Wednesday 31 August 2016

Students bring migration stories to life

Roots & Wings: migration stories in your community

This summer, we had the pleasure of being invited along to a local school’s showcase of students’ work all about migration. This was a celebration of the hard work put in by the year 7 children (age 11-12), as part of a project called ‘Roots & Wings’. Not only was it a celebration of their hard work, but also their parents and extended family and friends. There has been a vast amount of time and effort put into sourcing real stories of migration, and bringing those stories to life.

Another great piece of work
A fantastic model built by the students
This is part of a research project led by Vidya Sarangapani @saarangv, a researcher from Newcastle University’s Open Lab @OpenLab_Ncl (School of Computing Science and School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences). Vidya has been exploring how mobile devices could be used by students to develop learning resources through community collaboration.

Ahmed with two of the students at the Roots & Wings launch
The students worked independently for two terms on the topic of migration within their humanities subject areas (History, Geography and R.E.) They also worked with classmates, community members, parents, grandparents, relatives and friends to collect stories on migration. They then transformed these stories in various ways and their creativity shone through. Some examples of the brilliant work they produced are:
  • artefacts.
  • video interviews.
  • research into political manifesto on immigration policies.
  • news shows.
  • models to hold migration stories, immigration houses and exciting board games.
Exploring a Thinking Kit migration activity made by students
They were also tasked with developing a mystery/story activity through our web-based tool, Thinking Kit ( To do this, they took one of their stories, researched ways of presenting it in an iPad activity format and sourced images/compiled snippets of information to add to the online creator. Once they were finished, they were given a short code. They - and those who would use the activity to learn about the stories - then downloaded the free Thinking Kit App, entered the code and downloaded the task. These will help users “develop knowledge and understanding on topics related to migration and its impact on a community.”
A couple of examples of the activities created:

Task 1 in action
Example task 1

Main question: ‘Where did Anna move and why?’

Students told a story through their cards, whilst also weaving in facts they'd sourced and images which complemented the text. There was also a map included to provide geographical context!

Task 2 in action
Example task 2

Main question: ‘Why did Matt migrate to the UK?

This task used a brilliant background and had a narrative thread to engage users in Matt's story. They also sourced images that provided a visual representation of what they wanted their users to understand.

This project is part of the Digital Civics research on “working with individuals and communities to understand the impact of digital technologies in their everyday life.” The first phase of that project culminated on this open day.

The Thinking Kit App is always free. For a free trial of the Thinking Kit Creator, please go to


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