BBC Learning

I worked BBC learning department for 12 years first as Interactive Designer then as a Digital Content producer. As a producer, I lead a multi-disciplinary team to produce multi-platform digital learning projects for schools and adults. As a designer, I designed, illustrated, and developed websites, games and print material for pupils and teachers.

I initiated an iterative and user-centred approach to digital production, collaborating with local historical, educational bodies, teachers and pupils to match the medium and platform to the educational circumstance to produce engaging and award-winning digital resources.

Siege of Derry

The Siege of Derry timeline explores the turbulent period of Irish history when Londonderry took centre stage in the battle for supremacy between two kings. The 1689 Siege of Derry is a contentious event often viewed in isolation. We were keen to use this website to remove it from its modern day political connotations and to view it as a conflict set within the context of Irish, English and European history. It was therefore essential that I thoroughly research the subject, draw from qualified sources, work with historian and analyse key aspects of information to ensure an unbiased account. The resulting animated timeline reveals the military strategy of the 1689 Siege of Derry and places the campaign in context by exploring events in Ireland, England and Europe from 1603 to 1690. Contemporary maps, pictures and accounts have been compiled to create an animated narrative of this period 17th century Irish history. This resource reflects the KS3 Plantation theme of learning.

Roles: Writer/ producer 

Award: Winner of the Kieran Hegarty Award for Interactivity at Celtic Media Festival 2012.

Top Teeth

Top Teeth is an educational website designed to heighten awareness of dental health for children in Northern Ireland. Child tooth decay is a serious health problem in Northern Ireland. The resource is aimed at 7-9 year olds and is designed to encourage good dental hygiene amongst children in a fun and enjoyable manner. The interactive games and activities offered on the site give children the opportunity to learn about dental hygiene, diet for healthy teeth, teeth structure and the names of different types of teeth in a colourful and interactive manner. This project involved Ellen mentoring an assistant producer during the production of the website. She had overall responsibility for content creation, project management and creative direction while guiding the assistant producer in the commissioning of teacher’s notes, web development and activity design.

Roles: Acting Senior Producer

Award: Winner of Learning Onscreen Award 2011.

Musical Mysteries

Musical Mysteries is an interactive website designed to support the Northern Ireland Music Curriculum for Key Stages 1 and 2. The resource helps pupils to explore basic musical concepts in sound, rhythm and mood. Enabling them to gain valuable listening, composing and musical interpretation skills. Ellen was responsible for storyboarding, directing the illustrator and producing the interactive games for the website. Russell was responsible for the client-side development of the website.

Roles: Interactive Designer

Award: Winner of Learning Onscreen Award 2005.

King William

With William III, we wanted to create a website that challenged the traditional view of ‘King Billy’ a contentious figure in Irish history, celebrated and condemned in equal measure. I felt that the history of English monarchs was often presented in a dry and inaccessible manner as compared to the coverage of the life of the modern Royal family. When the producer began to uncover some revelations about the character of King William, I felt that a tabloid style of design would be appropriate ‘to break the story’. Using a broadsheet lay-out for more in-depth pieces. Activities such as the ‘Child’s View’ were designed to challenge common misconceptions about the King. This approach made a comprehensive and detailed description of the must maligned monarch enjoyable and accessible to a wide range of users.

Roles: Interactive Designer

Award: Nominated for Interactive Bafta/Highly-commended at Learning Onscreen Award 2005.

Sesame Tree

The Sesame Tree resource was created to complement the “Sesame Tree”television series made by the BBC with the Sesame Street Workshop. The website featured illustrated interactive scenes from the TV series to enable children to immerse themselves in the Sesame Tree world. Interactive activities such as Scrapbook challenge extended the learning outcomes of topics featured in the TV series. Activity sheets and parental guidance were available to download for off-line use. Aimed at 3-6 year olds the website reflected the specific requirements of the Northern Ireland Curriculum at Foundation level. For this project Ellen worked closely with the TV production team to ensure the website was complementary to the series and delivered to transmission deadlines. She storyboarded layouts and activities and commissioned website developers, graphic designers and illustrators and project managed their delivery.

Roles: Producer

GCSE Bitesize

The Irish Bitesize website is designed to aid students studying for their Irish GSCE exam and provides content for the different elements of the examination in the form of revision guides, Flash games, course notes and quizzes. The Irish Bitesize site was designed for those students studying Irish as a second language and included Flash activities for Listening and Speaking modules of the exam. Ellen was responsible for project managing the delivery of the Irish language content (1,300 audio files) and the design and build of the interactive games. Russell was responsible for the build of the website.

Ellen Bell – interactive designer,

Roles: Interactive designer, Illustrator

KS3 Citizenship

KS3 Citizenship website was designed to support teachers during the introduction of the new subject of Citizenship into Northern Ireland schools. Citizenship explores controversial topics such as racism and sectarianism and many practitioners felt uncomfortable teaching the subject. I used the comic-book metaphor for its implied moral code and its ability to convey difficult issues in an accessible manner. Using this approach I was able to create activities such as ‘A Balanced View’ that enabled teachers to discuss and debate difficult issues such as prejudice with their pupils.

Roles: Interactive designer, Illustrator