Project offers pupils ‘window’ into other classrooms

Issued by University of Aberdeen

Pupils from Aberdeen city, Aberdeenshire and Highland Council areas will come together to take part in a treasure ‘hunt’ today (Thursday September 3) – without leaving their classrooms.

The interactive game marks the end of a two-year project run in conjunction with the three councils and the University of Aberdeen exploring how technology in classrooms can be used to share specialist resources more effectively.

It has seen pupils in Inverness share a Gaelic lesson with their counterparts in Aberdeen, while they learned Mandarin in return.

Other highlights shared between the schools included a visit from author Grace Banks and the ‘language lion’, a cuddly toy travelling around the three authorities to learn new languages and pass on what he has learned.

A total of six primary schools and two secondary schools took part in the scheme known as TePL (Technology Enhanced Professional Learning), which was funded by a grant from the Scottish Government.

The primaries were Danestone, Middleton Park in Aberdeen city, Clerkhill in Peterhead and Dunnottar Primary in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire and Bun-sgoil Ghaidhlig Inbhir Nis and Lochyside, Fort William in Highland together with Turriff and Millburn Academies.

Ruth Mackenzie, TePL Development Officer with Aberdeenshire Council said the project aimed to break down geographical barriers between classrooms.

“The geography of north-east Scotland means that schools from within the same or neighbouring counties can be several hours apart.  Through this project we wanted to ‘reduce’ that distance using technology to provide a ‘window’ into someone else’s classroom. It has proved to be very successful with good feedback from the schools taking part with pupils benefitting from highly specialised teaching such as Mandarin or Gaelic without having to leave their own classroom. The schools and pupils have made connections which will continue in the future.”

Gordon Rae, TePL Development Officer, Aberdeen City Council, added: “Through the project we were able to provide interactive whiteboards, high definition cameras and roaming microphones in classrooms of the schools taking part.

“Today they will make use of this technology to come together for a project finale which will see the primary schools join forces to solve clues in a treasure hunt.

Holly Ross, TePL Development Officer, Highland Council added: “Each school will be given a set of clues bringing in skills from across the curriculum. They will be required to work as one team to solve a set of clues which will enable them to unlock ‘treasure chests’ provided in each of their classrooms.

“We wanted to do something with pupils to mark the formal end of the project but now they have the technology in place the schools will continue to make use of shared specialist resources such as language learning or special visits.

“Many of the linked sessions have also been recorded and will be used by teachers for their own professional development and by trainee teachers at the University of Aberdeen.”

The schools taking part in the treasure hunt are Danestone, Middleton Park, Clerkhill, Bun-sgoil Ghaidhlig Inbhir Nis and Lochyside

3 Sep 2015
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