Supporting a Literacy lesson with Digital resources

During a Face-to-Face ICT course in the early days of July 2019 an engaging debate grew out of comments I had made in an earlier presentation. I had been speaking about how digital resources could support a wide range of curriculum subjects and individual lessons and had shown a resource that I had used to support a poetry lesson in a 5th & 6th class. This was a short, animated movie file I had made using Microsoft PhotoStory combining images and audio together to accompany the poem “My Teacher Took my iPod” by Kenn Nesbitt. I went on to say that other digital technologies could also be used to enhance the presentation of poems and stories.
The issue of time was raised and my own input was that different types of resources could be put together in a relatively short amount of time given a bit of thought and suitable “raw material”. I was asked to do a live “Walk-through” creating a digital resource for a different poem. I choose “The Listeners” by Walter de la Mare and explained that this was a familiar poem and my own interpretation of the theme had always been that of a Knight returning from the Crusades. Straight away I also realised that I could tie this challenge into another segment of the Face-to-Face course, Copyright, and so I decided to create a digital image using images from Pixabay. I explained that the ICT skill needed was relatively easy to pick up and was reasonably straight forward!
I chose several base images; a knight, a horse, a forest, the moon, night sky and a castle. Using Corel Paint Shop Pro, I explained that I was going to compile each image into a stack, like slices in a sliced pan and then adjust the visibility (transparency) of the individual images and then using the Eraser tool I would rub out unwanted areas on some of the images.
Here are thumbnails of my base images.

Here is the finished image!

Some of the teachers felt that they would prefer not to use photo editing software so I then went on to demonstrate a really cool piece of software from Microsoft that is absolutely really easy to use and fortunately  it is still available for download even though it has been around since 2008 and was designed for older versions of the Windows Operating Systems.
Microsoft Research Auto Collage is a great way to create a single image from a minimum of 7 base images. Toss the base images into a single folder, direct Auto Collage to this folder and then click Create!
While it doesn’t generate a layered image similar to the one I created with Paint Shop Pro, it does allow the user to include multiple images and produce a pleasing collage. Pupils could, for example, create their own images related to a poem or story; the teacher could use a tablet to take a digital photo of the pupils’ work and then use them in Auto Collage!

Author Note: The base images for the PhotoStory file were sourced from a wide range of online sources in 2009; at that time some of the images did not have any discover-able attribution. The music audio track snippet was used under “Fair Use” solely for an education purpose and these points were clearly outlined during the Face-2-Face course.

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