I'd travelled down the night before from a course that I was running in Birmingham, so it was a long day, and I got to my hotel quite late. I was in what the hotel described as a 'soundproof room', although the large gap under the door, the thin walls and 'energetic clientele' meant that I questioned the validity of the description. Slept surprisingly well for all that, and the following morning took a blustery walk through the edges of the city and into Gunwharf Quays, following a route that I'd walked before on a previous visit to work with students at Priory Geography. I entered the Historic Dockyards, home to the Mary Rose and other nautical treasures... and made my way to the venue.
The event was organised by members of the Geography department at Priory School in Portsmouth, particularly Jo Debens.
The event brought together around 50 students from a number of local schools, and was hosted on the gun deck of HMS Warrior in Portsmouth harbour. This provided a few 'issues' in terms of access to 3G or WiFi, but also an inspirational setting. We were surrounded by cannons, and ropes, and the students had tables suspended from the ceiling, and surrounded by barrels, hammocks and more cannons... We were cocooned in one hundred and fifty years of history.
The weather was not the best... drizzling with rain and very cold, but fortunately I had plenty to keep me warm, running round checking on all the groups as they were working. The day was quite 'unstructured', which was good in some ways as there was a lot of 'discovery learning' going on from all concerned, including me.
Students arrived just after 9, and we got settled into the cable deck. We were a little cramped, but we had some chairs and cushions.
I spent about 40 minutes setting up the day. We had an introduction from the Education manager of the ship, and I then explained what the curriculum was, and who was responsible for deciding what it contained. We discussed the absence of student voice in the process of curriculum making, and also what was meant by co-creation. I talked about the work of Mission:Explore, and in particular the need to explore new approaches, new topics and look for relevance and challenge.
We also had an input from Robbie and Jonathan, two of Priory School's Digital Leaders. Robbie was very clear about how the Digital Leaders supported members of staff, and was very helpful during the day.
The students were then given an iPad and a range of pens and paper and some space to discuss what they wanted to achieve. I used the ideas funnel idea which was originally shown to me by Jamie Buchanan Dunlop, and later made its way into my Badger GCSE Book. This helped them to decide on a key idea that they would spend some time developing further.
After an hour's work, it was time for a break. At the morning coffee break, I headed over to Action Stations, where Jo Debens was co-ordinating some work for BBC School Report. There was lots of activity and I grabbed a coffee before heading back to the ship. It was good to meet up with several Twitter contacts on the day, who I'd not met face to face before.
I also had great support from Jonathan Parrott, the current PGCE colleague at Priory School, who was very helpful. There were also several Priory students videoing the sessions and discussions on the day, and I was also interviewed by Amelia and her friend, as were all the teachers. We also had a flying visit from David Rogers.
We then went back and did another hour before coming together to hear about the ideas that the students had put together. The students were real stars, and they came up with 9 specific ideas for developing curriculum resources, which they presented.
Some of them were excellent, all of them were interesting. They are apparently going to be developed a little more back in school. Some students used the iPads for display, others for prompts for their presentations.
Here's my original tweets of the ideas:
- #kidsmeet idea 9 creating the 'Applas' - the app atlas - 'think find learn'... Mar 21, 2013
- #kidsmeet idea 8 the wonderful world we live in - accentuating the positives of geography.... Food geographies... Mar 21, 2013
- #kidsmeet idea 7 poverty in the uk - its not just overseas - defining poverty and linking it to students' lives Mar 21, 2013
- #kidsmeet idea 6 using time based curriculum - iPads etc - new topics on climate change - topicality - more fieldwork - linking subjects Mar 21, 2013
- #kidsmeet 5 - game-ography - technology Minecraft - climate and biomes - FIFA and tracking players - F1 visiting tracks Mar 21, 2013
- #kidsmeet idea 4 - climate change - app - clicking on map and identifying characteristics - pen pals and global stories - Google Earth Mar 21, 2013
- #kidsmeet idea 3 Iconic places - skyping people in other countries & app development - virtual visits - idea of place Mar 21, 2013
- #kidsmeet idea 2 Health Mar 21, 2013
- #kidsmeet idea 1 USA - law & politics and modern warfare
I'll follow up with a little more detail on these ideas when I get a moment in a future blogpost...
Shortly after one o' clock, we rounded off with thank-yous to those who had helped, and I was then off to run for a train back to Norfolk.
This was yet another excellent event conceived and organised by Priory Geography. If Carlsberg made Geography departments....