Archive for September, 2009

Art History via video

September 29, 2009 Leave a comment

During todays Art & Design Context class we reviewed last weeks topics by watching some videos from Channel 4’s National Gallery series. This series, along with a series on the Tate Modern is a great resource for teachers, with descriptions and explanations of many pieces of art from both of these galleries.

Today we looked at work from JW Turner, and saw how his work changed throughout his career and also saw a lengthy explanation of Seurats neo-impressionist work Bathers at Asnieres.

After reviewing last weeks class we moved on to the 1900 to 1940 era, looking at key events, innovations and figures of the time, before analysing the key art movements of the period.

Next time we’ll be moving into the post WW2 era, the end of Modern Art and the wonders of Post-Modernism…


Nested Animations in a Flash

September 28, 2009 1 comment

The HNC Interactive Media class was introduced to nested MovieClips in Flash. This basically means that you can create a small animation, and put it inside a bigger animation. For example, you might create an animation of a steam train by creating several small animations and putting them inside a larger animation. You could create an animated wheel and an animation of the steam coming from the stack, then put these animations together inside another Movieclip symbol.

This method of nesting allows the creation of more complex animations, and also helps when creating interactive animations or computer games.

Although interactivity is beyond the scope of the 2D Animation unit, I though it would be useful to demonstrate some of the interactive features of Flash so that the students have a better understanding of why nesting movieclips is such a good idea. I showed the students how to make a small interactive animation that could be controlled by buttons. We constructed a robot which consisted of several smaller movieclips symbols – a body, a head, a set of eyes, etc. The eyes were animated to flash and the head was animated to pop up and down on an extending neck. We then added Actionscript to the animations to make them stop, then created buttons that would make the animations play. In effect we made a remote controlled robot.

Most of the students managed to follow the tutorial very well and constructed the robot without problem, however (as usual with programming) there were a few hiccups along the way and some debugging was required! I think the students left class today enthused that they’d managed to make something interactive, but perhaps slightly overwhelmed that there’s still a huge area of interactive media that they’ve still yet to discover…

Try the interactive robot tutorial for yourself.

Link to interactive robot Flash file

View the finished Flash file.

Colourful Language

September 28, 2009 Leave a comment

Today the NC Graphic Design and New Media class were experimenting with colour.

First we started by looking at the HSB colour system for assigning numeric values to colour, and created a colour wheel in Photoshop by using the numerical values for primary and secondary additive colours. We also explored what happens when you alter the saturation and brightness values. Afterwards we looked very briefly at some of the other colour systems – Hexadecimal, CMYK and RGB, and where they are utilised.

In the art room we started designing a logo for our mobile phone brand (our main project this semester) and began applying different colours and media to the design.

Paparazzi College

September 25, 2009 1 comment

A charity fundraising event at Carnegie College today provided photography students with an opportunity to exercise their press-photography skills.


Jim Leishman MBE, popular footballing personality and current Director of Football at Dunfermline Athletic Football Club, was ‘kidnapped’ by students in a charity fundraising effort today while student photographers were on hand to capture the event.

While attending a meeting in Carnegie College’s Skibo cafe Mr Leishman was pounced upon by a gang of pink cowboy hat wearing kidnappers before being tied to a wheelchair and whisked away to Dunfermline’s Kingsgate Centre where  donations were collected towards Jim’s safe release.

Photography students, tipped off by anonymous sources, were on hand to witness the kidnapping and capture vital photographic evidence that may help to secure Jim’s release. The students enjoyed the chance to practice their skills covering a real-life event and to rub shoulders with the well-known celebrity who, despite the kidnapping, displayed his usual wit and sense of humour.

Scottish Learning Festival and Teachmeet

September 24, 2009 Leave a comment

In an effort to keep up to date with what’s happening in learning and teaching I attended the Scottish Learning Festival at the SECC in Glasgow yesterday, and the Teachmeet fringe event held at BBC Scotland at Pacific Quay.

The Scottish Learning Festival, formerly known as SETT, is an annual event organised by Learning Teaching Scotland for education practitioners, government, administrators and learning providers. It is a showcase of what is happening in Scottish education and features a trade event with many trade stands and a huge programme of presentations, workshops and seminars on all aspects of teaching and learning.

I spent a few hours at SLF and managed to take in 3 different presentations –

Using animation to support cross-curricular working

Learning Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere


Virtual Worlds: A Guide to Using Second Life in Education

This year I was much more inpressed than ever before with the variety of tradestands, and the intelligent and interesting seminars on offer. I also had the opportunity to catch up with a few colleagues that I hadn’t seen for a while, and also make a few new acquaintances.

The Teachmeet event yesterday evening proved even more interesting – an ‘unconference’ created, organised and attended by education practitioners, Teachmeet gathers educators together to present their work, discuss new ideas and network in a very informal and friendly way. It has been billed as ‘the best CPD opportunity in the world’

I had intended presenting at Teachmeet (on Working with Others), however unfortunately I didn’t get the opportunity, as presenters are picked at random from a list.

The presentations I did see were very interesting and demonstrated the level of commitment that many teachers have towards their work, and the innovative ways (mostly with technology) that teachers are engaging learners and improving learning.

Attendees at the event were given the chance to make a pledge to take something from Teachmeet and roll it out in their own teaching, and I have chosen to encourage more reflective blogging amongst my students.

Teachmeet unconferences are becoming more popular, and springing up all over the country, and abroad and more information can be found at the Teachmeet site. Don’t wait for an invite, just sign up, turn up and enjoy!

Listen to John Johnston’s podcast about Teachmeet SLF.

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Advertising Analysis

September 22, 2009 Leave a comment

This week the NQ Graphic Design and New Media students have been continuing with their project on marketing a new mobile phone brand.

The students have been collecting current examples of mobile phone advertising and analysing their design and purpose, and identifying trends.

The Metro newspaper has proven invaluable for this, as it publishes electronic versions every day which can be printed page-by-page or downloaded for future reference. The Metro features many different adverts, including some very innovative adverts for LG electronics which have proven popular with the students.

Prized Team

September 22, 2009 1 comment

This years Carnegie College Ambition Awards were announced this week, with the Creative Industries Team, led by Fiona Priestley taking both the overall Ambition Award and also the Achievement Award.

Encompassing Photography, Graphic Design and Multimedia, the Creative Industries Team are a superb bunch of educators who are very committed to providing the best education for their students. They are innovative in their teaching methods and good at creating engaging learning experiences, whilst also providing students with the benefit of their own experience in industry and elsewhere. I am very privileged to be part of the team and to work alongside such talented and commited educators – some of the best I’ve worked with in my 11 years of teaching.

The awards ceremony takes place at the Carnegie Conference Centre on the 3rd of October.

Categories: Uncategorized