Inspiring tomorrow’s leaders of creativity
Staff, pupils and parents at Ormiston Maritime Academy, Grimsby are collaborating with MirandaNet and Gaia Technologies, a MirandaNet Associate, to research the value of the Academy’s new IT infrastructure which was installed by Gaia. The research aims to promote technology enhanced teaching and learning throughout the school and is organised by a school-based professional development programme, Innovate, which has been designed by Gaia to support Ormiston Maritime Academy with a programme of professional development and student engagement activities.
Tracey Ramage, Faculty Leader for Art, Design, Media and Technology at Ormiston and Christina Preston, Founder of the MirandaNet Fellowship, are working as Innovate co-researchers to investigate how the professional development programme is driving improvement in teaching and learning. A three year programme is planned in order to support the embedding of good practice throughout the school and will gather evidence of improved staff confidence with technology, student engagement, enjoyment and progress. An important aspect of the approach is to allow the staff to experiment with these opportunities afforded by the technology without the fear of being judged. The freedom to fail and to re-evaluate practice is vital to sustaining change when the three years is over because the teachers themselves and the pupils must then take ownership of the programme and drive it forward. The evidence collected can be used provide evidence-based self-evaluations for OfSTED inspections and will help the school move from ‘Good’ to ‘Outstanding’. In turn, Innovate will demonstrate to parents that the school is providing students with a passport for the future in an ever changing and developing world.
Three in-school curriculum projects are beginning or are already under way:
- Visual learning in the Humanities
- Literacy development through non-fiction writing in Science and English
- Creativity in Digital Media Production across Music, Drama, Art, and Design Technology
Before the Gaia infrastructure installation iPads had been bought by the school but not well used. Thus one aspect of each of the three projects is to make better use of this investment in tablets. In due course three other MirandaNet Associates, BrainPOP, IRIS Connect and LightSpeed will join the development work at Ormiston alongside Gaia Technologies.
The Creativity in Digital Media Production project is already under way. The aims of the project are fourfold:
- to improve student engagement and learning through use of 3D technology and creative production of a mini-documentary using green screen technology;
- effectively use the Gaia 3D Viewer and green screen video production techniques as tools for teaching;
- test the impact of cascading 3D expertise from an expert to other teachers;
- secure improved staff confidence with the Gaia 3D Viewer as a tool for learning and teaching.
Early in November 2015 a group of Ormiston Maritime Academy students visited Gaia’s digital design studio in North Wales to meet the professionals who create educational content: 3D, apps, games and videos. Each student had to apply for a place on the trip by letter with a piece of creative production using ICT. Bernard Dady, the head of Education at Gaia Tech, then met the students before the event during one of his visits to the Academy. The selected group of staff and pupils was led by Tracey Ramage and travelled from Grimsby to North Wales to enjoy an afternoon in the studio, an overnight stop in the hotel adjacent to the company’s HQ and then a morning working alongside Gaia’s digital artists and programmers. The aim was to enthuse the students about work in the creative and technology sectors and to introduce the forthcoming programme of learning projects being supported by Gaia at Maritime Academy.
The pupils who visited Gaia Technologies came from a wide spectrum of abilities, including able, gifted and talented pupils and pupils with specific learning needs. All pupils were able to access and enjoy the activities on offer as well as the ‘away from home’ experience. The visit was a great success. Pupils enjoyed working one-to-one with specialists, working with new technologies and being creative in their own right. Daniel Lowry, a year 9 student, commented on his enjoyment in working with design specific programs like Zbrush and MudBox. He took advantage of Gaia’s specialists in picking up tips and tricks as well. He was keen to utilise his new skills when he returned to school.