Page last updated at 13:18 GMT, Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Mobiles used to report phone fears

Rabia, Cacharel, Ellen, all 13, and Emma, Nykita, Jessica, Tayla and Tina, all 12, from North Manchester High School for Girls

School Reporters used their mobile phones to report on concerns, such as cyber-bullying, which have been associated with mobiles.

Using free video-recording and Bluetooth facilities, students from North Manchester High School for Girls were able to take home their news reports on their phones at the end of the school day.

On 29 January, the eight students researched their chosen topics on the internet before setting out for Middleton shopping centre, where they captured the public's opinions on cyber-bullying, phone-related health risks, the cost of mobiles and favourite phone functions.

George Alagiah

Pupils made the most of their travel time, watching a video of George Alagiah on their phones and digesting his mobile reporting tips.

Having conducted their vox pops, students returned to North East Manchester City Learning Centre (CLC) to script and film the presenters' opening and closing pieces-to-camera, before Bluetooth-ing all the clips to a computer and editing them together.

The final videos were then transmitted back to their phones, enabling the students to show, and send, their own broadcasts to their friends and family.

Paul Murray, from the CLC said: "Accessibility was the biggest benefit of using mobiles over video cameras: They are easier to carry; more or less every pupil I know has got a mobile phone with the ability to record, if not video, then at least sound and still images; and the transfer process of getting video onto a computer was quite straightforward and didn't require any cables."

He added: "The day raised the students' awareness about the implications of mobile phones. It may also mean they'll go on to watch the news more at home."

RESOURCES AND TIPS FOR TEACHERS

Safety

Owing to the portable nature of mobile phones and the familiarity with such gadgets, students may not have the safety issues, associated with using a video camera, uppermost in their minds, so it is important to discuss these before gathering news material.

Another aspect of safety concerns the sharing of information.

A technique, which worked well with students from Manchester High School for Girls, involved every participating student re-naming their phone SR (for School Report) plus their first name, for example, SR Tina, and labelling any clips with the suffix SR, for example SR Tina intro.

Students then agreed to send only SR clips to SR phones.

Not only did this make it easy to locate files and phones, it also discouraged students from Bluetooth-ing inappropriate material to one another.

This activity can also prompt a discussion about media organisations'' duty to be responsible broadcasters and how this applies to students who, by sending information from phone to phone, could also be considered as broadcasters.

Teacher Paul Murray
Test sending by Bluetooth between different types of phones because not all phones are compatible
Paul Murray, NE Manchester CLC
Testing equipment

In preparation, students should:

  • Check their phone battery is full
  • Turn on Bluetooth
  • Rename their phone SR plus their first name, e.g. SR Tina
  • Ascertain the phone's functions e.g. video, audio, photographs
  • Record a test clip or take a test photo and save it, noting its location
  • Re-name a test clip using the suffix SR
  • Bluetooth a test clip to another SR phone
  • Receive and accept a test clip from another phone

Students who have large phone memories can use their mobiles as storage banks, gathering clips from all members of their group.

This will save time during the downloading of clips, as it will only involve pairing a computer with one phone per group.

Case Studies

Pupils from Greenwood Dale School in Nottingham ran a mobile-phone practice News Day.

School Reporters from Lilian Baylis Technology School in Lambeth, London transformed their personal gadgets into news-gathering devices.




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