Rotherham CLC video conferences with the Local Authority schools
A joint venture between Rotherham CLC and YorkshireVC
The project is the CLC video conferencing into it’s local schools or it’s second CLC, on a series of topics selected by the participating school. Each session is customised to fit into the schools current teaching theme or project. The project has been running over the last 15 months and is working to expand across other local authorities. It runs session for all the primary key stages FS to Y6.
A sample list of sessions and objectives run over the last few months:
- Professor Parchments, from a school not unlike Hogwarts – Literacy – The use of descriptive language and rhymes.
- Lycos, a Hoplite warrior – Historical – Children’s life in greek times.
- Conservation – Literacy – Persuasive Language – An oceanographer leads the debate about saving dolphins or sea turtles.
- An alien – Literacy – Fantasy worlds and Alien species.
- Juliet’s nurse from Romeo and Juliet – Historical Literacy – Shakespeare/life during Elizabethan times.
- The inn keeper from the nativity story – RE – Life in biblical times.
- Mr and Mrs Claus – Speaking and Listening – History of Christmas
- Olivia Weston from the book ‘Trash’ – English literacy – Exploring events after the end of a book.
- Pandora – Literacy – Greek gods, myths and legends.
- Volcanologist – Science – Earth and volcanos.
The video conference is delivered from the Rawmarsh CLC, using the green screen studio and broadcast quality tri-caster chromakey system which is connected to a Polycom endpoint and recently an Aver EVL300 system which has been under evaluation. The use of the green screen studio makes it possible to re-locate the expert to a location which would normally be unavailable, historical or fictitious. The set uses both green screen and physical props.
Inter-school connections are through v-scene either to a loaned endpoint or v-scene desktop.
The session planning
A few weeks before the session discussions are held with the class teacher enabling the day to be planned around the school’s current theme or project. Both the virtual and practical sessions are linked to flow into each other. Technical testing is carried out if the link is into the school.
On the day of the VC
Children have an initial VC with the expert who gives an overview of their life or a particular event. The overview may be a short story, demonstration or general chat. The children then interview the expert to gain further information or just ask general questions. The school may choose to have their children think about and document their questions prior to the session. The first session VC is then closed.
As an example Y4 children came up with this list in class prior to their day, a great help to the geography teacher who was the volcano expert.
- Is the volcano in Italy active?
- Are volcanoes always in tropical places?
- When volcanoes are dormant do they still have lava in them?
- How are volcanoes formed?
- Where can you find volcanoes?
- What causes a volcano to erupt?
- Have dormant volcanoes ever returned to being active?
- How is magma formed?
- How many volcanoes have erupted?
- How far can lava reach?
- Where does lava come from?
- How long have volcanoes been around?
- How hot is lava?
- How many years is it until a volcano is classes as being dormant?
Children then disperse around the CLC/school guided by CLC staff and class teachers to produce a series of task, maybe a piece of written work, a video, piece of research or some form of media.
After lunch the children then re-connect over VC and present their findings/resources to the expert who may then question the children further on their findings, any electronic resources would be emailed through to the expert to discuss with or show the children.
At the end of each session a task is videoed and presented by the “expert” for the class to continue with when back in school.
Each session lasts a day for the children.
Much technical work has been carried out by the team at the CLC and YorkshireVC to enable the connection between the tri-caster and VC endpoint providing the HD quality green screen, a connection for 2nd video streaming and the connection of iPads for splash screens and presentations.
Some of the problems to overcome was the audio sync and return video from the school as well as the usual firewall and routing issues.
Prior the project starting all staff attended a training /development day to familiarise themselves with the project and technology.
A video montage of the sessions to date can be seen here: http://yorkshirevc.co.uk/case-studies/rotherham-clc/scene-it/
What the teachers say:
I just wanted to say a huge thank you to yourself and all the staff at the CLC for today. All the children and staff from Rosehill were thoroughly pleased with the activities during the day and it’s clear that you provided a rich and engaging learning experience. We’ve already started discussing how we could make more use of such events and would certainly hope to do something similar next year. Thanks once again.
Iain McJannet -Rosehill Juniors, Rotherham
And from another Rotherham teacher:
The overall experience was fantastic! The children loved the day and came back to school filled with enthusiasm.
I have recommended the learning experience that you provided to other members of staff at school and would love to come back. Thank you for a fantastic day!