The City Road Initiative
HyperAction and Albany Primary School propose a collaborative community education project as part of the Councils City Road Local Centre Management Initiative.
In 1998, HyperAction ran a 9 month community IT project in Roath which had children from three local schools working together with a group of elderly residents to create an online exploration of what is special about the community they share : RoathVillageWeb
Albany Primary School subsequently became involved in the City Road initiative in 1999 and also began to implement plans to set up an IT suite with Internet access which would become both a school and community resource.
Our current proposal will further enhance and develop the partnerships and activities undertaken by the school as part of Roath Village Web and the City Road initiative and will also create opportunity to develop the IT suite as a local community resource.
Our Current Proposal
Participants both young and old will use new multimedia technology available in school to collaborate on the creation of an interactive map which focuses specifically on the area in the immediate vicinity of City Road. The map will be published in the form of a web site which will in turn create opportunity for online discussion of the issues affecting the area and how they might be addressed.
Children will be key participants both in using technology and in learning about their local community through their own investigative work and by sharing the experiences of adults and elders.
The project will at once be a celebration of the areas past and present identity allowing local people to reclaim or assert a sense of pride in where they live. It will create opportunity to raise concerns about current social and economic issues affecting the area. It will give a platform for local peoples positive hopes and aspirations for its future regeneration.
We aim also to help introduce people to new information communication technologies, such as the Internet, in a supported environment and to demonstrate how new technology can be applied in a purposeful and meaningful way.
Adult participants in the project will be directed towards other appropriate community education courses that will help them further develop their confidence and skills in the use of IT.
The project will take place during the Spring Term January to March 2000.
The project will be based at Albany Primary School, and will be led and co-ordinated by HyperAction.
Children from across the age range of the school together with their class teachers will work with up to 12 older residents, possibly the childrens parents or grandparents. These children may well already be familiar with some of the aims and processes of the project through their involvement with Roath Village Web and the initial City Road project.
Stage One : Preparation
INSET 1 Staff will be introduced to the projects aims and processes, to
the Internet and World Wide Web and to the multimedia technology that we will be
using to begin creating our community map.
INSET 2 HyperActions Project Worker will work closely with the nominated
class teachers to plan a scheme of work that allows the themes of
the project to develop in a cross curricular way, while at the same time
creating opportunities for IT activities which make use of the IT resources
available in the school.
As part of Roath Village Web, a group of elders worked on a series of oral reminiscence activities in school and children also visited a local residential home for the elderly as part of their investigation into the changing community. We aim to continue and extend inter-generational exchange as part of this project. Further recruitment of older participants will be done directly through the schools newsletter, by advertising through local community venues e.g. Plasnewydd Community Hall, the Mackintosh Instsitue etc. or by approaching appropriate local organisations or community groups such as the Local History Society or Age Concern.
A ½ day will be spent with the children, introducing them to the project and
how we will be working. At this stage they will have hands-on experience of the
Internet and multimedia using the schools multimedia learning centre.
A ½ day session for adult participants will be held in school, introducing them to the projects aims and processes. Some of the children involved will help the adults become familiar with the technology we will be using to make our web site.
Stage Two : Development
Children might focus on their walk to school, where they play. Their parents might focus on services available locally. Elders might focus on how City Road used to be. Some participants will be new to the community. What were their impressions when they arrived?
Having identified key sites, participants will together undertake a Community Walk. The Walk will be outwards from the school and on the Walk children and adults will undertake a series of structured activities e.g. simple observation using cameras or tape recorders, sketch books or note pads, interviews with local people, data collection through surveys, more creative word work, poetry writing, photography etc. (Further walks might be undertaken by smaller groups at later dates to collect additional material as required.)
These activities will help to identify issues of common concern or common interest within a group, - vandalism, litter, lack of play space, lack of services etc. - creating opportunities for classroom work later.
For example, a group might identify public transport as an issue of concern. They might conduct a bus survey, take photographs, draw pictures, interview passengers, write poems about waiting at a bus stop, collect reminiscences about trolley buses and trams, write to or interview the Director of Cardiff Bus.
Each group will follow a similar structure of activities but their work will focus on a different community issue. Here there will be ample opportunity to investigate the changing community by comparing our findings and observations with archive material available e.g. maps, photographs, censuses, and by encouraging local people to share their memories.
The whole group will draw up a community action plan which could be implemented at a number of different levels : by the individual, by informal groups, by the school, by residents associations, by the police, by the local authority etc.
Using the material collected, each group will work together to plan and develop web pages which present their feelings about each community issue using digital text and images.
The web pages will be collated into a City Road Action Web site and published on the World Wide Web. We will use the key sites identified in Stage Two to make an image map possibly a panoramic montage of City Road itself . This montage will become the main navigational aid in the developing web site.
In designing the site, we will develop a structure which allows further updating and development either in response to feedback from other communities, as an on-going school/community resource or both.
The web site will celebrate and record the areas diverse social and cultural heritage but will also be designed to provide an interactive forum for debate about the issues affecting the area. e.g. through the inclusion of a discussion area, feedback and visitor pages and a bulletin board for events taking place in the community.
An exhibition / open evening will be held in school to present the work of the participants and to share our findings / concerns with the wider community. The exhibition will include a multimedia presentation of the web site. There will be an opportunity for visitors to add their comments to an online guest book using Albanys IT facilities and guided by the children.
Classroom and workshop materials used during the project will be collated into a teaching resource pack.
A Cross Curricular Project
The project specifically allows for the exploration of cross curricular
themes with a clear focus on Curriculum 2000. We aim to encourage individual
and group responsibility for managing their changing local environment
positively by enhancing their sense of community identity and place.
National Curriculum Link "Pupils will use IT equipment and software tocommunicate ideas and information in a variety of forms, incorporating text, graphs, pictures and sound and to organise, reorganise and analyse ideas and information."
During stages 3 and 4, computers will be an integral part of the process, used by all those involved to gather, collate and present material about their local neighbourhood. We anticipate a mutual exchange of skills and ideas between the youngest and oldest participants as the children use their skills to help adult participants develop their IT confidence.
We will also co-ordinate IT activities with Community Education and Economic Developments Community IT Centre on City Road to ensure that adults involved in the project who wish to further develop their IT skills are aware of the opportunities to do so.
Sustainability of the Project
We aim to ensure the on going development of the web site and its replication using other themes and topics. We will therefore plan for its sustainability from the outset.
For example, teachers will gain skills and confidence in the use of Information Technology during the formal INSET sessions but also hands-on with the children in the classroom. The school would then be in a position to take responsibility for the web site and its development. Extension work could include developing formal links with a primary school elsewhere in Cardiff, Wales, the UK, or the World - and for the two schools to follow a common structure in publishing material on line. This exchange could highlight the common experiences of two communities, reveal different or shared areas of concern about its development and also alternative approaches to tackling community issues.
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