Digital Video Profiles and Multi Media at Charlton School
The school has a strong management commitment to using the latest technologies. The head teacher is enthusiastic about new innovative ideas and tools for learning and is keen to back and pilot these.
The digital video project has now been running for three years and the use of video and associated technologies has now developed across the whole school and curriculum.
Digital Video Profiles are an interactive CD/DVD in which students take part in making and are put together with a combination of video, photos, text information and a menu to navigate around. The students can then use this DV Profile to communicate, educate and inform others about themselves. The profiles have proven a very effective tool to bring students, parents and professionals together to create one accessible tool for young people.
The project at Charlton School has not only been extremely successful for the students moving onto college, but throughout the whole school. It has given students an opportunity to film and collate their achievements. Video has provided a visual way in which to celebrate their strengths and developments, providing a medium in which to voice their own aspirations and needs. It has helped to build confidence, self esteem and prepare the students for life changes and transition onto new provisions.
Where a student may have behavioural difficulties, it has given the student the ability to portray and provide evidence of all their positive attributes and abilities. It can show the best way in which to support the young person in their daily lives. In a new environment, a students behaviour can change dramatically and huge steps that have been made can be lost if new staff are unaware of the students potential. The video is documentation of a student’s true personality when relaxed and in an environment they are familiar and comfortable with. For a young person who may have certain idiosyncrasies or requires particular routines or support outside of the norm, video reports are a way of showing evidence to ensure a young person receives exactly what they need.
For students with limited communication, it has empowered them to have an active part in educating others about themselves. It gives young people the opportunity to share history with new people. Video is a precise way of showing the very subtle ways of how someone communicates. Describing this information on paper can be difficult and could easily be misinterpreted. It can ensure valuable knowledge and vital information is passed onto new staff and professionals.
DV Profiles are assisting young people to break down barriers to inclusion. The new accessibility of this technology means we have new tools to help bridge gaps in the community and bring professionals together. Giving young vulnerable people a powerful media to be heard and acknowledged. To empower these young people to access life fully and reach their full potential.
The power of this media has really become apparent as the use of video has been integrated throughout the school. When you look at the particular disabilities and conditions of our students often one of their main key strengths is their visual skills. As students have had access to these resources we have seen some impressive results highlighting their abilities as visual learners. This has been from film making to the development of switch access of video to assist with speech and language targets, as the video clips can be so motivating. Video reports are used for Annual Review meetings and have proven hugely successful also. With the use of video the students are having an impact on their own goals and target setting. It’s a valuable way of mapping progress and then sharing this with family, friends and other professionals. For parents with English as a second language it is an accessible way of sharing information about their child. It is giving students a positive way to effect change and take part in shaping their own future. Students often require the opportunity to revisit knowledge or achievements and with video files accessed on demand they can relive experiences, evaluating performance, clarify their intentions and focus on what they want to achieve. This is the same for staff in helping to inform teaching and learning. The process of filming, capturing and selecting clips enables staff to pick up on areas which normally may go unnoticed. These clips can also be used to share good practise in staff training and celebrate effective teaching.
With such rich, meaningful technology and resources, the manner in which these tools are used is the key factor to their success. This is an area that Charlton School is focusing energy on to ensure we establish valuable practise. We already have evidence that video enhances learning, communication, transition and teaching. However, ensuring that this relates to assessment data and that staff have good support and training is key. In addition further challenges are ensuring good technical backup, along with ease of access and establishing and maintaining strong student involvement.
The introduction of Apple Macintosh computers has attributed to the ease of use and accessibility. The Macs have needed limited technical backup and students have mastered the IT skills needed faster than software on PC’s, the flow of software on the Macs has also speed up the process. With the many film projects integrated throughout the curriculum, this has enabled a partnership of learning with staff and students learning along side each other. We are currently looking at software which will categorise multi media files and which will provide quick keyword searches for material and the ability to anecdote video, this will then ensure video relates to assessment and recording systems in the school. With the large quality of video files on the network, a separate server was purchased as a central store for the school’s multi media. The school has created a charitable trust and also has a full time fundraiser so equipment has been purchased through fund raising. We now have cameras in every classroom and a number of PC’s for editing along with Apple Macs in the Music, Art, Dance/PE, communication and IT subject areas. The implementation of this project over the last three years has meant many technical and practical issues have been overcome. Links with other schools and agencies have benefited from our experiences in developing their own projects. If you would like further information about the project, please contact us.