Guest blog post from Steve James from Kent County Council. Originally posted on the UK Schools Blog.
The 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster was a great opportunity to create some learning experiences. The H2L team in Kent had the ideas and the material and had previously used Flashmeeting to deliver their content. They had already heard of the Lync and Learn sessions that had been introduced by EiS and this was an ideal opportunity for them to try out Lync for themselves.
EiS are a self-funded business unit which is part of the Kent County Council local authority and have provided a Microsoft Learning Gateway to Kent Schools for about four years. Lync and Learn sessions have recently been introduced by EiS to provide a range of 30 minute training sessions at the end of the school day for technicians and teachers.
The consultants put together a programme of Lync sessions which were then advertised to Kent schools to participate in. Teachers from the schools were given a training session and lesson resources to support the Lync sessions.
Over the course of several days, 15 Lync sessions were held involving 425 pupils. The consultants played the parts of key characters from the Titanic, the captain and survivor Molly Brown for example. Pupils were then able to ask questions of the characters, bringing the experience right into the classroom. Feedback from the sessions was excellent;
"I preferred the video conference to reading a book because I like being able to ask questions and get an instant response.”
Year 6 pupil Slade Primary School
“The video conferencing really worked well too, some of them wrote copious notes and it really helped them get into what we were doing. I think it helped them get a sense of the fact this was a real, human tragedy, and how one event can have so many different perspectives when looked back upon”
Mr.Peters Sellindge Primary School
Following the success of the Titanic exercise, other similar activities are now being planned using Lync to deliver a further element to classroom learning by introducing characters from time into the classroom. Content for Pirates and Smugglers, Charles Dickens and Guy Fawkes are being pulled together.
Storytelling via Lync has also been successfully trialled reading ‘Room on the Broom’ to an entire Infant school of 290 pupils! Further story time sessions are also being planned into the diary, reading further stories to meet schools needs for men reading to pupils.
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