MOOFU, which stands for More for You is a very young company that exhibited at BETT for the first time this year, writes Sally McKeown. The Plymouth based company started life just over a year ago offering bespoke media resources to schools - web applications, film production and multimedia - but quickly moved on to create tools for teachers and pupils to use to learn the skills needed to produce their own multimedia learning materials.
It is always scary letting children loose in a classroom, especially when teachers are not sure of what the outcomes will be. But MOOFU has helped two schools develop skills that support teachers and make more resources available right across the school, so everyone is a winner.
Project Zero uses a games format with animated characters and avatars to teach pupils the essential technical skills such as storyboarding, editing, video capture and how to convert visual materials into a learning resource. Taking on the roles of director, camera operator and editor they can create their own materials or, working with teachers, turn key parts of a lesson into a video to go on into a VLE (virtual learning environment). Using the provided templates this takes about 30 minutes for pupils to pick up skills.
As part of a Becta-led project MOOFU has been working with two very different schools: Plymouth High School for Girls, a grammar school where pupils have to pass the 11-plus to gain entry; Tamarside College, a specialist technology college in an area of high deprivation. Pupils at the girls school opted to make visual learning resources for French and German which could be printed or also be used on an interactive whiteboard. They worked alongside Moofu developers to ensure consistently high quality. One student used her new-found video editing skills to produce a video diary of her volunteer trip to a Romanian orphanage which involved taking a group of handicapped children on a camping trip in the Romanian mountains.
Tamarside College produced a range of video resources including one on making lemonade, complete with video from the food technology classroom, subtitles, music and a scrolling recipe. The director, cameraman, producer and editor were listed in the credits which helped to raise their profile in the school.
As well as learning technical skills, the pupils also deveoped soft skills such as teamwork and planning, interpreting and sharing information - vital in the workplace.
MOOFU managing director Nick Palfrey was delighted with the response from visitors at BETT 2009. "Teachers felt that Project Zero offered a way of helping learners engage with traditional subjects in new ways," he said. "Pupils can learn by doing and can learn about a subject by using it in different and more creative ways. A lot of teachers who visited the stand identified ways of using Project Zero in the classroom but others were interested in using it for after school clubs or for transition projects".
A full school software licence for Project Zero cost £99.99 with an additional £375 for a yearly subscription to the Project Zero web 2 community site.
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