Dispatches from Camp Cardboard

This is a very busy week in the life of the project – we’re busily collecting data for the school and PGCE case studies, meeting with the teachers, presenting at the Higher Education Research and Scholarship Group conference at Sheffield Hallam University… We even managed to squeeze in a stint at Sheffield Children’s Festival and had some close encounters with cardboard boxes at Bradfield Dungworth Primary on Monday, where year 4 and year 5 children acted as digital reporters for the day. They were reporting on the involvement of the school with Camp Cardboard – a day of activities arranged by Timm and Sam Cleasby from Responsible Fishing, where throughout the day, the school children used cardboard boxes to create elaborate structures (tunnels, bridges, marble houses…) and learn about communication, teamwork and sustainability. The digital reporters were there with their trustworthy iPads to take photographs and notes, which were later converted into blog posts and can be admired in their entirety on cardboardbds.wordpress.com; the YouTube video created from a combination of time-lapse photography and the photographs taken by the digital reporters also offers a brilliant summary of the day:

That said, I couldn’t help but wonder about the kinds of images the children have chosen to share with the world – the Instagram Gallery shows picture after picture of stacks of boxes and the different shapes they took on throughout the day and occasionally the viewer gets either a view of a group of children sitting down, photographed in a way that only shows their backs or sometimes an individual child with their face blurred out of focus, using special effects on Instagram. I missed seeing photographs that would capture the enthusiasm and the joy of the builders of the camp, who were excitedly jumping up and down and lugging around boxes with a big grin on their faces. This was part of the story we were not able to see because of e-safety – it was easier to adopt a uniform “no face” policy rather than try and cross-check the photographs taken by the children with permissions letters offered by the parents. There were a couple of other interesting teaching moments which brought home to us how complex and oftentimes messy the issue of e-safety can be. On behalf of the project, we invited other teachers to comment on the blog as it evolved throughout the day and suddenly Chris, the teacher at Bradfield, found himself answering some tough questions about why we were encouraging the kids to respond to strangers’ comments on the internet, which was in clear violation of the “no talking to strangers rule”. We continued that conversation at the meeting of DeFT teachers which conveniently took place on the following day; turns out that the kids are very good at communicating the “party line” to the teachers but will still be kids and get Facebook accounts well before they turn thirteen…

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3 thoughts on “Dispatches from Camp Cardboard

  1. Pingback: Digital Bloom at Sheffield Winter Gardens, 9-13 July | DeFT project: Digital Futures in Teacher Education

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