The evidence (online comments, interviews, video podcasts, and survey data) confirms that the project aims were met. The following teacher comment provides a useful summary: ‘In terms of boosting the children’s interest in science, the project has been a phenomenal success, they have learnt new science skills, they have all spoken about how much they’ve enjoyed the project, how much fun it was, how much they didn’t maybe realize that science plays a part in people’s lives. They have learnt skills of inquiry, they have learnt skills in justifying their opinions, backing things up with hard evidence so that has been very successful. The project also exemplified CFE, in that we were led by the children’s interest in the situation that was set up for us, we went on to develop the literacy aspect in the project in creating their own detective. In terms of my professional development I don’t have a science background so I feel more confident at teaching science to the children, and I am better skilled at teaching the children now as well. In terms of a transition project, we used Glow to discuss events in this scenario with our colleagues at (name) high school.’
The article below appeared in the Times Education Supplement (Scotland) in May. The Scottish Islands and Mainlands Wiki Project' has become known on the ground as the Forensic rookies project. The journalist Julia Horton sat in with one class during the GLOW meet (a video conference) during which pupils and teachers shared their findings with the other project school clusters, and she then spoke with other participants to find out a bit more about the project. At present the project team are generating vodcasts for each school, which in due course will be uploaded on youtube in order to illustrate the nature of the project and to share our findings. http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6219991
The project used a closed site to enable each primary secondary school pair to communicate with each other but to remain independent of the other two cluster primary- secondary school pairs. As school pairs were working at different rates (eg six lessons over a school term, or over two weeks), an open site may have influenced the pupil engagement in the other cluster if one school pair had solved the crime early). Feedback suggests that some of the pupils thought they were dealing with forensic evidence from a genuine crime. The project has generated a spectrum of approaches with regard to pair schools working online (teacher input of pupil material, teacher and limited pupil input of pupil material online, and pupil input of pupil material online). The six lesson 'crime scene' task has in many cases taken longer than anticipated due to pupil engagement, further related activity (retired detectives talking to the pupils, blood splatter activity) and cross curricular links (internet search for forensic evidence that helped solve other crimes, and letters to outside agencies). Some may not be surprised to hear the 'video conference' involving all three clusters met with frustrating success due to technology glitches! However, the evidence collected thus far (through the online records, speaking with pupils and access to pupils' work) show enthusiastic pupil engagement. The evidence also shows the development of pupil understanding of particular science concepts and their acquisition of science and numeracy skills.
a) motivate pupils to learn science and become digitally literate, while encouraging pupils to become more confident science orators as they consider the role of evidence and develop skills to support informed argument in science.
b) help primary pupils develop informed views about transition to secondary school, and help reengage secondary school pupils
c) help teachers in rural schools develop creative ways to support science learning in their classroom while obtaining professional development through dialogue with scientists, science educators and other school teachers
In this short clip Neil Taylor introduces the ‘Forensic Rookies’ Project more formally known as the Scottish Islands and Mainland Science and ICT Project. It is a compilation that shows how the project evolved across 6 schools. It highlights different aspects of curriculum for excellence, identifies some of the strengths and limitations, and uses teacher voice and pupil work to document project impact and output.
See also individual vodcasts from project schools.