Month: May 2012

Graphic Design (MAGAZINE COVERS) Year 8/2nd Year – Example Work

I am sure creating magazine covers are one of those projects that happen in most schools. This is not revolutionary by any means but it is a good way to help students understand graphic design, audience, purpose as well as some more advanced Adobe Fireworks skills.

In order for students to create magazine covers that actually look authentic they must do some research. What do covers look like in WH Smith or Newstand on iPad?

This seems faily obvious, but far too many times I have seen posters, rather than magazine covers. I will admit to you now that I am bit fussy about what is produced. Although, that is true of any teacher.

Some of the skills required in this project do crossover with the album covers in the 3rd year. However, whilst we do some basic image editing it is not as advanced. I prefer to focus more on arranging elements, design themes and reproducing what they have seen, while still making their covers unique.

I hope you enjoy these examples.


Graphic Design (ALBUM COVERS) Year 9/3rd Year – Example Work

I have been teaching graphic design since I started my teaching career 6 years ago.

My favourite project has always been designing album covers. The students love it and really take ownership of the project as they get to pick the artist.

At present we are using Adobe Firework to create the album covers. Images are edited, combined with several other images, then text and layer effects are added. My plan this year was to use Photoshop, but after we upgraded to the latest software we had a few issues (which have now been resolved) so I stuck with Fireworks.

Next year we shall use Photoshop, although the design principals are the same whatever application you use.

Here are few examples, there is some amazing work here and I wanted to share it.


Using Facebook Groups in Schools

In my experience students  have never been brilliant at checking their school emails, especially the older kids. This makes communicating with them quite difficult when they are not sat in your class.

A great way to improve this is to use Facebook groups. Now, this presents a problem. The main one being schools tend to be terrified of social networks. Possibly because they do not understand them? However, if you have a forward thinking school you can over come this by showing them how useful they can be. Once they are aware of this they may let you give Facebook groups/Twitter a go.

The reason I wanted to use Facebook groups is that many students check it everyday, more often than not several times a day. In fact, much of the time they are using their smartphones rather than a computer to access their profile. It Almost makes filtering Facebook in schools a bit pointless.

Facebook is a smarter, faster and more efficient way of communicating.

This is why I wanted to pilot the use of Facebook groups at school.

So how did we do it? Well, firstly and rightly so, the teachers (myself included) did not want to use their personal profile to set up groups.

This is what we did:

  1. Set up a school Facebook profile (using a separate email address)
    • The name would be the initials of the school then the teachers surname.
    • Once we had set that up we would go through all the privacy setting and make sure they were locked down. (Although the profile would essentially be blank and contain no personal information apart from maybe a profile picture of some variety)
  2. We would then add other school profiles (not personal profiles) as friends so we had a little network going.
  3. Create a private group. (Private groups mean others can see who is in the group, but not what is written in it)
    • To create a group you must add at least one person. Teachers added me as I was running the pilot.
  4. Once that has been done the owner of the group can then email the group URL to the students they would like to join. The students then make a request to join and the teacher can accept.

Doing it this way means that at no point does a teacher need to be “Friends” with the students and all communication is carried within the group.

The trial has been very successful and I have now got more teachers involved.  I have found using groups has:

  • Improved communication
  • Allowed teachers to share important information quickly
  • Share resources like videos and links quickly.
  • Carry out polls
  • Create documents
  • Embraced the technology students are using

We have set up Facebook groups mostly for extra curricular activities such as:

  • Sports
  • Duke of Edinburugh
  • Houses
  • School expeditions
  • Clubs

However we also set up accademic groups, which have also been sucessful.

Things to think about:

  • Ask permission from your school
  • Remember you need to be 13 to have a profile (I know students do have them when they are younger but they shouldn’t)
  • As a teachers and owner of the group you must remember to moderate all of the posts
  • Do not make “Friends” with students, even on a empty school profile.
  • If you are overseeing Facebook Groups make sure you make a list of all school groups. You really need to be aware of how many school groups you have.

I hope this has been useful. There are probably other alternatives to this method but this is the way I have used and it works very well.

iPad Apps for the Classroom (Presentation included)


We have been looking into the use of iPads in lessons and considering the possibility of buying a class set as a trial.

I am excited about this and think its a great move forward.

However, how will we use them? What Apps will we use?

As many people do not own one and some have not used one I thought it would be a good idea to put together a list of Apps we could use. Rather than simple say they need to be used for this lesson or that lesson, I thought it would be better to just say what the Apps can do. This way, people can come up with their own ideas.

This list is not definitive and there are a loads of Apps I could have mentioned. It just contain information on several Apps I think would be great for the classroom.

The Google Docs presentation is below. You can view the Sky Drive version here.