The Tudor Tribune was our end of term activity this Summer – and the event is still generating external interest.
Firefly were on site last week, filming some of the girls and staff involved in the project as they prepare their entry for best educational product at the 2017 British Educational Training and Technology show (BETT) at docklands’ ExCeL centre. The project will also feature at Firefly’s own Education Conference at the Birmingham Rep in November.
At face value, the Tribune was just a school newspaper project. But was also so much more. It was about challenging our students to work differently. Typically, school work is broken into neat, achievable little chunks, measured by the time required to complete tasks.
But when was your working so regulated? Yes, schools need to deliver a spread of subjects but students should also be challenged to participate in complex, evolving problems. They should be challenged to manage their own time and to set their own agenda, working collaboratively across a range of year groups.
For us, setting these sorts of challenges was as important as creating and running a current affairs project.
And so the Tudor Tribune was born. The staff created hundreds of complex news stories, each designed to evolve through time and, as the project started, a frenetic rolling news environment was unleashed: a Banksy mural appeared overnight beside the Vs’ house, ancient bones were excavated, the dining room was picketed by protesters.
The girls, using our virtual learning environment, Firefly, created the news and took editorial decisions. They used a range of technologies to create their content, editing photos on Google’s Snapseed app, shooting video content on green screen and editing it in iMovie.
The deadline for the production of the final websites was 4pm on a Thursday afternoon but our simulated rolling news also ran until the deadline as we aimed to inject some of the pressure and excitement of the working world.
ITN’s Rageh Omaar, who opened the project, has taken an interest in the final product and the workflow used to achieve it. On day two, the Mail’s Isabel Oakeshott stepped out of the political maelstrom of Brexit to speak to the girls.
It’s hard to imagine a project like this being possible in many schools – the staff and student enthusiasm and support made the event.