iPad Workshop with Llandough Primary

I teach at St Cyres School Penarth which is the first and only Apple Distinguished School in Wales. In 2014 we moved into a brand new building, adopting a one-to-one iPad scheme. This not only allows us to keep up with the current technological demands but through forward-thinking leadership and staff we are pushing the boundaries in digital teaching and learning.

Before our pupils start at St Cyres they may have had one or two lessons using iPads in primary school but to switch to a one-to-one scheme, using iPads every day in almost every lesson creates a learning curve for pupils as they adjust to this way of learning.

Therefore, to give a taster of what lessons are like at St Cyres, over this academic year I have arranged to visit all five of our feeder primary schools to lead iPad workshops, preparing the pupils for Year 7.

The Class

Year 5 class at Llandough Primary School

I recently visited Llandough Primary and spent the morning working with a Year 5 class. I took iPads with me so that all pupils were able to have access to a device during the session.

We started by learning about the way St Cyres School use iPads and I introduced the pupils to the most commonly used classroom apps. The pupils were highly engaged and excited to see how much the technology can enhance lessons across all subjects.


Teaching Year 5 pupils how iPads are used in lessons at St Cyres School

The main task I set for the pupils was to create a video or vlog about themselves. The pupils used the Notes app to digital sketch ideas and a mind mapping app called MindNode to plan and create the content for their videos. These were topics such as hobbies, family and activities with their friends. The pupils were all very engaged, comfortable and confident using the iPads which allowed the focus to be on the task and not on how to use the device.


Llandough Primary School pupils planning their vlogs on the iPad

The second part of the session was spent using the video camera app to vlog themselves and each other. They went to different areas of the classroom and spent about ten minutes creating their video. It takes a lot of confidence and it’s very challenging to deliver a good presentation to camera but the pupils gave a very natural performance.

We then spent time AirPlaying the vlogs to the class and we discussed what went well and how to make them better. We also discussed the next stage of creating the vlogs by using iMovie to edit and produce a final video.


Filming each other to create video content for their vlogs

To end the session I took along St Cyres School’s video drone and we flew it over the school. Again this proved to be a very engaging experience for the pupils as the majority have never seen a high-quality video drone before. The pupils learned about how high and far the drone can fly as well as capturing different video footage angles from the air. The footage was then edited and uploaded to YouTube to thank the pupils for a fantastic video workshop at Llandough Primary School.

Click here to watch the drone video

A Song for Christmas

For the past four years at Christmas time, I have used my passion for technology and video production, together with my role as music teacher at St Cyres School to create a primary schools’ Christmas music video for the local community.

This involves six local primary schools learning and singing the same song, then coming together in the video to perform as one big choir. In the past this would have usually have been filmed separately at each school and then brought together during the final edit, but this year each primary school brought a selection of pupils to St Cyres School and including our own choir we performed and filmed the song as one.


Briefing the pupils from the seven different schools on how we were going to shoot the video

The majority of the filming was done using two Canon digital SLR cameras with Rode microphones mounted on top. The singers performed a few takes so that I could position the cameras in different areas of the hall to achieve multiple angle shots. The school has recently purchased a DJI Spark drone, so I couldn’t resist using this too!


One of the Canon DSLR cameras used to film the music video

Once the filming was completed, I used Apple’s Final Cut Pro X software to edit the different angles together, syncing the footage to the original backing track to achieve the highest quality sound. I also added the magic of Christmas by super imposing snow and a flying Santa over the school!


On the morning of December 1, the finished video was uploaded to St Cyres School’s YouTube channel and made available for all of the primary schools to share with their pupils and to the wide community using social media.

To watch the video please click on this link –  A Song for Christmas 2017 – St Cyres School