I had plans for Day Two.. However, just like the previous day they went out the window the moment I arrived! Miss Dawes grabbed me and we spent the entire morning with two groups of year 3 and 4 children exploring the structure of the website. Agile it was! Thankfully – one of my planned exercises for day one which didn’t happen was put to use. Simultaneously we managed to deconstruct the current version of the school website by viewing it on the interactive whiteboard in the classroom and then looking at physical print outs which I’d laid out on the floor.
I explained how the pages were linked together by stickng masking tape between some of the pages on the floor.. This seemed to work quite well as we simultaneously looked at the navigation on the whiteboard. The learning I was seeking to convey was about user journeys through a website to reach a destination. So performing tasks through a series of logical clicks. We explored the workings of the sections “School Information” and “Curriculum”. The language used – curriculum, for example proved to be quite challenging to the children. So we discussed this and agreed on Learning. This in itself is a useful, vital process for information architects – nomenclature or naming, so I was glad that this naturally emerged.
After some initial work together as a large group, Miss Dawes picked a small group to work with me on deconstructing further sections of the website. We spent some time working through the Curriculum section, establishing what subjects and topics each year group were learning about. We also captured some video – the pupils filmed each other discussing recent topics. The group enjoyed recording video, so we played roles of interviewer, cameraperson and interviewees to discuss after-school clubs too – it was great! Given that lots of children attend SMART clubs and Jumping Jacks, I thought this matieral as audio would be useful for other children and parents.
Miss Dawes meanwhile was busy working with a large group devising a tree diagram (or site schematic!) with the children. This was great and introduced the idea of prioritising information using colours to denote sections and a hierarchy of importance. I was delighted to see such progress.. The children also generated lots of ideas which were captured – from games they enjoy playing to features which they’d like to see on the website.. These all need reviewing on day three.
In the afternoon I made progress with getting a basic templating structure in place and creating the necessary accounts for the team to publish to and from. My simple publishing workflow will hopefully be robust enough with the help of email as a publishing tool, RSS in order to pull the articles back into the templates created.
We had a great meeting with Janet the Creative Partnerships coordinator at the end of the day to discuss the progress of all the projects in progress – I’ve barely mentioned the Faraway Tree sculpture, the music project to create a school song and the photography all in progress simultaneously.. What I’ve learned so far is that I’m relearning much of what I learned about web publishing 15 years ago – but in a context now where most of the tools exist and are free and can be put to use with very little effort. I’m also really enjoying working the teachers, the other creatives and especially the children who have made me so welcome.