Having seen Glenn Malcolm demonstrate the amazingly powerful Sonic Pi at last month's FOBIT conference at Tanglin Trust School, Singapore, I am keen to try out the software with our Year 6 students. Now the software is ready to go on the school network, I am thinking about developing a sequence of lessons where children developing their 'soundscapes' in Sonic Pi, and then mix these creations into a completed soundtrack in Soundtrap. Perhaps these could end up in a class Soundcloud area. Further updates about this project no doubt in due course!
I have been using Hopscotch with Y4 this term and have been fairly structured along the way, as they got to grips with the basics. Now the following describes an open-ended challenge, based on one of their own tutorials, I posed to the children:
Some of the children had heard of Etch-a-Sketch; many had not. So we spent a couple of minutes looking at the following videos - shown in Google Slides and trimmed using the amazing new Video Options feature:
I then set the challenge below - a character needs to draw a line depending on which way the iPad is tilted, and then everything should be cleared when the iPad is shaken.
I allowed the children to work on their own or in pairs, and the only bit I gave them a clue about was to tell them about 'Set Angle' for each way the iPad is tilted. I may have emphasised that they had to TILT the iPad...!
Some children cracked on and were soon adding their own sound effects, altering the distance their character travels, pen width etc. Others were not so sure so I did have something to perhaps nod them in the right direction:
All in all, a good project to target at Y4 (8-9 year-olds) - not too tricky for even the more hesitant coder, and with lots of scope for extra tweaks for the more adventurous ones. 'Hopscotch is the best!' one child commented during the lesson. They're not far wrong.
Hacking. That's right. This lesson is taught just before the children go outside for their g̶r̶a̶f̶f̶i̶t̶i̶ Art lesson. Not really. In fact, don't forget to stress that hacking is a constructive, collaborative process, and not a destructive one. I have found this works well with my Year 5 children - somewhere around 10 years of age. It is not a how-to guide as such but pointers after having used this in the classroom.
8 tips for using X-Ray Goggles in the classroom:
1. Make sure you are using a modern web browser. Preferably not Internet Explorer 7. Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox generally work well, and I am told later versions of IE are OK, but have yet to test this theory.
2. Spend some time as a class looking at a website or two with a few images and areas of text that can be changed. Websites such as bbc.co.uk or nationalgeographic.com work well for this and can be modified easily.
3. Why not remix (hack!) your own school website? It is at this point that it should be stressed to your class that the actual website itself is not being modified - just what is being displayed in the browser. Have a bit of fun with your class, though, before you explain this fact! Oh, no, we've changed the main headline on CNN for whole world to see...etc etc.
4. Giving your children carte-blanche to remix (hack!) their favourite website is not a great idea in my experience. Some websites do not lend themselves to easy manipulation with X-Ray Goggles and may make for a frustrating experience for the child concerned, over the child who chose bbc.co.uk and is now giggling at their new headlines...
5. If you don't have one, make sure they create a Mozilla account to save their remixes. This is easy if they already have Google Accounts. They sign into their Google Account and then click 'Sign in' as below - easy!
6. This one may seem obvious, but make sure the children have an outlet for their remixes - a class blog, website or even display. They will be so proud of the end results it is a shame for them to sit gathering metaphorical dust in their Mozilla accounts.
7. This project is great for emphasising e-safety and general positive digital citizenship and anti-cyberbullying. Again, an obvious one, but worth pointing out that remixed stories/images should not cause offence to anyone viewing it. I always say - imagine the head teacher is displaying your work to the entire school in assembly - would you be happy for this to happen? They will then generally self-police and think again!
8. Use this handy guide for assessment taken from here:
Enjoy, and don't hesitate to share any great remixes!