Vincent Hyland Learning is a Kerry-based company founded by the man himself. Vincent is a multi-talented filmmaker, artist and musician and will be featuring on RTE’s “Living the Wildlife” in May 2010. Vincent sent me a copy of his DVD, “Puffins” from the Learn to Care scheme, a set of programmes he has developed himself. However, more interesting to me, was what came with the DVD – a set of Promethean ActivInspire Flipcharts.
To give a bit of background, the “Learn to Care” system:
aims to educate children about the natural world using visual, audio and interactive content. The system employs interactive whiteboard technology platforms to engage children in an experience that will make learning fun and engaging. It is hoped that the system will foster a sense of caring for their environment, whether this is in the immediate surrounds of their schools, their home town environment, their county, country or beyond.
To be honest, I’m not much of a fan of television so watching a documentary isn’t something I generally do. However, in the name of research, I popped on the DVD and watched Vincent getting close to a bunch of puffins… and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Vincent is a very engaging presenter and the quality of the DVD was super. Vincent describes his DVD better than I could:
In Puffins of Skellig Michael students follow filmmaker Vincent Hyland as he uncovers the secrets of Puffins nesting on Skellig Rock. Each summer these endearing “painted beauty” seabirds come ashore to nest on the precipitous ledges of Islands around Ireland and the coasts of Northern Europe.
My only previous experience of puffins was eating one on my honeymoon in Iceland in a weird Icelandic tapas bar. I didn’t know they came along to Ireland! Anyway, I was more interested in the Promethean Flipcharts that came along with the DVD.
I loaded the chart up easily enough using ActivInspire – (I don’t think it works on older versions of Promethean’s software). It took a good minute or so to open and I was presented with 30 flipchart pages – each one with a different activity.
Navigation-wise, the flipchart is fine. I was easily able to get around each slide and had no problems “getting lost”. The slides, themselves, varied from cloze tests to videos to drag and drop exercises. I think they make a nice accompaniment to the DVD. In fact, if a teacher was to want to do a complete project on puffins, this DVD and flipchart combination would give about two-thirds of everything they would need.
An extra that would have made this even better would have been printable worksheets in PDF format, although the teacher can print off any of the flipchart pages. I also think that restricting the Interactive Flipcharts to Promethean’s software might alienate other IWB users if they don’t own the Promethean software. Having said that, the free Promethean ActivInspire Personal Edition, would suffice to view the flipcharts – well unless the personal edition starts costing money. Perhaps a better idea would have been to create the flipcharts in Flash or some other universally readable software.
There seems to be a load of other titles in this Learn to Care series and Vincent was showing his wares at this year’s INTO congress. I certainly think this series is worth a look. I haven’t got a release date or a price yet on these products but hopefully Vincent might add a comment to this review and let us know.
It’s great to see Irish produced content, especially professionally produced content and I hope that products like these are not once-offs. I’m also delighted to see that companies are embracing interactive technologies rather than the traditional one-way communication system that has been the norm. To view Vincent’s other work, you can go to his web site, http://www.vincenthyland.com