One of the teachers in my daughter’s school was lucky enough to organise a Skype call with the astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield. She is currently completing her Masters and is researching the use of technology with her 2nd class students. They have been working on a cross curricular body of work centred around the topic of Space, the culmination of which was the Skype call with Chris. I was asked to come along on the day – thanks Leanne :)
1pm on the 9th of June was the appointed time and just before that I tweeted a picture of the girls waiting. When it was retweeted by the man himself I was more than a little chuffed :)
The next half an hour passed too quickly with the girls working in teams asking the questions they had already prepared. I loved their team names which included ‘Moon Stars’, ‘Space Buddies’ and ‘Sparkling Space Scientists’ among others. They asked fantastic questions too, ranging from Chris’s thoughts on lift-off through the availability of electricity in space, how they got rid of rubbish, his use of twitter and his preference for life on space vs earth. I loved the variety in the questions and the confident manner in which they were asked. But what I loved most about the call, was the thoughtful way in which Chris dealt with the girls. He was very careful to make sure he answered their questions thoroughly and to mention their team names throughout. I think there were a few starstruck adults (this one included!) in the room on the day not to mention the girls themselves.
The Excited Festival of Digital learning gave the Youth Media Team a chance to go on tour again. The Festival was held over the Friday and Saturday of the June bank holiday. We landed in Dublin Castle at 11am on the Friday with our gazebo in tow and promptly got caught up in the excitement that was Excited! The plan was that we would work with RTE Digital on the Friday, the most amazing opportunity for our red shirts! We had four of the Tipperary contingent and another four from St Wolstan’s in Celbridge in Kildare as part of the Friday team. St. Wolstan’s had set up a Radio TY group as part of their Transition Year programme based on the YMT so it was a fantastic opportunity to get both groups working together. While we got settled with RTE, our gazebo specialist with help from his son got to work constructing our home for the next few days :)The brief with RTE was to create a behind the scenes look at the students Dragon’s Den that was a feature of the day. We had to choose people for the various roles – producers, directors, presenters, camera assistant and editor. Once the team had sorted that out between themselves it was time to get to work.
Over the course of Friday night and Saturday, the team got on with their ‘day’ jobs of interviewing, blogging and tweeting. They interviewed Lord Puttnam, Marty Cooper (inventor of the mobile phone) and Dr. Rene Lydiksen (Managing Director of Lego Education Europe) among others.
We also got a chance to be part of the highlights from the Festival on both sides of the camera :)
All in all it was a great opportunity for the team to be involved in such a central way in the inaugural Excited Digital Learning Festival. You can check out their work from the event at ymt.fm.