Report on Irish Legends Project
Part of SIP 19.(Schools Integration Project …IT2000)
As part of its IT2000 initiative to infuse schools in Ireland with good ICT practices the National Centre for Technology in Education has launched SIP…a programme in which some schools have been chosen to produce exemplars in good ICT practice . This is one of the projects being undertaken in the following school.
School: Coolderry Central School , Birr,Co.Offaly.
School type: Small, rural,mixed.
Class: 5th Class pupils ,age 10/11.
1. Aim of Project
· To make children appreciate their own culture.
· To show how ICT may be used for the humanities.
· To train pupils how to draft, redraft and research.
· To integrate work off and on the computer.
· To show how legends are universal.
· To appreciate other cultures.
· Incidentally to infuse the children with computer skills.
Prepare worksheets and a plan of action.(Worksheets included in Appendix).
Make sure that sufficient sources are available for children to work from, books,comics , reference CDs,past projects and Internet sites.
Talk to pupils about project and help motivation.
3. Steps undertaken
Listening to teacher read from legends.(Irish Mythology).
Individual pupil reading.
Choosing particular legend for each child.(Pupil’s choice!)
Using CD reference “The Children of Lir”.
Reading Internet pages.(see links in Appendix).
b. First Draft
This was generally done in pupils’ copies or workbooks and in longhand. The idea of neat handwriting and pride in one’s own penmanship was emphasized and children warned of the myth that “ children’s handwriting becomes sloppy as a result of using computers.” Children were encouraged to use their own words rather that transcribe what they found in books .(.Difficult). A rule I made was that if a pupil couldn’t explain a word he or she used , then he or she had to rewrite.
Microsoft word was used as a word processor, reluctantly because it is not a child friendly word processor but it would be easier later to insert into webpages or copy and paste text. I would have preferred to use Creative Writer2 but its file format is unusual. A practical point here is filenames . I told each pupil to call the file L(name) so that the files could be easily accessed from the network. E.g If your name was Mark then the filename you used for your story was LMARK.
The stories were typed into the computer . they were corrected, spell checked etc. A difficulty with the spell checker was its ignorance of Irish names and placenames and its bias towards American spelling.
Pupils were told that only their own artwork would appear on the webpages. They all made their own artwork which consisted of the following :
1. A comic based on the Legend.
2. A picture on the legend.
3. A wire sculpture depicting some aspect of the legend( wire covered with papier mache).
4. Plasticine models of some of the characters in the legends.
Pupils were shown how to use scanning software . One pupil was taught how to scan and he/she passed on the skill. Note: They were shown how to make sure that the graphic was saved as a JPEG. (This is important for teachers as BMPs take up too much memory and because JPEGs are acceptable on the WWW.)
f. Building Website
The software chosen for making the website was Netscape Composer for the following reasons:
1. Netscape Composer is a WYSIWYG web editor and is free .
2. It comes with many magazines.
3. It doesn’t change filenames
4. Pupils don’t need HTML.
5. It has a very easy way of creating tables.
6. It will convert BMPs to JPEGs.
7. It is similar to word processing for text entry/changing fonts/colour etc.
Pupils were shown how to make simple webpages. They learned how to :
2.Copy and paste text files from Microsoft Word into Composer.
3.Put graphic images onto page.
4.Create tables for text and pictures(see appendix).
6. Make an Index page and put links on it.
g. Printing booklet
The webpages were printed out , photocopied and collated . We used a binding machine to bind the booklet and every pupil had a booklet to bring home.
h. Hyperstudio Stack
Pupils were familiar with Hyperstudio and input the text and graphics into a stack format. They were shown how to make links with buttons and how to put sound with buttons. They were also shown how to have transitions when moving from one card to another.
4. Results and Educational benefits
· Pupils enjoyed reading about their own and other culture’s legends.One pupil remaked having been motivated to read “Irish Sagas and legends” ,”that was the best book I ever read, could I keep it for another while.” Sometimes when I asked pupils to take out their Legends booklet they some of them would say “mine is at home , my mammy/daddy/grandad is reading it “.They would say it with pride.
· Pupils learned to draft and redraft, spellcheck , change fonts, cut and paste text and the skills of word processing.
· Pupils learned the basics of producing a mini website.
· Pupils learned how to create a table in Netscape Composer.
· Pupils experienced some collaborative learning.
· Pupils enhanced their self esteem by publishing on the WWW. Emails arrived commenting on the work they had done.
· At the end of the project we had an open day and parents were invited along with others to see the work.The broad knowledge acquired as a result of an integrated ICT project was amazing particularly when discussing the legends with strangers
· Every family attending the school was given a CD with all of the SIP projects. Some of the children who hadn’t a PC at home would bring the CD to a friend’s house or relative’s house where there was a PC and show it off there.
Creative Writer 2
Netscape Communicator(Includes Composer and Netscape)
The Children of Lir( Educational CD)
How to make a table in Netscape Composer
1. Open Netscape communicator and go to New page in the file menu. Choose blank page from the sub menu and Composer will replace the browser. You now have a WYSIWYG webdesign blank page. Below is a picture of the toolbar.
2. Click on the table icon. You could also go to the insert menu and insert table. The following menu will appear.
3. Fill in required number of rows and columns.
4. decide how table is to be aligned….Left/Center/Right
5.Pick a border line width.
6.Decide what percentage of the page the table will fill….horizontally. I have picked 80%.
7.Decide whether you want equal column widths or not. If not the column widths will be moveable depending on the content.
8.Decide if you want a colour background for your table. If you click on the use colour then a colour menu appears.
9.Click on OK when you are happy with the design.(It may be changed afterwards anyway).
Below is the table which would have appeared with the choices above.
It will change depending on what is inserted into the table. If you click in a cell a cursor appears and you can input text. The text can then be selected and font and size changed as usual. An image may also be inserted into a cell by going to the composer toolbar and clicking on the image icon . You will be asked to choose an image file .
When you insert the image the cell size may change to accomodate the image. However if you click on the image again you may change the dimensions of the image in the image menu.
Below is the table above with an image added . I just left the image in its original size. If I had chosen not to have equal columns then I could put text in the cell
beside the image and it would push the image into its own size.
10. When you are happy with your page including the table you must click on the save icon . Then you can click on the preview icon and you will see the page as it would appear on the WWW.
Tables may be used for whatever purpose you decide. They are a neat way of making an index, or of containing graphics, or of putting in text by using one column.
Below is an example of a table as an index link using text and images.
The table may be edited afterwards by :
1.In Netscape Browser go to file menu and go to edit page.(This opens Netscape Composer,if you’re not in it already.)
2. Click somewhere in the table.
3. To delete a row or a column go to edit menu,delete table and then submenu delete row or column.
4. To change table properties go to Format menu and click on Table properties…note you must click somewhere in the table first or that part of the sub menu will not appear.
d. Page from website
Oisin in Tir na nOg by Amie Dooley
in Tir na nOg
e. Page from Hyperstudio stack.
1. Coolderry Website
2. Project on the Tain
3. Folktales Project based in Sweden
4. Irish legends (This project mini website :)
5. Homepage of SIP19
6. Homepage of Scoilnet , the Irish Schoolnet…see the Culture section,Primary.
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Patrick Bates 22-4-2000.