Visual Science Project

Project leaders: Dr Philip Howlett; Dr Debbie Holley


In the Department of Education, lecturers Philip Howlett and Debbie Holley have been developing the use of animations as a pedagogic tool to help trainee science teachers explain science in a more engaging format. Drawing upon the EU Co-Creat project, ( which is studying how technology can support creative collaborations and developing teachers’ skills in developing learning through animation, our students worked in small groups to animate a range of scientific concepts. Based on the iMotion App for iPad, the session was underpinned by the National Curriculum, with the students selecting from:

Year 2: Living things and their habitats
Year 3: Rocks
Year 4: Sound
Year 6: Light

The students work can be viewed here:

Further Information and Resources:

The use of the Visual Learning in education was one of the HEFCE Funded Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) 5 year research projects and resources and materials can be found here:

Download a free ‘Draw to learn’ booklet for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths

Materials for teachers from Co-Create

National Curriculum (up to 2014)

Student feedback after the session:

The activity was so much fun! Creative, cross curricula and consolidated my knowledge of how fossils are formed. We engaged in a scientific discussion and really thought about how to represent our knowledge. I can really see this being used in class!

It’s thoroughly engaging and motivating. However it relies entirely on functioning and available resources. The activity provides opportunities for inclusion. However, careful consideration will be required relating to group dynamics.

Very fun and because it is only using a few frames it can be used for basic explanations.

Very creative and imaginative

Teacher Modeling – give examples

Good for team work skills

Set children into groups and set the to create one still image per group. Then the plenary at the table end could be joining all images together and showing class.

I really liked using i-Motion as a resource to support learning. I thought the interactiveness was great & would be a fun way of checking children’s knowledge around a certain subject. The only problem I have with it  is how time consuming it is, however I think this could be overcome with careful planning & possibly pre-prepared models depending on the children’s age. I think it is a really good resource to help visual learners.

Loved this lesson! Very hands on and allowed time for discussion with peers to generate ideas. App is good resource to use although may need some time to get to grips with it before using with pupils. Children would be energised and motivated however, they would need a lot of guidance depending on age.

Loved how cross –curricular it can be/ provides opportunity for discussion and questioning – an important part of learning/ allows children to think about sequencing/ fun and interactive J

Excellent for deepening understanding of a subject – cross- curricular; embed learning V.A.K; inclusive; promotes discussion; easy to address misconceptions Loved it

Very good, can use in many cross-curricula activities/ good for discussion and assessment opportunities to go against children’s subject knowledge /Fun, active, interactive and engaging!


I think the discussions that derive & develop from the groupwork will benefit children greatly in moving them on in their learning, and trying to represent their understanding of a concept in a 3D model storyboard will develop & consolidate their understanding tremendously

Engaging; promotes enthusiasm for learning; great cross-curricula links; provides opportunities for everyone to get involved; good assessment tool [but]time consuming

iMotion is a useful tool as it allows children to promote and consolidate their learning by being creative. It encourages all pupils to be involved in the task and promotes collaborative learning and teamwork amongst peers

iMotion app is a very cross-curricula approach to teaching a certain topic/ It also allows children to be creative and express their understanding in a way suitable for them. Due to being cross-curricula it allows for all children to be involved.

I think it is an excellent opportunity to enthuse children, give them an opportunity to work togehter and to consolidate learning!

Science is Fun

fossilsA good method for children to consolidate knowledge. Through this task yearly, you could also build a library of videos to use as examples and an introduction to new topics. Children may require independent ICT lessons to learn how to use the software before using it as an additional learning resource. Great resources and I can see this being very engaging for boys.





Making Fossils                                                 









Developing the backdrop

Further work:

We are tracking the use of this initiative into the classroom, and the work was  presented as part of the ALDinHE  Look/Make/Learn: visual transformations in learning, teaching and assessment Conference in London on 28/01/2014 – link

Images from Look/Make/Learn

Creative Writing

The research on visualisation is adapted from the LearnHigher CETL

Workshop 1

These images are from a creative writing workshop designed to support my students with conceptualising the issues that may arise when writing up their major research projects.

Individual images available at

Workshop 2

Workshop 3

Image for LMBS Creativity

LMBS Creativity

First year students at the Business School took part in the Campaign for Drawing this semester, our theme was creativity and the professional, see


Students learned about working in teams and worked together to create a collage, with information about the values and skills a  professional of their choice would need, see the student posters at

Image of Fashion and Dance Show

Fashion & Dance Show

This year I really enjoyed hosting a Fashion and Dance Show organised by colleagues Chandres and Kat and their students.

Click here to see our wonderful students

View a case study on creative practice:

Holley, D. Case study contribution on Visual Literacies, Part of Strategic Stories: Michelle Reid, Association of Learning Developers in Higher Education, 04/10/2012, available at

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