November 26, 2005

Jenny Hammond Primary School Open Day (24/11/2005)

Thursday also saw Proboscis participate in another key partner's open day. We have been developing a Social Tapestries collaboration with a primary school in Waltham Forest (North East London). The school is going through a re-development phase, re-designing their building and embedding creativity into every aspect of school life an extremely inspirational and visionary approach. Once again our colleagues at Getmapping.com have provided us with a high resolution aerial photo of the school and its catchment area, which we were able to show to parents and students and to discuss the aims of integrating the public authoring approach with the school curriculum. The response both from parents and students was very favourable, with quite a few of the parents being particularly interested in how they could become involved. Getting this kind of investment from not just teachers and students but parents too is going to be critical in creating a programme that is not an extra burden on everyone, but deeply integrated into the everday life of the school.

Proboscis have been invited by the school to work with them on designing ways in which our vision of public authoring, knowledge mapping and sharing can be integrated into the everyday learning and teaching methods. This is based on the experimental programme we designed last year for Kingswood High School in Bransholme, Hull where students would map phenomena in their everyday environment to be used as material in each of their classes. For instance, students mapping and recording different dialects spoken in their family / community for an English language class would use the same data in their History class to explore the social history of their community, and in their Geography class to investigate social movement and change. The same data might also be used in a Maths class to look at pattern and distibution theories.

Our initial collaboration with the school has been through environmental sound mapping workshops with artist Loren Chasse, a sound artist and educator from San Francisco, with whom we have been collaborating on Sound Scavenging. During the summer we ran a week-long workshop with students from Year 5 to investigate and capture sounds in their environment. A second workshop next month will focus on mapping their recordings and exploring the relationships to people, places and things which these suggest. This kind of associative learning is intended to make the process of learning and sharing itself proximate and directly relevant to student's life and the places they live, work and play in. Our vision is to investigate how we might use public authoring to increase the sense of ownership students have in the learning process using phenomena in their own world that they have collected and generated (and 'own') instead of always having to revert to examples in text books. By siting the place of learning within their own everyday experience and enviornment we hope to make it more tangible, especially for students in areas of deprivation and lack of opportunity where school and learning might seem remote and irrelevant.

Posted by Giles Lane at November 26, 2005 01:44 PM