Page last updated at 16:11 GMT, Monday, 1 November 2010

School Report's First Click workshops, by the teachers

By Lynn MacMillan
Gourock High School

Allyson (right) poses proudly as her star pupil receives his certificate
Allyson (right) poses proudly as her grandfather receives his certificate

As a novice participant in last year's School Report News Day, we were approached by BBC Scotland to consider taking part in the Media Literacy workshop.

It soon became evident that this was an ideal opportunity for our pupils to develop their own confidence in supporting others and explaining the use of technology to the uninitiated.

A secondary benefit was that it helped the Business Studies department work towards one of our objectives of increasing parental participation.

We decided to pilot the project with S2 (Secondary 2) pupils as part of their Business, Enterprise and Finance course which runs for one period a week. It was agreed to run the workshop after school one day between 3.15 pm and 5.15 pm.

In order to give the project some more publicity, we contacted our local newspaper to feature an article on what we were trying to achieve.

Personal invitations were given by the pupils and we received approximately 12 responses, including mums, dads, grandparents and neighbours. This number dwindled to just eight on the day but this turned into a blessing in disguise: Tip One - small is beautiful!

Before starting, we asked our visitors to write on Show-Me Boards just how terrified they were about using the internet on a scale of 1-5. As well as breaking the ice, it gave us a very quick summary of previous experience and where support might be most needed. This evaluation would then be revisited at the end to see if levels of nervousness had diminished!

An unexpected pleasure was seeing workshop participants supporting and working along side other participants

Each participating school had been given freedom to approach the workshop in whatever way they felt best, so my colleague Jill and I devised a short programme covering the basics but also leaving a good amount of time for participants to research topics of personal interest such as military history and British Sign Language.

We started with basic terminology such as internet service provider, web browser and address bar. We then gave our guests three "tasks" in accessing sites with local information, ably assisted by their family member: Tip Two - Grandchildren are experts at putting their grandparents at ease!

Next item on the agenda was using search engines. This covered practical skills such as buying online and finding out train times. At this point our more experienced "silver surfers" were free to move on at their own pace.

An unexpected pleasure was seeing workshop participants supporting and working along side other participants: Tip Three - Face-to-face networking is alive and well despite the advent of computer-based social networking!

All-too-soon our two hours were up. To conclude, we presented certificates to all our mature students. Photos of pupil tutors and their guests were a nice little memento of the event: Tip Four - Even adults appreciate recognition of their achievements!

And the final scores? Everyone's level of anxiety about using the internet had reduced, although I would be lying if I said all participants were down to '1'! So the challenge has been issued to our fantastic pupil tutors Allyson, George, Cameron, Sophie, Lauren, Stuart, Victoria and Sophia to carry on the good work at home.

By Maureen Dorans
Doon Academy

BBC First Click at Doon Academy

Doon Academy's workshop took place during two 50-minute lessons. S1 pupils were asked to invite people from the local community to visit the school and work with the pupils on a topic which interested them all.

Two people from the community, Miss Joss MBE and Mr Gilmore (the grandfather of an S1 pupil), attended the school and spoke to pupils about their lives and working experiences. I think if I was doing this again I would not be specific about the ages of the visitors.

When I mentioned grandparents most of the pupils from our area stated that their grandparents were young, often in their forties so they did not think it applied to them.

Also I would have the workshop in one session. I planned the two 50-minute sessions to fit in with the school timetable but time was taken up with organising each session and therefore they were too short.

Pupils really enjoyed the experience especially learning what their local area was like many years ago.

By Mhairi Begley
Taylor High School

BBC First Click meets Taylor High School

We had five second year pupils who were keen to participate in the workshop. Each of the pupils brought a family member who had never used the internet.

We had previously decided that a pertinent local topic would be the regeneration of the Ravenscraig site and split this into distinct areas: the history of Ravenscraig; the site's closure; regeneration at Motherwell College; regeneration of leisure facilities; and regeneration in housing.

Each pair (consisting of a pupil and their family member) were able to decide which area they wanted to study. They were given an introduction to the basics of internet research and were provided with a list of four or five suggested websites which covered their topics.

They were asked to research their topic and then write a 30 second (90 word) script, using BBC resources. Pupils were also given the opportunity to conduct interviews with a local councillor and the project manager for the regeneration project.

Both the pupils and their family members worked hard and produced some excellent research and some strong content. The pupils worked hard to produce effective interview questions prior to the workshop, which they posed to their interviewees during the research time and they received considered and interesting answers from both of the officials.

This project was a pleasure to be involved in, and was successful thanks to the effort and enthusiasm displayed by all of those people involved

However, the most valuable part of the entire process was the time which the pupils spent working with their family members. The family members were able to reminisce about Ravenscraig and their memories of it, but they also all felt that they had gained new skills and confidence in using both computers and the internet.

Equally, the pupils gained from the experience. They developed their research and writing skills ready to begin their School Report training. They gained the confidence required to teach others the skills needed for internet use and they learnt about the significance and history of a local area.

Everyone involved - pupils, family members, staff and invited guests - thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I think everyone gained new skills and knowledge.

If I were to do this again, there are only two things which I would change. Firstly, I would alter the timings. The workshop was scheduled to run for two hours, but, due to BBC filming, ran for longer.

Had it lasted for only two hours, the timing may have been restrictive, therefore I would try to extend the length of the workshop slightly.

Secondly, I would factor in time to allow participants the opportunity to see each others' 30 second broadcasts. This would allow them to benefit from the research of other groups immediately, rather than waiting until the film had been edited and uploaded.

This project was a pleasure to be involved in, and was successful thanks to the effort and enthusiasm displayed by all of those people involved.

By Brian Dziennik
Kingussie High School

Kingussie High School pupils take part in the First Click project
Kingussie High School pupils engaged with the local community

We set up a workshop for our pupils by tracking down older members of the community to help.

We looked for retired teachers who had met at Edinburgh University, folks with 'history' who had played for the troops during the Vietnam War and an older gentleman from the area who was in the RAF during World War II.

We had looked for helpers who could speak well and were good communicators. We set up our children in to pairs and we grouped together our helpers in to their little groups and then we did some 'speed dating'.

The children had three minutes to find out some information about each group of the older helpers. This was simply to get them all talking together and it did work really well. After that we drew lots and the pupils paired off with our adult helpers.

This worked really, with both helpers and pupils ready to communicate. Time was spent researching questions, with the pupils then sitting down and writing up the questions while the helpers had a cup of tea. Next we went to the video and we taped each of the interviews.

The pupils did so well in communicating with the helpers and commented later about how they discovered things they weren't aware about. It was a long project for the S2 pupils but, all in all, the day was a grand success.

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