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Everyone knows what literacy and numeracy skills are, but what's visual literacy? Quite simply, it's about understanding how images go together and how the visual medium works with other forms of media. The best way of developing visual literacy is through creative activities, and this CD-Rom offers many opportunities for doing just that.

Ian Wall, director of Film Education, explains the background to the disc: "Around six months ago Apple loaned us some computers for a conference, where we showed an experimental version of Poetry in Motion [World War One poetry and film]. We were pleased with the response and Apple was keen to get QuickTime Pro software (see above, right) into schools so teachers could see the potential for themselves."

The result is the Picturing Literacy CD-Rom, which is crammed full of clips, interviews and trailers allowing pupils a fascinating and stimulating insight into how the animation process works. The clips also provide the backbone of the resources necessary for pupils to create their own trailers. "Working on a trailer is useful within the confines of a one-hour lesson," says Wall. "It's very easy to watch the trailer and then get the students working on small, concentrated exercises or more developed ones."

The CD-Rom is aimed at 8 to 11-year-olds and 11 to 14-year-olds. Although both age ranges use the same materials, the Activities section will lead you to do very different exercises with the two groups. The Monsters Inc. folders in the Digital Content section, for example, include clips on how the film was made. In this instance, primary age pupils could make their own documentary on the making of the film, while secondary school students could create a documentary targeted at a specific audience, such as professional animators.

The clips for Monsters Inc. provide plenty of material for pupils to put together in their documentaries. Interviews with actors like John Goodman, Steve Buscemi and Billy Crystal provide the background to the making of the film, while clips of the crew developing the characters and the storyboards show how the animation process works. And if you're worried about how you get across the different target audiences there are plenty of trailers on the CD-Rom for you to choose from. Apart from the Monsters Inc. there are also trailers for ET, Just Visiting, Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius and, for your more cheeky pupils, ThunderpantsI although some of you may want to hold this one back!

The 'Picturing Literacy' CD-Rom is divided into four sections:

1 Digital Content

Included in this section is the short animated film, War Game, based on the famous World War One incident when on Christmas Day, enemy soldiers played football together in No Man's Land.

On top of this there is a wealth of clips from Monsters Inc., as well as interviews with the cast and crew, in which they talk about how everything from storyboarding to the voice-over process works. There are even clips on how artists developed the personalities of the various characters. The other film trailers are stored here as well.

2 Activities

The teaching materials on the CD-Rom are aimed at primary (8 to 11) and secondary (11 to 14) pupils. All the activities are stored in pdf format so that they can be easily printed out, there are templates for storyboards and teachers guides for each of the age groups. Activities range from learning about how QuickTime Pro can be used to play movies and loop them together to using clips and stills to create your own documentaries.

These work sheets are only suggestions, as teachers and students can use the materials ina number of ways. After using the Picturing Literacy CD-Rom it is more than likely that that both teachers and students will literally see filmin an entirely new light.

3 QuickTime Guides

This section contains not only tutorials on how to use Quicktime Pro (setting up Quicktime Pro, making slide shows, downloading and editing movies) but also gives teachers other ideas for further activities using the package.

4 Software Installers

Everything you'll need to view the resources on this CD-Rom (QuickTime 5 and Adobe Acrobat Reader). However, in order to manipulate and edit the video files, you will need to download a copy of QuickTime Pro.

System requirements

Macintosh: A power PC processor based Macintosh computer with at least 32Mb of memory; Mac OS 7.5.5 or later.

Windows: A Pentium PC or compatible computer; at least 32Mb of memory; Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000 or NT 4.0; Sound Blaster or compatible speakers recommended; Direct X version 3.0 or later recommended.

Detailed online technical support can be found at www.info.apple.comsupportquicktime

Warner Village terms and conditions

All prizes will be awarded and notified by mail Winners may make no substitution or transfer of prize. Employees of Apple, Film Education and Warner Village Cinemas, their respective affiliates, subsidiaries, advertisingpromotion agencies and their immediate families andor those living in the same household of each are not eligible.

Only one free copy of QuickTime Pro per school. This offer ends on March 28 2002.

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