Digital big melt: News from Winterhill

I have just come back from my visit to Winterhill school in Rotherham and I am very impressed with their progress on the case study where teachers and students are producing OERs for Magna Science Adventure Centre and are exploring the use of  QR codes in that context. The work on resources is in full swing and there are some great examples of incorporating OER creation within the curriculum, with students and teachers bouncing off creative ideas and working collaboratively. I first had a chance to talk to Chris, an art teacher who is working with year 9 and year 10 students exploring the creative potential of OERs. As part of their BTEC Diploma in Art and Design, year 10 students have visited Magna and took some photographs in the water and fire pavilions, drew field sketches and on that basis are now creating artwork which is informed by futurist paintings. As the teacher emphasised, what the pupils really appreciate about the project is that they are involved in a real brief for Magna and working on resources that will hopefully resonate with the future visitors and enhance the exhibits. At the same time, this case study is a great example of incorporating OERs within the curriculum and fostering collaboration between the students since in true spirit of re-use and repurposing, year 9 students are Photoshopping the pictures taken by year 10 class to create slideshows accompanied by soundscapes representing an industrial theme (see picture above for a sneak preview!). Even better, the soundscapes are created with freesound, a collaborative database of Creative Commons Licensed sounds.

I then had a chance to talk to year 8 English students who shared with me the poems and the short impressionistic writing they have created on the basis of their visit to Magna and also told me about the plans to interview a steelworker to create additional resources for the project. I was quite impressed about the range of creative ideas them kept bringing up as to how they could enhance the content, I must admit I sorely regretted not being able to record that conversation but I am hoping to go back shortly and to continue talking to the students and the teachers. Hopefully the students will also accept the invitation to share their perspective on the project through this blog and tell the readers a bit more about their fascinating work.

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