Archive for January, 2010

Semester Two Begins

January 25, 2010 Leave a comment

NC Graphic Design and New Media started their web project today. We began by analysing some existing sites and then looking at some basic HTML. The first assignment is to choose and analyse a designer’s portfolio site.

NC Digital Media Computing started designing their first computer game for the Computer Games Design unit. The game is based on a template made in Flash, and the group must make their own version of the game using custom graphics and sounds.

HNC Interactive Media continued with the 2D Animation unit, planning their own 15 second animation based on one of several project briefs. Today they wrote story outlines, did the first draft of the storyboard and also conducted some research to find inspiring images, different animation styles and related imagery.


NPA Computer Games Development

January 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Spent a very productive day with Bobby Elliott of the SQA and various teachers planning the NPA Computer Games Development award. I really think we’ve managed to come up with a very joined-up, sensible and usable set of units that will be popular amongst both schools and colleges. Indeed, after reporting back to the Curriculum Leaders at Carnegie College the units have already been pencilled in for delivery next session.

The NPA will consist of three single-credit units on Design, Media Assets and Development, essentially covering the design of computer games, the production of assets for inclusion in a game, and the development of games using development tools or programming languages.

More information at the SQA Computing blog.

The Death of Education

January 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Some very influential speakers talking about ICT in education. I’ve met at least two of them and they certainly changed my views on education.

Categories: teaching

Projectified at Napier University

January 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Several of our successful HND Visual Communication students moved on to Napier University last year to undertake the BDes Design and Digital Arts. This coming week (18th-22nd Jan) their project work will be on public display at Napier University’s Merchiston Campus, however myself and colleagues were invited along for a preview and managed to catch up with many of our former students and their new tutors.

During the early weeks of their new course, a  few of our former students came to see us and told us that they were struggling to adjust, and were finding the course difficult. However it was good to hear on Friday that they’d finally settled in, and indeed were acheiving around 10% better grades than many of their peers.

I also took the opportunity to speak to some of the other students to  gain some insight into whether other former FE college students had found the transition difficult. It seems that many of them had and the main difficulty was the more independent nature of university learning, and the fact that the students have less contact with their tutors – leading to a lesser degree of support and guidance than they were accustomed to at college.

This has been a problem that has been recognised for some time, and some colleges and universities have taken steps to provide better transition arrangements for students moving from college to university. However, in saying this, it is heartening to know that despite this initial difficulty the majority of students from FE colleges are quite able to hold their own in terms of the standard of work.

The following video shows some of the students’ still and moving image work on display at the Projectified Exhibition.

Categories: Uncategorized


January 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Colin Maxwell presenting at BETT 2010 (photo by Ian Usher)Spent a couple of days at BETT, the annual ICT in education show at Olympia in London. I presented on both days at the Adobe stand in the National Hall, and demonstrated some Photoshop and Flash activities that I do with my students, including creating images from nothing in Photoshop, mixing Photoshop and Flash for creative animation, and creating games with Flash.

The BETT educational technology show 2010I also had a few meetings and seminars to attend. First was the Adobe reception at the Royal College of Art, mixing with worldwide Adobe staff, business and government people, and other invited guests. Next was the Adobe breakfast seminar led by Bob Regan, Adobe’s Director of Worldwide Primary and Secondary Education, was very interesting, with Bob looking at the changing face of education and the challeges facing administrators and teachers worldwide. Bob’s presentation prompted some discussion about how (and when) we were going to achieve many of the educational goals that have been continually re-set for many years. This prompted me to suggest that what needs to happen is that more teachers need to take responsibility and get involved in using ICT in the classroom and that the minority of proficient teachers need to take others under their wings and promote good practice. My suggestion that we need to have a ‘No Teacher Left Behind’ policy for using ICT in education was welcomed by the assembled crowd.

It was quite a busy couple of days and I didn’t get to see as much of the BETT show as I intended. Indeed I had to leave the TEDxOrenda event early for another engagement, so missed most of the presentations as the event had started late. Some interesting technology, however, was on display including 3D monitors that show 3D without the need for awkward glasses, lots of augmented reality stuff, and also multi-point touch devices such as massive screens and interactive whiteboards. Also of note was the presence of Google at the BETT show – a company not known for attending any trade events. However, their presence was limited to a couple of presenters and computers at the ‘Playful Learning’ zone funded by

During the show I also managed to catch up with a few fellow educationalists (mostly by accident) including Ian Usher, Greg Hodgson, Ross Wallis, Saiqa Laiqat, Ollie Brae, Joe Wilson and Walter Patterson.

Categories: Uncategorized

Preparing for BETT

January 7, 2010 Leave a comment

Next week I’ll be off on my annual pilgrimage to London’s Olympia for the BETT educational technology show.
As well as presenting at Adobe’s stand (K40 in the National Hall), I’ll also be attending TEDxOrenda on Wednesday 13th and an Adobe education event later that evening at a secret location that will be announced a few days prior to the event (let me know if you’d like an invite).
BETT is a big show, and I don’t expect to see much as I’ll be busy with Adobe, but this year I’m signed up for the TEDxOrenda event where a number of influential speakers will be presenting, so I expect that will be particularly interesting.
I’m also hoping to catch up with Ian Usher (@iusher) and Gred Hodgson who I’ll be working with on a forthcoming Computer Games Course which will be delivered via Moodle and Adobe Acrobat Connect.
For those of you wanting to meet up, I’ll be presenting at the Adobe stand K40 in the National Hall at 3.30pm on Wednesday 13th and at 11.30am on Thursday 14th. My topic is ‘Fun Classroom Activities with Photoshop and Flash’, where I’ll be demonstrating the following:

  1. Making something from nothing in Photoshop
  2. Mixing up Photoshop and Flash
  3. Intro to producing games with Flash

You can follow my BETT adventures on Twitter @camaxwell.

Categories: Uncategorized

Bobsleighing for Beginners

January 4, 2010 12 comments

Grab a helmet and an old tea tray. Come hurtling down a virtual sled ride through some of the cool new online tools for communication and collaboration. In ‘Bobsleighing for Beginners’ Graeme Smith and Colin Maxwell will demonstrate some of the web based tools they use to enhance lessons and communicate with students.

Web 2.0?
Q – Is it things like Facebook, Twitter, Google?
A – Main feature is that web content is created by the user. It’s also about collaboration and sharing.
When we were students age we would hang out at street corner or outside local chippy to chat. Nowadays, the web offers tools to chat and socialise (and we can do this anywhere via computer, mobile phone, games console).
Students don’t have barriers online about what they post. Online bullying has occurred. Some tutors would like to keep personal and work life seperate on Facebook. Need to teach students how to use social networking effectively and responsibly. Some people have been sacked from their jobs because of (irresponsible) information or photos posted on social networking sites. Remember that some people have been sacked for e-mailing manipulated photos. Bebo banned in Graeme’s classroom, but used outwith class for quizzes and discussion, as well as socialising. Bebo used by drama tutors for rehearsing for Macbeth – quizzes, videos, how to put on makeup, evaluations of students performances. Some students using Twitter or Bebo to criticise classes and tutors (sometimes positive, sometimes negative). Drama students using social media to promote themselves, using videos, photos, online CV’s, etc.
Web 2.0 suicide (wipe your online history)

Twitter – is a ‘microblogging’ tool allowing messages of up to 140 characters to be posted and shared with ‘followers’ and the world.

Used by both Colin and Graeme to extend their personal learning networks. Follow other educators who teach in similar areas, vendors, education leaders, etc.

Graeme’s Twitter Notes

Bebo – is a social networking site allowing users to create and customise their own pages, blog, post messages, share photos, videos, etc.


Graeme demonstrated how he uses quizzes on Bebo to help students prepare for tests and exams. Graeme has found that NQ students like using this system and use it for communicating with him.
Link to Graeme’s notes on Bebo

Delicious – is an online bookmarking tool, allowing you to access and organise your bookmarks from any Internet connected computer, and to share the links with others.

Timeglider – is an interactive timeline that can be shared with and updated by multiple people.

Facebook – is the most popular social networking site, allowing users to communicate with friends, share photos, share videos, play games, etc. – provides a free online Wordprocessor, Spreadsheet, Presentation tool and 5GB of storage space. Documents can be shared with others and edited collaboratively.

Used by Graphic Design and Photography to manage meeting agendas and shared documents.

WordPress – blogging site. If you’re reading this, then you’re on it now!

Used by Colin as a reflective journal on classroom activities.

Just to say thanks for the workshop that you ran yesterday for staff – I looked to see if there was any bobsleighing going on in the car park at lunch time today but couldn’t see any! The feedback on your blog is great and informally I’ve also heard other very positive comments about the workshop – what is really good is that people not only enjoyed the session but have learned about lots of immediately useful tools that they plan to take away and use with their own students.
Geraldine McLuckie, Lead Staff Development Adviser

Categories: Social Media, teaching