5th meeting of our project: The Whitby High School, Great Britain
Saturday 4th June
The UK hosted the final exchange of the Social Media project, concluding two years of collaborative European working. Saturday saw the arrival of our partner schools from Germany, Czech Republic, Holland and Spain. Students from the Whitby High School, along with their parents, met their student/s at either Manchester or Liverpool airport. Once collected, our hosts made their partners feel welcome in their homes. After a long day of travelling for many, this was the perfect opportunity to have a restful evening.
Sunday 5th June
Sunday was a day designed for the host family to spend time and do activities with their partner. The majority of students travelled into a nearby city such as Liverpool, Manchester and Chester. We had some students who travelled a little further into Wales and we had other students who stayed locally and went shopping on Cheshire Oaks which is a retail outlet. The teachers spent the day in Liverpool, where there was a major water event taking place in the Albert Dock. The teachers even visited the Beatles museum and spent time looking around the other museums and cathedrals the Liverpool has to offer.
Monday 6th June
Starting school at 9am we gathered in the school cafe. Here we had a welcome meeting with our head teacher, who welcomed all the European students and staff. Students from our school then gave their partners a tour of school and we met back up to start the first activity. This was designed as an icebreaker challenge where the students had to use their mobile phones to scan a QR code. This first QR code would give them the location of the activity and then they would need to scan another code get the instructions. This gave the students an opportunity to get to know each other and start communicating as a collaborative group. We had fun in completing the activities and by the time we had finished, we had all got to know each other a bit better. The rest of the day we spent time working in groups to test some mobile applications. These application we would use again at the zoo on Tuesday, so the students had to spend time getting to know how these apps worked. Each app that was tested was given a review and a score based on certain criteria, such as functionality or design. Students would use the information they had research in their final presentations on the Friday. As the students were testing these apps they had to complete a work booklet to show their findings.
Tuesday 7th June
Chester Zoo provided us with the perfect opportunity to put into practice the app testing we had done the day before. Working in their mixed European groups students were given tasks to complete whilst at the zoo. These tasks involved using the apps the students had test in school the previous day. These apps included the zoo’s own application, a photo editing application and a note taking application. All the evidence collected from using these apps would contribute towards their final presentations on the Friday morning. The activities set enabled the students to see how these apps working in practice and contributed towards their thinking of what makes a good mobile application. Once the students had completed the activities set, they were able to leisurely wander around the zoo and enjoy the company of their peers.
Wednesday 8th June
A continuation of the application work continued with a visit to Liverpool Hope University. The university had prepared two workshops for our students. One of the workshops consisted of programming a mobile application and the other was a discussion on the future of social media. Both of these workshops provided our students with important knowledge and skills surrounding the project topic. It was great to see the students and staff having opportunities to understand how mobile applications are created. Students were able to write programming language and change the parameters to see varying results of programming alterations. This allowed the students to be creative and express their own ideas through the app. Located at the university also provided our own students and our European students with an opportunity to see what university life is like. A tour given by current students allowed us to gain a real insight into university life in the UK.
Thursday 9th June
Thursday we were based in Manchester. We had the morning at the stadium of Manchester United Football Club and the afternoon at the Trafford Centre. At the stadium we were given a tour by a guide who provided us with lots of information about the team and the running of the stadium. We then had a social media presentation in one of the classrooms. This presentation discussed how the football club uses social media to communicate to its many fans around the world. They also talked about a mobile application which is currently in testing and will soon be available. Again, this is designed to communicate with fans, keeping them up to date with anything to do with the football club. When we left the stadium we went to the shopping center for some downtime. This was a good opportunity for the students to continue building their relationships and learning about the cultural differences we may have.
Friday 10th June
Today saw the closure of the project. This started off by through the preparation and delivery of group presentations. These presentations discussed the applications we had tested and they way in which they were used in day to day life. They also provided the students with the opportunity to share the information they had gathered throughout the week and share any photographs in which they had edited through their chosen application. The headteacher came to watch the presentations and gave a final speech, thanking the involvement and hard work of everybody on the project. After the presentations we had a final dinner together in a local restaurant. This included all the students, staff and parents that had taken part in the project. It was great to see how well the relationships of everybody involved had been developed over the week and to see the students interacting with one another in such a meaningful way.
Saturday 11th June
Departure day. The day had soon arrived for everyone to depart the UK and return home. After a fun, but exhausting week for everybody involved it provided the perfect opportunity for reflection on the great week we had together. It also provided us with the realism that the entire project had come to a close. We have learnt a lot over the past two years and the project has been so fruitful to the development of our students, teachers and schools in so many ways.