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Boost behaviour with film-making

Forget the special-effects in blockbuster movies X-Men or Poseiden - children as young as five can create them in Wales.

Evidence from a pilot ICT project in 50 primary schools is proving that making films is not only achieving breathtaking results, but also helping to curb bad behaviour.

Pupils are so keen they are even skipping breaks to finish filming, says Robert James, head of Coed-Y-Lan primary school in Pontypridd. Speaking at the first Wales information technology for schools exhibition (WITS), he said the pilot scheme proved pupils were switching on to film-making.

He said: "This project is helping to engage children that the traditional curriculum has left behind. I think the three 'Rs' should be replaced with the three 'Cs' - creativity, communication and collaboration.

"It is changing behaviour and some of the most difficult pupils are really motivated to it."

Children as young as five have become mini-movie producers as part of an ICT project aimed at getting pupils to communicate more with each other.

Teachers at Mr James's seminar at WITS were shown a series of films made by pupils at the Valley school, one of which has won a major award. Abduction took first prize (for eight to 11-year-olds) in the national creativity in digital media awards 2006, organised by the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency.

However, Mr James said teachers did not need the latest technology to create some dramatic special-effects.

A six-year-old girl made a mini-movie using still images she had drawn to tell the fairy tale of Little Red Riding. Older pupils used everyday items to recreate the noises of war in a haunting tale of child war victims.

Mr James said: "I can't imagine any adult coming up with some of the ideas.

I had to pinch myself because they were so good. In one film about recycling they came up with the idea of a volcano spewing out rubbish - it was fantastic."

A host of other speakers led seminars at the conference hosted by ESIS, at Treforest, near Caerphilly, this week.

Dr Trevor Millum, of the National Association for the Teaching of English explained how state-of-the-art technology can be used to help youngsters to speak, listen, read and write. And Julie Steers, a freelance education consultant from England, also told how multi-media approaches could enhance learning.

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