Hal MacLean and myself spent this evening with the young people and their families from the Bromley Learning Alliance 2006 Summer School, in Bromley. We headed down to celebrate the animation work created by the young people over the summer months.
The challenge which was set back in July this year was to create a modern day comic book, in animation, photography, sound and film. The ‘tough task’ was called ‘Twist of Fate’ and had ‘no right answer’, as ever. The young people are giving an induction session to the technology and project, they then return to their collective schools over the summer to undertake the challenge.
We have been working with Merril Haeusler (Director) of the BLA since her days with SEEVEAZ (South East of England Virtual Education Action Zone). It was refreshing to see Merril at the event, and hearing her relate back to the early days back in 2000 when she first launched the project with us. If it had not been for the investment by Merril both financially, and more importantly her belief in what young people can do with creative technoloies I really do question where we would be today. As my last official presentation event for Ultralab it was nice to be in the company with Merrill, who was at my first ever Ultralab engagement back in 2000, at the Millennium Dome in London (Read about it here).
We’ve come a long way since that early project, travelled the world, impacted on broadcasters, governments, education establishments and policy makers. We still have a lot of work to do, together.
So here they are, the creative comics created under the banner of ‘Twist of Fate’ by the tallented young people of the Bromley area, enjoy:
Today 30 young people from Saffron Walden County High School and their partner feeder Primary Schools attended a training day at Ultralab to learn how to animate, make music and film for their 2006 Summer Challenge. Every year the Ultralab team set a tough challenge to these schools to complete over the summer months. Patrick Gordon from SWCHS will be running the Summer School, which has been funded for the second year running by Essex County Council. Between the year 2000 and 2004 SWCHS’s Summer School was part of the Ultralab/SEEVEAZ (South East of England Virtual Education Action Zone) Summer School and the good work has continued after SEEVEAZ came to the end of its natural life.
The young people were mixed up into groups and challenged to make clay ball animations, then edit some music together and then create a final piece which was exhibited to the rest of the group. During the day we looked at what makes a good film, and concentrated on sound as a critical success factor.
The young people then left Ultralab clasping four pieces of paper each from three different hats. Each young person had to select one ‘Start’, two ‘Middles’ and one ‘End’. Their first job (in groups back at school) is to negotiate from the sentences which ’start’, ‘middles’ and ‘end’ they will use from their groups collection, to make a film. Complicated, we hope so. The challenge was simple, to encourage the young people (who don’t know each other very well) to negotiate from the sentences they have which of them they would make a film about, and simply throw the rest away.
Jamie Harris, one of our work experience team was on hand to support the day. Another Ultralab Work Experience team member Ben Millwood has since made an excellent automated sentence generator:
Click to generate your own random sentence.
The Ultralab team enjoyed making the sentences, using SubEthaEdit on their Apple Mac computers to collaborate their writings together.
Throughout the project the young people will be keeping blogging diaries, along with podcast output.
We’re really looking forward to seeing the completed summer projects.
The young people created their first animations today, here they are:
Blobs Adventure: Play Now | Play in Popup
Crazy Frog Man Gone Crazy: Play Now | Play in Popup
Green Blob of Doom: Play Now | Play in Popup
Our Great Movie: Play Now | Play in Popup
The Orange Guy Movie: Play Now | Play in Popup
Hal spent the day in the Bromley area working with partner schools on their Summer programme of activities. Bromley Learning Alliance, the organisation behind the initiative hires in Ultralab each year to set the summer challenge for young people with their region. Previously to working with the BLA Ultralab worked with SEEVEAZ (South East of England Virtual Education Action Zone), BLE’s staff moved from SEEVEAZ when SEEVEAZ reached the end of its natural working life.
It was SEEVEAZ that helped pioneer the first ever Ultralab digital creativity summer school back in 2000 so Ultralab are pleased to continue the working relationship withe the BLE team.
Hal worked with a group of 30 young people in the morning, and 30 in the afternoon.
Hal set the young people their Summer Challenge, which is to make a modern day interactive comic.
Initially Hal taught the young people how to animate and here are the first movies created in just one hour on the training day:
Ultralab the learning, technology and research centre based at Anglia Polytechnic University in Chelmsford, Essex have been working over many years in the field of Digital Creativity. Ultralab’s ‘SummerSchool project was initially formed in mid 2000, in association with SEEVEAZ which stands for the South East of England Virtual Education Action Zone. SEEVEAZ had a five year life span, and has now closed its doors.
Ultralab ran the SummerSchool programme for SEEVEAZ, one of the partner schools was Saffron Walden County High School, initially represented by Dunstan Bertschinger and now managed by Patrick Gordon.
Patrick sourced funding from Essex County Council to continue the work in digital creativity that Saffron Walden County High School has been pioneering, and asked Ultralab to set a summer challenge for the young people to take part in over the summer.
A selection of students from SWCHS came to Ultralab along with year six pupils from the local partner primary schools in order to explore with Ultralab the following Apple based applications: iMovie, Garage Band, iStopMotion and Comic Life.
The young people were at Ultralab for five hours and in that time produced films, and comic pages.
iMovie was used by the young people to tell the story of ‘The Lost Romance Between Two Shoes’ a challenge we set people of all ages, to tell a simple story, however they like….
Here are the films the young people produced in the hour (their first ever iMovie films):
Group 1’s Lost Romance Between Two Shoes Movie
Group 2’s Lost Romance Between Two Shoes Movie
Group 3’s Lost Romance Between Two Shoes Movie
Group 4’s Lost Romance Between Two Shoes Movie
Group 5’s Lost Romance Between Two Shoes Movie
Before the above movies were made, together we learned iMovie in 10 minutes. If you would like to see the movie we made together, to try out iMovie, Click Here
Next the groups were challenged to use Comic Life, a very cool application. Their challenge was to tell ‘The Other Side of the Story’ using images from the ‘Lost Romance Between Two Shoes’ movie that they produced earlier.
Here are the Comic Life comics each group produced (sadly group 1’s machine crashed as they saved):
Big big thanks to Patrick Millwood, for his involvement and support in the day, an expert in the various technologies and software we were using. Thanks also to the young people and staff of the schools for their involvement in the project, you are all really creative.
An enjoyable day. The young people have been challenged over the summer with an Ultralab style challenge to create the next generation of comic, and here is the exciting challenge …
Download: Ultralab 2005 Summer Challenge: Twist of Fate
As ever, this challenge is open internationally, and a website will be created containing International Comic pages!
….or read the challenge here below:
Twist of Fate :: SummerSchool 2005
Your summer challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to
create the next generation of comic. Each group (of no
more than 5) will have a page in the completed
‘international’ comic, called ‘Twist of Fate’.
This is not a paper comic, it is cooler than that!
What you’ve read above can be translated as you see fit,
and is entirely up to you but you need to tell a story, a
twist of fate, and tell it in a new and exciting way in your
Each of the comic windows is something cool, each of
the nine windows on your groups page should be a
combination of film, animation, still photography and even
a sound or song….what’s certain is that each window
will be bursting with creativity and the story will unfold in
a very cool way.
No copywrite music can be used, you have to make your
own if you are going to use any! No two stories or
characters in this comic are the same.
Each ‘window’ of your story (9 in total) needs to be given
to Ultralab in Full Quality DV format or back on DV tape.
Good luck, as ever, there is no right answer. Be creative.
P.S. If your work is good enough, it will be put on an
To find out more about our projects in digital creativity, visit the Ultralab SummerSchool website.
I’ve been so busy since returning from the 2005 BETT Show that I’ve not had a chance to write a full review of Ultralab‘s involvement in the show.
2005’s BETT show took place on Tuesday 11 January to Saturday 15 January 2004.
Each year learning, technology & research centre Ultralab work on the ‘creativity stand’ at the show, demonstrating new and emerging technologies and how young people are using them. Each year Ultralab bring a group of young people from Ultralab projects who demonstrate creative use of technology within their organisation, institution, school or learning centre.
The ‘Create at BETT’ stand is a collaborative project between Apple Computer, Ultralab, Media Education Wales, Solutions Inc, Film Education, Emap Education, South Street Studios, Canon and DV in Ed. The stand is the only stand at the show which is not selling any products, and becomes a form of light relief for visitors looking for creative ideas without being sales pitched products! 🙂
For the 2002’s BETT show the theme was ‘Internet Broadcast’ and pupils from schools taking part on Ultralab’s 2001 Summer School programme in conjunction with SEEVEAZ (South East of England Virtual Education Action Zone) came together with young people from sixth form centre within Colbayns High School of Clacton Essex. The objective of ‘BETT Goes to the Movies’ was to demonstrate the potential of iMovie, the free video editing software from Apple along with the broadcasting software from Channel Storm called Live Channel Pro. BETT 2002 was a tremendous success, read our review of BETT Goes to the Movies 2002 by Richard Millwood and Matthew Eaves.2003 was a year of change, building on the success of 2002. Attending for Ultralab were young people from Sir Charles Lucas Arts College, part of Ultralab’s Summer School project with SEEVEAZ. Also attending were young people from a digital creativity project with the Hedley Walter High School, who stayed for the duration of the event pioneering forward ‘broadcasting’ and its capabilities. Young people from Greensward College were included into the event via an internet broadcast link from Ultralab. Sadly I can’t find the link to the pictures for ‘Bett goes to the Movies II’, but I do have the pictures from Ultralab’s BETT Stand 2003.
In 2004 Ultralab brought young people from our groundbreaking International Certificate in Digital Creativity project from the Andrew Marvell School in Hull who have been pioneering the project with Ultralab. Attending also were the young people from Ultralab’s Summer School project, the group of children were famous for their creative piece ‘Out of Step’. Here are the pictures from BETT goes to the Movies 2004. Watch David Baugh’s BETT 2004 Showreel
2005 had to be even more special than ever before. The ‘BETT goes to the Movies’ brand had served its time and ‘Create at BETT’ was born. The project brought together young people at Ultralab for a pre-event briefing, delivered by Oscar Stringer of South Street Studios, and Robbie of Solutions-Inc.
The 8 young people working on the stand for 2005 (Friday & Saturday) were from King Harold School, Wednesday & Thurdsday’s young people were brough by The Rural Norfolk Federation. The 8 young people from Norfolk represented the following schools: Fakenham High School & College, Reepham High School, Aylsham High School and Alderman Peel High School. All the Norfolk schools are situated in rural areas, the collaboration with the schools and Ultralab has been a big project for 2004.
Create at BETT 2005 was a tremendous success. The young people demonstrated their ability with animation, visual and sound technologies to the visitors.
In the evenings, the young people went out with the staffing team on the stand for meals, before returning to hotel accomodation.
The Norfolk and Essex young people and staff did us, their schools and all the project partners proud. Thanks loads guys! 🙂
Some images from the event:
The next Summer School project called ‘Emotions’ has begun with a new batch of ‘Researchers’ had to ‘tell an emotional’ story about a word. Each child picked one word out of a hat out of a possible 100 words. The first challenge, in groups of 4, was to decide which of the words picked out of the hat by the groups members should be made into a film.
In groups the young people will need to decide from the words they have pulled at random, which of these will they make a film about? This challenge requires the groups to bond quickly in order to being their tough challenge.
The film had to last for no more than 3 minutes, have a suitable soundtrack, loop and contain the word and names of the Researchers involved in the movie.
If the films created by the young people are good enough they will be included in a DVD production and displayed at the V&A museum in December.
This project is funded for the second year by SEEVEAZ, the South East of England Virtual Education Action Zone.
SEEVEAZ (South East of England Virtual Education Action Zone) approached Ultralab to ‘do something creative’ with children during the month of August 2000. The ‘action zones’ were set up as part of a government initiative to support schools within regions who had not fully adopted technology within their teaching and learning. SEEVEAZ became the only ‘virtual’ action zone in the country and worked closely with Ultralab throughout its five year life-span (starting in 2000).
SEEVEAZ initially challenged Ultralab with young people from its regional schools which were considered ‘gifted and talented’ but were also ‘not performing to their potential.
The objective of the first summer school was to give a ‘touch challenge’ which would try and test the young people involved in the project to ‘raise their game’ when returning to academic lessons after the summer break.
Ultralab Director, Stephen Heppell challenged the young people with a project called ‘Transformation’. The young people were given still cameras and computers and set the task (in groups) to ‘tell the story of transformation from one state to another in a series of still images’.
The completed pieces of work were exhibited at the Millenium Dome, where Ultralab worked with Tesco to design ‘The Learning Zone’.
One of the seven movies, ‘A Century of People’ is based on the ageing process in humans. The movie starts with a pregnant woman, then a newborn baby, then a one year old right through to a one hundred year old person. The movie points out the differences between the ages that you would not normally notice. There are a hundred photographs, one for every age.
The movies produced by the children from the SEEVEAZ schools in Essex and Kent were so exceptional and led to the 2001 project ‘Emotions’, which budget was allocated to for the purchase of equipment schoolwide.
Lots of lessons were learnt from the initial pilot project which went on to being and formulate the Ultralab formula to running an effective digital creativity project on a global scale.
Some of the movies are here on digitalcreativity.org, click below to watch them: