I’ve had another cracking day today!

I’ve been at the Salford TEN Centre again, this time supporting Derek (RM) as he delivered a ‘Control’ session to a group of year 4/5s (8-9 years old?). He started by talking about the sort of things which are ‘controlled’ in everyday life. The kids were great and came up with all sorts of ideas. They were then introduced to the kit we were going to play with. Well – not so much ‘play’ as ‘construct’.

The morning’s task was to follow pictorial instructions and to construct a crocodile.

The crocodile was then controlled by means of some software which they programmed by dragging and dropping ‘start motor’, ‘hold motor’, ‘reverse motor’, ‘add sound’ etc. controls onto the desktop. The crocodile then opened and closed its mouth as a sensor told it to.

After dinner, they were given a choice of about ten other models they could build and were set free! It was an absolute blast. Between them, they made each possible model.

This time instead of following printed instructions, they followed instructions online. Although many of the young learners still sought assistance, they did so less often than they did in the morning. Whilst I realise that they were inexperienced in the morning, they were also less reluctant to go back through the online instructions to check their progress than they were with the paper ones. They felt much freer using online instructions than they did using paper ones. A lesson for us?

They made all sorts of things, birds, monkeys, goalies, cranes, spinners – all sorts. Fabulous.

Chroma key

For the first time in ages, I have had a very busy week.

On Monday, I made the first of my three visits to Blackburn College (see and returned there again on Wednesday and Friday. Both of these later workshops had the same content at the first and were received in a similarly positive manner. Congratulations then to LSIS for releasing the money for this type of bid, aimed at releasing staff for essential training, and similar congratulations to Blackburn College for securing the well-worded bid. Every one that attended a workshop took something away with them; most took an awful lot more than ‘one’.

There are just two further workshops to deliver in Blackburn now (a full day and a ‘twilight’).

As a complete change on Thursday, I was invited to the Salford TEN Centre to work with RM. A group of year five learners were coming in from a local school and I’d been asked to help facilitate the daylong session.

I’ve worked with RM before, both alongside them at a secondary school in Salford and for them at a couple of others. This was the first time I’d been asked to work in their Salford HQ – The TEN Centre. And, it was the first time I’ve worked with learners of this age. It was great.

They were in the centre for a ‘creative’ day and were to undertake all stages of creating a DVD! They had to storyboard their film, act in it, partake in the shooting and direction of the film (using chroma key techniques) and finally edit it. And they did brilliantly. It was really cool to listen to their ideas, to witness their energy and excitement and to work with them on this project.

I hope I can do it again.