On arrival I had a lovely time listening to the Eccleston George band play for the children in assembly. Hearing Spike’s voice and semi-acoustic guitar was a real tonic after a long journey from Brighton by train.
I managed to grab some time with teaching assistants, Julie Callen and Susanne Bochel who were very keen to help. They informed of Mr Keen’s current ICT role and also of the production of newsletters for the Upper and Lower Phases of the school, forthnightly and Mrs Arnett-Steele’s weekly production of the newsletter St Mark’s Magic. It also transpired that there are pupil representatives acting as newsgatherers in each class.
Keeping it up to date has been the problem and so updates via email or text message were found to be within everyone’s comfort zone. Susanne has experience of using a web-based publishing environment so we can look to take advantage of that down the line.
So with that information I had enough to go on to consider how we might go about defining the first release of the website.After meeting Anne on monday I spent some time with the year 3 and 4 classes – asking them what they new about the internet generally. This elicited some useful insights and taught me a lot about their interests, uses and ideas about what purposes the school website should serve. My motive is to encourage all the staff and children to express themselves online. We’re all free to publish and share. My specific aim in the 15 minute sessions with the six classes was to engender in the children a sense that they can all add something to the school website.
I explained and played on the metaphor of the website itself representing a tree with different sections representing branches and leaves representing different pages. The teachers seemed relatively happy with this base explanation and the children naturally took this quite literally. I gave the classes some exercises – Miss Blightman’s were tasked with considering how they might Welcome visitors through the website – particularly those from other countries.
Others were tasked with capturing pictures with photos or telling stories in order to feed the blog which will serve to document the week’s activity.
I spent some time with Mr Keen, showing him some publishing tools and getting him excited about the simplicity of the agile approach I was working with. He was very engaged and gave me a great deal of inspiration.
So at the end of day one – I’d got the basis of a team of adults, probably to be led by Mr Keen – supported by a news gathering team (Miss Blightman, Mr Beare) and an information support team (Ms Callan/Ms Bochel) and lots of enthusiastic children! I also learned a lot about the school’s extra-curricula activity and ideas about the types of information – dynamic and static were starting to form in my mind.
We also generated lots of pictures from Miss Blightman’s class – of homepage welcome images which were fantastic. I’d also got to know meet the children and get to ask them questions, understand a little bit more about them too and gauge a little bit of what the school meant to them which would help to unpack the identity challenge down the line.