Green-screened colonies produce historical success

We are surrounded by information, from the internet and social media to roadside advertising signs, and of course, books. Traditionally, children as learners were consumers of this information. Teachers and libraries were the font of all knowledge.

Times have changed. Today’s learners are not just consumers of knowledge, but also producers of knowledge. At St Paul’s Primary School, Gateshead, teachers have embraced the general capabilities and contemporary learning skills of collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and communication by making use of the school’s green screen studio, a converted workroom in the library.

A green screen studio is a room with one wall painted green, extra lighting and a tripod for filming. The green screen is an integral part of the special effects process known as chromakey.

Chromakey allows television producers and movie makers to use advanced technology to superimpose their subjects onto an any number of different virtual backgrounds. This is the technique that creates computer-generated special effects movies, enabling superheroes to fly and actors to appear in fantasy worlds.

Year 5 students recently used the school’s green screen studio to create information learnt in their current history unit, The Australian Colonies. The students had to “bring to life” significant figures of the colonial times such as bushrangers, governors and gold miners. Year 5 teacher Lauren Bleakley said the green screen allowed students to get into character, collaborate with their peers and express their creativity whilst using their imagination and digital skills.

Filming their final products was the culmination of many hours of explicit instruction, discussion, research, writing and reviewing, both virtually and within the classroom. Having an audience for their learning makes a difference for students.

Once complete, the children uploaded their finished product to Microsoft Teams and Seesaw, which enables their parents and others to view them. Some were selected to be posted on the school’s Facebook page.

Ms Bleakley was very impressed with the children’s final product. “‘The green screen technology added a new and exciting dimension to the classroom that led to high student engagement,” she said. 

Please enjoy these samples from Year 5:

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