There are lots of ways that ICT can act as a valuable Literacy resource in the classroom, from the numerous software programs on the market to the multitude of apps suitable for Tablets. Some of the Tablet apps, such as Toontastic and SockPuppets, have become firm favourites in the classroom and are used as part of a literacy lesson, often incorporated into a Station Teaching methodology. Tablet devices have made huge inroads into classrooms and in many cases have totally replaced laptop and PC work.
Teachers who have moved over to Tablet use often find that a favourite resource is not available as an app for the Tablet device. Something similar also happens with online resources that were developed through Flash and work within a browser. One of these online resources is The Zimmer Twins at School. This resources relies on Flash and unfortunately it won’t function on an iPad. The Zimmer Twins site has been around for quite some time having been launched in Canada back in 2005 and it has won several awards over the years.
Some online educational resources are free while some are free but feature commercial advertisements. The Zimmer Twins site is “Pay for use” however a teacher can register 5 students for free and up to 12 free movies. This free feature is well worth taking a look at as I found the Zimmer Twins to be an engaging resource that could easily find a home in a Resource or SEN class.
The sign-up process is straightforward with the all too-familiar username / password / email and email verification process. After the registration process is finished a teacher / pupil can begin to create a movie. One word of caution here! Free option users are unable to “edit” a movie so everything should be double checked before finalising a piece of work. Having to begin again would reduce the number of available free movies as well the need to start from scratch!
The opening edit screen features Flash availability controls — either to enable within a Chrome browser or to download to a PC or laptop.
There is a library of pre-designed movie starters featuring the cartoon Zimmer Twins Eva and Edgar and their cat 13 that pupils could use to get a project up and running quickly and easily. There is also a “create from scratch” option.
The movie is made by dragging scene selections into the timeline from a library; there are 4 sections to the library, Talk Bubble Clips, Action Clips, Close-up Clips and Star Clips. Each selection has a sentence with sections that can be changed – a character name, an action and a location. Once again free users are restricted in what they can change; free users are limited to the template text.
I also found that I was unable to include words with a “Séimhiú” so I couldn’t create a grammatically correct story as “Gaeilge”.
Once the timeline has been completed the movie can be saved and shared.
There are additional features available for fee paying users such as commenting on work, sharing movies and lots of other library material.
I think the Zimmer Twins site is well worth a visit, if only to use up the 12 free movie options with a group of SEN or EAL pupils.