Earlier in the autumn term, and at the beginning of my ‘creative allowance’ as a classroom teacher, I ran a four week long project with my year five pupils asking them to create an app about the Vikings instead of writing a non-chronological report using pen and paper. The idea came to me in an attempt to incorporate more coding from the computing curriculum into other subject areas. While this initially failed due to the fact that Blippit.io is a more user-friendly tool than I expected, it did allow me to shift the focus of the project from the digital competency of coding towards the app to facilitate an engaging literacy unit.
Pupils begin by drafting their app layout on a template including menus, submenus, specific media to include and app widgets that would help them convey their learning. Once children had an idea of where they wanted to take their app (with a pinch of teacher guidance), I set them off to do the research and allowed them to take notes during my main teaching over the next few History lessons. Once the initial learning had taken place, I structured the next History and Literacy lessons around allowing children time to write and edit the content for each section of their apps, which is were the real creativity comes into play!
I will need to back up and explain that my class, as any other class in London, has a vast range of needs from SEN to EAL pupils. So to make this project more inclusive for all learners, I used other apps such as Explain Everything or Skitch to allow my SEN and EAL pupils the opportunity to explain their learning via video or annotations on their visual work instead of asking them to write pages of content that I asked my higher ability pupils to complete. By allowing the SEN, EAL and low ability pupils to work in a group, each completing their own section either in writing or video, I managed to accomplish a level of engagement and amount of work that I hadn’t previously seen from these groups.
Children submitted multiple versions of their apps for moderation by myself before the final products were published on the Planet Blippit app store. Here children downloaded them as website links on the home screen of their individual devices as well as their personal home devices to share with parents. I will happily admit that I have several examples installed on my personal phone. The full version of the completed app is available at: