they have to be the pioneers. I feel the majority of schools have little faith that digital making is what young people need. It does not fit nicely into Ofsted criteria or future exam specification either. Managers in schools are not usually from the more creative sectors of industry or education. This sort of brushing over creativity in schools is not supporting our kids futures.  Parents have a very important role to play in supporting creative digital making and enabling that freedom to learn spontaneously and in-flow, without the time and pre-planned constraints that a school day might demand. Schools have a very important role to play in recognising the skills kids need for the future and offer different learning experiences. Knowledge, confidence and ideas can be a barrier to delving into digital making with kids. As we get older it becomes almost second nature to cut off those things which make us feel slightly out of our depth, but hopefully, you can see the value in these kinds of activities with the young people of today.

For most young people digital technology is an everyday part of life. Many are avid consumers of digital media. However, they often don’t understand how to manipulate the underlying technology, let alone how to create it for themselves.

by Oliver Quinlan NESTA

Creative digital making can be part of the school day. It needs dedicated teachers who aren’t afraid of creativity and spontaneity, who can manage a different sort of classroom and who are willing to start learning on the job again. You can offer creative digital challenges for homework and give opportunities for kids to work together in the classroom.  My general advice would be to look at the soft skills the kids may learn also known as 21st century skills. We need to try to give the opportunity for the kids to understand what these skills are and how they are displaying these skills. Things like critical thinking, visual literacy, using initiative, productivity, flexibility. The emphasis should be on experience, autonomy, respect for each others unique skill set, not result. Doesn’t mean you won’t get results, you may get more than you anticipated. How the project is phrased to the kids and how invested they are allowed to be is key. Digital making should be fun and different from the usual task. It should encourage autonomy, imagination and uniqueness. It should inspire self-learning and self-direction and it may offer opportunities for leadership skills.

Whether you are a parent spending lots of quality time with your kids at the weekend, a home educator or teacher in a school, it is our opportunity to build up a healthy relationship around technology with kids and one that is as a maker as well as a consumer. There is nothing wrong with consuming technology. It is good market research for the future and it comes with its own range of skills and knowledge. It can be sociable and make kids feel connected. It’s a question of balance and showing children that they are creators, directors and decision makers. It’s empowering them in the world of creative technology and giving the experience of process and problem solving, to dream up what they want, or to go with the flow discovering what presents it’s self. To be equipped for the future. As they grow they will have a I can do that mentality with regard to digital creativity because they have been given a wealth of experience in their learning and experience in those 21st century skills that they can recall later on in life.

10 FILM, VIDEO AND AUDIO MINI BRIEFS FOR KIDS

  1. Video Diary – Reflections on your day/project/theme done in style of secret diary, chat show host or TV explorer.
  2. Creative Video Collage – Record your next walking experience. each shot no longer than four seconds. source some appropriate music to put on top.
  3. Short Video Documentary – 1-3 minutes in total. Do you know anyone that has a unique interest, hobby or fascination. How can you really get under the skin of this, show it, present it visually and through sound and speech?
  4. Video YouTube Channel – Pretend you have your own Youtube Channel. Present your talent. How to do it, ideas, tips, inside information.
  5. Video News Reel – Futuristic or from past event. Interview people. Incorporate clips of events
  6. Stop Frame Animation – of current project. Incorporate some action that is magical or unexpected (Lego come to life, cars, figures/dolls moving, recording a model being built, record a track being made) Lots of How To videos on Youtube for Stop Frame Animation. 
  7. Audio Podcast – Record your conversation with a friend about a shared area of interest. What would you need to do to turn this into a Podcast?
  8. Create a Learning Journal with Video and Audio components – Use the free SPARK software to put together a web page or video. Talk through your work over the top of visuals and videos.
  9. Create your own Audio Sound Effects Library – Record everyday sounds on phone 5-30 second clips. Search out interesting sounds and document them. You never know when you may need them and it gets you thinking about sound creatively. 
  10. Two Camera Video Shoot – Film a performance with two separate cameras. A still establishing shot and a more creative version of filming with second camera. Both shot at the same time.

You can do all of these ideas with a Smart Phone and some are very achievable as an individual and others can be done in very small groups. This list is written as mini briefs and can be presented to kids as they are. I say they are quick and easy because I think kids already have a reference for these activities and could just get on with them. There is still lots of challenge in the process of making and completing and working with others. The aim is to get kids familiar with handling digital technology, to explore creativity and making and discover what skills they have. They should be encouraged to think about how they are engaging in the 4C’s; Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration & Creativity. Other skills are; Information, Technology & Visual Literacy, Oral Skills, Initiative, Flexibility & Decisiveness. When a brief is delivered you need to think about giving as much freedom and autonomy as possible. Let these skills come out, let them test them, work around them, push through them. The experience is the objective here not the outcome.


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