Scotland on Screen

Having spent a fun-filled few days recently in the Scottish Screen Archive, watching everything from a  rare Chic Murray comedy drama to amateur footage of the funeral of Robert Burns’ granddaughter in Dumfries (attended incidentally by the then Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald) it was a great pleasure this week to see the Scotland on Screen website, which I had been helping to develop, nominated for an education award at the Learning on Screen Awards 2010.

Launched at last year’s Scottish Learning Festival, the site already has more than 15 hours of digitised clips, a figure which will more than double when the latest batch are tagged, prepared and uploaded. Each clip is between two and twenty minutes long, and comes with detailed introduction and production information. 

Collectively, the films represent much of Scotland’s cultural heritage of the past hundred years or so. Ranging from Oscar-winning documentaries to amateur footage of local gala days, from animated poems to public health films, there is something for every level and area of the curriculum.  Each clip is accompanied by a few starter questions for discussion, followed by suggested activities which can be further developed by the teacher. A selection of high quality, fully-developed ‘feature resources’ is available for those who wish to embark on a more in-depth study.

The films can be searched alphabetically, by date, topic or curriculum area. An additional A Day in the Homefeature, available only to educational users via GLOW, is that each film comes with a high-resolution film strip which allows subscribers to re-mix, edit and incorporate into multi-media presentations, or to create their own digital narratives!  It really is a first-class (free!) resource for teachers. Here’s hoping it gets the recognition it deserves at that awards ceremony.        

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        © National Library of Scotland

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5 thoughts on “Scotland on Screen

  1. It really is a great resource. I saw it at SLF last year and shared it with my Computing colleague. He has used it alot this year to allow his Digital Media pupils to play.

    I hope it does well at the awards. I am also looking at using the Smokescreen website with pupils – tough category!

  2. Hi Alan,
    It has great potential, and it will only get better. There literally is something here for everyone, from early years to upper secondary, and in every curriculum area. Watch out for the next batch of film clips appearing, probably in the Autumn. Not familiar with Smokescreen but I’ll check it out.

  3. Haven’t seen the site yet,but as a child we were often taken to the Bo’ness Hippodrome(now restored and open again) to see old footage of the Bo’ness Fair Day (no “gala” day for us!) A couple of years ago some of it was shown at a local museum and we managed to pick out my gran in one film. Bo’ness was well filmed over the years thanks to Louis Dickson and I think most of that film is in the archive.

  4. Hi Lynne,
    I can’t remember whether any of the Bo’ness clips are in this latest batch of films being prepared for the site, since I wasn’t involved in every session, but I would guess there will be, since there are between 200 and 300 of them in total, and the idea was to try to represent every area of Scotland. What I did come to realise was the huge significance of the gala day or ‘fair’ in some parts of the country, particularly of course in mining areas, and I got the impression that Bo’ness is certainly among the most prominent! No doubt there will be other communities out there convinced that theirs is the biggest and best.
    Just had a look at the Hippodrome site – I love the idea of the ‘jeely jar special’. Great stuff.

  5. Fair Day is huge in Bo’ness – not sure other “gala” days are done on such a big scale. I do remember the Hippodrome when it was open. My great-great Aunt sold tickets and sweets, altough in her younger days she played the violin to accompany the silent films.

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