Thursday, 19 November 2015

Taking a mystery from India to England and back again

We haven’t had a blog post like this before but it’s something that was lovely to see at the time, and still is. Our very first blog post on Thinking Collaboration was actually about this day, but Ahmed focused more on one of the key takeaways from the day: How to make students’ collaborative strengths and weaknesses visible, and why.

It was a day that Digital Mysteries was used in academic research with Newcastle University (Ahmed is a researcher there). This time, it enabled students age 9-10 from Shanklea Primary School in Cramlington, Northumberland, in the North East of England to learn more about students in India, and vice versa.

This was a time before we had Digital Mysteries iPad apps too, so it was all through the Windows version. The teacher, Mrs Harris, had never used the software before and neither had the students, but after a quick ‘how to’, they were ready to go…

Students were asked to:

CREATE a mystery (a task involving lots of scalable, movable slips of information and/or images) about life at Shanklea Primary School, and what it’s like to live in England

BECAUSE children in India were to ‘solve’ it later that week. They learned all about school and life in England, via the students' creations

AND the children in India had created a mystery on THEIR school and life in India, which the Shanklea class ‘solved’

This opened up two different perspectives for the children and was a real learning curve. They had to summarise information about themselves, their school and their area and think about what would be most important/interesting/engaging for the children in India to learn about. Then, they also learned from the other point of view – ‘the learner’ rather than ‘the creator’ when they used the mystery made for them. It was brilliant to watch as the students thought about what they should include, then even better to hear their reactions when interacting with those in India.

Mrs Harris and her class created a blog post on the project, which has some great pictures of the students using the software, things they drew specifically to include in their tasks and a selection of comments from the students on what they thought.

We’ve included a few screenshots of quotes from some students on their class blog here:

Our pre-made Digital Mysteries are available on the App Store now. A selection are completely free.

Coming soon: A new tool to create similar activities for iPads, the Thinking Kit. If you’d like to be one of the first to get a free one month trial for the creator side (app will be free), email with ‘Shanklea TK’ as your subject.

Digital Mysteries for Windows has a free one month trial. Download now.
Thanks, Natalie

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