Mediascape: exploring personal geographies at KS2 & 3 through virtual fieldwork
Age Group: Year 7 (to be developed as a transition project with Y6)
Selection of Content: I chose to write up this work as it is a fantastic opportunity to develop the use of ICT either in a cross-phase project or in KS2/KS3 separately. It makes use of some hi tech equipment and the students get the chance to express their personal geographies in a safe secure environment without having to leave the school grounds.
The real beauty of this project is that it will complement real fieldwork by allowing students to actually do a local study in their area without leaving the premises. Of course, part of the fun is going out from school, but when you see the students out on the field experiencing their mediascapes of the local area it’s almost as good as actually going there!
Each project is also transferable so technically they could be recalibrated to be used in any location in the world!
Teaching & Learning Activities
Aim: To create a unique and personalised interactive piece of fieldwork (mediascape) on the school grounds using digital equipment (digital video camera, digital camera, music, sound files, text based material and mediascape software).
View the PowerPoint below to discover the activities the students took part in.
Lesson 1 – Identifying students’ homes and routes to school by use of maps and/or aerial photography
Lesson 2 – Developing numeracy of route planning to demonstrate environmental impact of our actions individually and collectively
Analysis and Evaluation
A series of questions was put to students about their confidence and feelings about Geography and ICT using a simple scale of 1 to 6. The data was collated using Promethean interactive voting pads. The data was averaged out to show each students’ confidence/belief and self perception of their ability in Geography/ICT for all questions. All students showed a significant increase in their scores from the beginning of the unit to the end.
This project work was extremely successful given the technology harnessed and the tendency for technology to often falter at critical moments! The students were fully engaged in identifying where they live using aerial photography as well as other areas in and around their locality which made them feel safe or unsafe, or invoked good or bad memories. The massive bonus for all considered was not having to leave the school premises. Of course I would normally be encouraging this, but to have an option of doing the virtual tour on the school grounds is a huge help.
The main learning outcomes aside from the ICT and mapwork skills was to engage students in thinking about their local environment in a personal way which is unique to them and comparing this to their peers. It also helped the students identify areas that felt unsafe or unattractive and what could be done to improve them.
The next time I do this I will take the students out to have a go at experiencing a pre-prepared mediascape first so they are clear on exactly what the desired outcome is to be. I would also get them to draw and plan their mediascape on paper first to make it easier to create the digital version.
The information given about the project should stimulate a plethora of ways to develop this work. One way of moving the project forward would be to make a virtual tour of the human and physical geography of a selected country using a map of the country and the students’ mediascapes on their PDAs. The only limit to this work is the imagination of the teachers and students who want to undertake it.
Background information about the school
The school is a new secondary school in Bradley Stoke in south Gloucestershire on the northern edge of Bristol. We are expanding year on year and are about to embark on KS4 courses. We currently have three year groups with approximately 600 students. This should go up to about 1000 when we are full and we should also have a sixth form centre built ready for our first cohort to use in 2011.
This material was contributed by Tony Battista.
(Added 30.09.08, Updated 27.11.08)