Flying Start is a collaborative project between over 40 Schools or departments at the University of Leeds (UK) created in 2012. It consists of a website with student and staff videos, interactive activities as well as social media channels, where information to help new undergraduate students manage the challenging transition from school or college to university education is uploaded in stages. The aim of the resource is to help students gain a clear understanding of the importance of academic skills so they arrive at Leeds prepared for study.
Animate, Play and Learn English with Bubble and Pebble
MEDEA Highly Commended 2010
“Animate, Play and Learn English with Bubble and Pebble” was created in 2010 by Kindergarten students of the Terakki Foundation Schools in Turkey. The children were given the chance to create their own learning/teaching materials, combining their English, IT and Animation skills, and toshare the result with children from all over the world.
They drew and coloured the two main characters, the boy Bubble and the girl Pebble, the game backgrounds and objects. As the children have been learning how to animate pictures in their animation lessons, they animated the pictures of the digital games, putting together the drawings as frames of a stop-motion animation. The children recorded their voices in English, thus practising their pronunciation in English.
The showcase video of the game, including an interview with Özge Karaoğlu
Their IT teacher then put the recordings and the animations together to design the digital games, which help players reinforce the topics the children have learned in English class: colours, numbers, shapes, clothes and fruit. Not only did the children improve their artistry skills and foreign language skills but they also learned how to bring life into the characters they drew. They also learned that a computer can be used for play as well as for learning English, while they also improved their basic computer skills such as using the mouse and keyboard.
Playing their own games, the pupils can practice their English skills further and are more motivated in English class. Although created for kindergarten students, these games can be used in lower primary classes as well, according to the curriculum and the level of the students. This material will be further improved and will be used in English classes in the following years as well as in different lessons and classes. The teachers of the Terakki Foundation Schools plan to create more games on different topics which will be dubbed in Turkish, French and German.
What the judges said of this entry:
The judges found this entry engaging, charming and very age-appropriate and appreciated the degree to which these young children took a very active role in the creative process, making the learning process a result of personal experience. The characters are wonderful and they lead the user through the various games in a fun way, learning to add in a numbers game, to recognise numbers and to colour those numbers. The content seems ideally suited to the context/target group.
As a collaboration between English and IT tutors, this is a really wonderful example of the use of audio and video to facilitate learning, and it has given kindergarten children the chance to design and produce their own learning materials, which can be used to improve mouse and keyboard skills (IT) and reinforce topics in language classes.
About the creation of Animate, Play and Learn English with Bubble and Pebble
Ms Özge Karaoğlu, English Teacher, and Ms Demet Küyük, IT teacher, say: “With the developing and emerging technologies at the last decades of the 20th century, our children have become more collaborative, interactive, online and digital than ever. As our children are the digital natives in the 21st century, the easiest way to reach them is to use technology and digital games. There is no doubt that audio and visual materials facilitates learning (and specifically English language learning), but while there are many games that may be fun to play, unfortunately they often don’t include educational goals and outcomes. This was the primarily motive to start this project: have you ever heard a digital game that is created by 6 year old children? We gave our Kindergarten students the chance to design their own learning/teaching materials.
Each child has done something to design the digital game and some children also suggested drawings they made at home to be included in their games. Recording their voices for the digital games has been very important for the children and this increased their motivation in English classes. It has been an inspiring and motivational project for the children and the teachers. We have used these digital games in our English lessons two times a week in our computer lab. According to the topic the children have learnt, they have played the games, revised and reinforced what they have learnt in the classroom, improved their pronunciation and simply loved playing and learning English with them.
English, IT and Animation branches (and teachers) have come together to create this project. We aimed for the teachers to collaborate to create a new project for the benefit of the children by using new developing technologies in education and fostering children’s learning and cognitive development by providing rich, fun and stimulating experiences. This project can also stimulate information exchange between teachers, lead them to become more creative, collaborative, open minded and innovative and one of the benefits is that the new project can be further developed over time. This project is an extraordinary and a unique teaching/learning material for children and educators from all over the world and we are glad to see comments from people across the world through blogs and tweets.
About the creators
About Özge Karaoğlu
Özge Karaoğlu is a freelance teacher trainer and an educational consultant in teaching young/very young learners and teaching with web based technologies; for international organizations, schools and institutes. She is currently working in Turkey as an EFL teacher and the coordinator of the kindergarten department.
She is working for Mindactiva in the USA, as the educational coordinator and the script writer of "Yes, I Can Speak English" DVD series that aims at teaching young learners English through media. She is also the educational and content coordinator of the new reader series "Minigon" for young learners.
She is the author of "Özge Karaoğlu's Blog" on which she writes about teaching English through technology and Web 2.0 tools to help educators to develop themselves. Her blog has been ranked in the 50 Best Blogs for Education Leaders, in the Top 50 Education Technology Blogs, in the Top 50 Blog for e-Learning Tools and Tips as well as nominated for three different Edublog Awards.
She has been involved in many online projects and presented at online and international conferences about teaching children and using technology in education. She is also the winner of the Creativity and Innovation Award of the MEDEA Awards 2009, with the project Daisy and Drago.
About Demet Küyük
Demet Küyük graduated from Yýldýz Technical University, faculty of Education, Department of Computer and Instruction Technology in 2005. In 2005, she worked in the primary department of AREL Schools. She has been an IT teacher at Terakki Foundation Schools in Istanbul, Turkey since 2006. She is working with young and very young learners and she has been creating different educational materials. She has developed over 100 digital games for young learners who are 5 and 6 years old. Some education materials have received awards from different competitions. She has also worked on different projects in the Primary School of Terakki Foundation Schools. One of her projects was “Increasing of Learning Performance” that includes creating digital stories. She has a website about herself and using technology in education.