Children as
creative producers

Creativity raising achievement

Parental
involvement

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Home >> Case Studies >> Straits School - Part 2

Fozzy with basketStraits "Starters to Stars" Part 2

The Straits Primary School began using edujam in the last week of the autumn term and then continued to extend the opportunity to the rest of Year 5 during the Spring term. Straits School has some very creative practitioners and it has been great to see the number of pupils taking part grow from 0 to 6 and then to 60, in what is only a very short space of time.

Jam Star StickerThe work includes, poems about planets, groups of children singing World War 2 songs, response letters to Anne Frank, pupils’ own compositions played on instruments they have made themselves, in fact all manner of creative and original outputs from the children. All of which has helped to deepen learning as a natural part of the curriculum and build confidence as part of a vibrant creative community. In a period of less than eight weeks the children have produced some fifty digital, original masterpieces. All of these were assessed and approved by their class teachers and then launched by the pupils onto their own school stage.

“The concept is wonderful and should be applauded”, says Adrian Slack the Headteacher, “The children love it and that in itself obviously is a big draw….”

By putting his pupils at the centre of their own creative stage, Adrian has seen real ownership, motivation and creative energy from his Year 5. The Straits School are seeing edujam as a powerful catalyst to creativity in the classroom and it is effective because the children drive it, i.e. it is not just another tool for teachers to shoehorn into an already packed curriculum.

A moon poem by Jadie, one of the first Jam Stars in science

A moon poem by Jadie, one of the first Jam Stars in science.

Parental Involvement

The web statistics show that as well as lunch periods, the site gets a lot of use between 4pm and 8pm and so it is good to see evidence of pupils enjoying sharing their creativity with their parents, logging in at home and freely reviewing each others Jams.

Online Citizenship

'You need to give children responsibility for them to act responsibly', is the advice from Andy Preston, co-founder of edujam.

What edujam offers alongside each Jam is peer review, a taste of online citizenship at a very early age in a totally secure environment for children to learn how to cope with this new phenomenon in a responsible manner. They learn how to operate, how to respond to each other in a socially responsible way and also how powerful and motivating the exposure to an audience can be and how to deal with that. It's a great tool for formative assessment as well.

Lesson plans for KS1 and KS2 citizenship have been developed and are included as part of a dynamic staff room. In this area teachers can find existing resources and support materials linked to the curriculum, as well as share their own ideas for creative practice. We also cover peer review and online citizenship as part of the “Creative Community Kick Start” service. It offers a real-life opportunity to develop good online citizenship in their safety of their own classroom and with the teachers having the controls and tools they need to do this.

Adrian Slack recognises that “these things take a time to embed”. At a recent inset day on ICT, “Edujam had a slot and was promoted, highlighted and recommended to all staff. They liked the idea as you would expect from a creative bunch of practitioners.”

Ease of use

The edujam roving reporter kits have allowed staff and pupils to capture images and sounds with ease and the professional quality audio mics mean that voices and instruments are superbly replicated. “The shure mics have performed well and the kits are in constant use”, said Natasha Green, Class Teacher.

Adrian Slack says  “The importance of the effectiveness of ICT in today's climate is that it has to be as intuitive and transparent as switching on…. To meet these needs the portable kits really do switch on and go and so even the teachers are managing to stay ahead of the game using them.”   “I am still currently using the roving reporter mics which are working brilliantly”, says Natasha.

This highlights the benefits of portable devices which don’t need the pupil to wait for an operating system to load and configure before they can use them. The quality, ease and convenience of the portable kits are one of the main reasons the pupils have made so much progress as well as the confidence they have given to the staff.

One piece of feedback highlighted the need for open file formats for use with common media players,  “It was unfortunate that some of the jams did not work when they were showcased on some computers”, said Adrian. All Jams are stored as open format files so they will work on the maximum range of browsers including the latest versions of Internet Explorer, Windows media player, and Quicktime.

Learning platforms

Now that primary schools are beginning to look at learning platforms, the distinction between teacher centric and pupil centric is becoming increasingly clear. Those that simply automate current administrative practices could well be difficult to embed and too unwieldy for primary schools.

There is real pressure on schools to meet the new requirements, where, by 2008, pupils in every school should have access to an online personalised learning space that has the potential to support e-portfolios.

The experience of the Straits School shows that putting pupils at the centre and giving them their own creative stage, has engaged and extended learning. Furthermore, it meets the government requirements and offers a new way for a community to enjoy creative energy reverberating around the school and at home.

Increasingly educators are looking at the ways that creative energy can be co-opted to help educate and raise attainment; Straits ‘Starters to Stars’ are leading the way.

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