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Really Creative School Event Project Description

by Martin Doherty last modified Tuesday Mar 21, 2006 01:37
Really Creative School Visit Event

Really Creative School Visit Event

See the Event School Tour, the Children's Videos and the Panel Discussion here

23rd - 24th September 2003

Martin Doherty

Personnel involved: Martin Doherty, Tony Browne, Hamish Scott-Brown, one NCSL Electronic Learning Facilitator (Matt Parrott), two Ultralab researchers providing technical expertise - Matt Eaves and Matt Sisto

 

Aim of Event:

  • To create a virtual school visit through web broadcasting
  • To showcase a school involved in remodeling their curriculum
  • To create a virtual discussion using web broadcast and simultaneous community discussion
  • To stimulate debate among community members

Event Background:

This event stemmed from the work of the Re-modeling the Curriculum Community, one of the Talk2learn Online Communities, which has been the focus for in-depth headteacher discussions on creativity in schools and the mechanisms for promoting creativity in the school curriculum.

Many of the postings to this community ask for information on how schools start the journey towards being a creative school, what materials are useful in planning and requests for information on how a variety of problems can be overcome. A number of the postings express a wish to visit creative schools to see first hand how things are done. Given the geographical spread of the schools involved visits are difficult to organize and expensive to undertake. In response to these difficulties the Really Creative School Visit Event was constructed

Event Rationale:

The event starts from the premise that if it is difficult to have interested headteachers visit really creative schools then the solution is to have the work and experience of really creative schools made more readily accessible to interested headteachers. This is usually done through the production of reports such as OfSTED's The curriculum in successful primary schools. Such reports are useful but the text-based format lacks the punch available through using internet and multimedia techniques.

By creatively combining the use of community software, video and internet broadcast technology the team set to organize an event where the work of really creative schools could be revealed to interested parties without the constraints imposed by geographical location, travel and time. The team believed that participation in such an event should help schools starting on the journey to a more creative curriculum practice to foster mutually supportive relationships with like-minded fellow practitioners that will have long term benefits for all parties. In short, the use of video records the practices and the reality of the creative school while the use of broadcast technology allows many interested practitioners to gain useful insights without the creative school being frequently disrupted. In addition the use of community software allows the creation of an on-going support community which, apart from allowing the flow of experience and documentation between schools working in this field, has the potential to develop mentoring between experienced schools and those just starting out on the journey.

 

Orginal Event structure and Timetable:

Event Structure: Timetable for event of 22 nd � 24 th September

Pre-event activities:

  • The event is advertised in the Online communities and interested members are contacted to inform them of event.
  • The host schools prepare useful materials and documentation that they wish to share with those taking part in the event. This material is posted in the community.
  • Host schools identify exactly what they would like to be recorded and broadcast thay best reflects the practice of their schools.
  • Host school obtain permission from parents of those taking part in the event remembering that if will be broadcast on the internet.

Friday September 12 th :

  • Video making training day for pupils from Claypool PS and Rivington and Blackrod High. An Ultralab team will assist pupils to shoot and edit some videos for broadcast.
  • The video equipment is left in the safe-keeping of the schools to prepare some videos for broadcast on 23 rd /24 th Sept.

Monday 22 nd :

  • Ultralab team arrive and work with pupils to edit their videos for broadcast
  • Video shooting in Primary School continues on Monday Afternoon

Tuesday 23 rd :

  • Video shooting in Primary School continues throughout the day.
  • Online broadcast of footage begins at 10am . Video clips are repeated throughout day to allow heads to dip in and out throughout day.
  • Online community active and accepting questions and comments
  • Shooting in Secondary School continues
  • PM 3 visiting headteacher tour the school with host head and the tour is recorded and snippets broadcast. Possible use of live webcam of discussions on the tour
  • 4.30pm Live Online Broadcast of Panel discussion between visiting heads and host head with the theme of Fostering a Creative School

Wednesday 24 th

  • Video shooting in Secondary School continues throughout the day.
  • Online broadcast of footage begins at 10am . Video clips are repeated throughout day to allow heads to dip in and out throughout day
  • Online community active and accepting questions and comments
  • PM 3 visiting headteacher tour the school with host head and the tour is recorded and snippets broadcast. Possible use of live webcam of discussions on the tour
  • 4.30pm Live Online Broadcast of Panel discussion between vistting heads and host head with the theme of Fostering a Creative School

Follow up to event:

  • The head teachers of the secondary school and the primary school will co-host a Hotseat discussion in the NCSL in Dialogue Community focusing on the practicalities of Leadership of a Creative School .
  • Video material will be edited and posted in the community as a resource for future development
  • Community items will be posted to encourage the swapping of experience between those who have taken part in the event.
  • Mentoring possibilities will be explored between participating schools.

 

Organisation and Changes

The event ran more or less to plan but certain technical challenges were not overcome. The most notable of these was the inability of the LEA to clear the gateways through their systems to allow the internet broadcast from Claypool Primary School to take place. Due to this last minute hitch the broadcast had to be abandoned with the material being recorded and placed as a streaming internet broadcast after the event. The Live Panel Broadcast did take place from Blackrod and Rivington High School using an ISDN line that did not use the LEA systems.

All the video material pupil videos, school tours and panel discussions are now available for viewing from the Really Creative School Visit Event Page in NCSL in Dialogue in a streaming format which allows 24/7 viewing of the material by any NCSL member.

 

Outcomes:

  • The event allowed two creative schools to showcase their methods to others.
  • A valuable resource has been created for any school wishing to begin the journey to a more creative curriculum.
  • The pupils and staff of two schools have been trained in valuable video techniques which they plan to extend.
  • It has been illustrated that using readily available and relatively inexpensive computer and video equipment any school can showcase their practice and share it with others.
  • Young pupils can plan, make and edit interesting documentary style videos with a minimum of teacher input.
  • Another technique has been demonstrated which may be used with NCSL programmes eg Network Learning Communities and Local Network Communities to further their work

 

Lessons Learned:

  • It is difficult to interest busy schools in this type of experimental activity. Some thirty schools from the Ofsted report were contacted before the host schools were identified. In the end the host schools agreed because of the relationship build up with the facilitator in other activities.
  • The event demonstrated that the combination of video footage, curriculum development material and community software is a powerful one.
  • Timing of the event is crucial. Sadly with the changes in the software and the login problems being experienced by members hampered attendance at the event.
  • The event could have benefited from more advertising.
  • Streaming video, while currently prone to bandwidth issues, is a powerful addition to the techniques available to bring the work of schools into the online community in a real and graphic way.
  • LEAs require very substantial notice to prime Firewalls, and allow FTP access.

 

Recommendations:

  • The techniques developed being explored further during other events e.g. Ultraversity PR material, from zero to hero, an everyday Teaching Assistant's rise.
  • The possible links with Network Learning Communities attempts to have schools share practice be explored further.
  • Training for ELFs in these techniques should be considered.

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