Pontnewynydd Primary School

Pontnewynydd Primary School staff and pupils are taking a whole new approach to teaching and learning as a result of the installation of a television studio, plasma screens and video streaming technology by Planet PC. The school received funding for the provision of creative media technology through a successful bid to the Heads of the Valleys, a Welsh Assembly development project for socially and economically deprived areas to improve resources.

Pontnewynydd Primary School<

Students have incorporated their equipment into various classes, with history taking the spotlight for Years 2 - 4. Learning about the first Moon landings by viewing archive footage of the Apollo 11 Space Mission and then utilising green screen technology, the children used images of the live transmission as a backdrop to produce their own re-enactment, giving a real sense of stepping back in time and onto the Moon themselves. The anniversary of the D-Day Landings was also commemorated using the same technology.

Years 5 and 6 brought home an important lesson on Internet safety by writing and producing a film featuring a child who believes they are chatting on-line with another child which ends with the revelation that they have actually been exchanging messages with an alien!

As part of an ecology project they enjoyed and learnt through devising their own questions by producing unique versions of ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ and ‘The Generation Game’.

Other production plans at point of going to press are a documentary on Forest School, an outdoor learning initiative to promote child awareness of the environment and a programme observing animals at night. The school is also considering entering students’ work into film festivals and intends to broadcast regular newscasts featuring scheduling information for the children, running on a loop throughout the school.

After installation Planet PC handed over to Kevin Eyles at Three Corners Films, who was sub-contracted by Torfaen Council to work with the children in the studio on an ongoing basis. Kevin says “As well as understanding the project information and using all of the kit, the children learn to work as a team, discussing, planning and editing with other pupils. The students tend to be comfortable around the technology and are keen to get involved. It allows them to re-enact and interact, and children remember more through real life learning and experience. These resources enable students with a wide range of abilities to learn without realising it, whilst equipment such as the Autocue prompters encourages reading, even with students of a low reading age. The experience really does build confidence and allows all the children to shine in the studio.”

Parents have been surprised and impressed with the TV studio and Andrew Philips, Deputy Head of Pontnewynydd Primary School, said “The studio is a brilliant resource. We are moving forward and getting better with each project.”