The first Fairfield trial was today – got off to a bit of a shaky start with a last minute hitch about starting times but Hayley arrived in the mini bus eventually and we got started.  We started by me introducing Pompeii and showing them images of the site and then going into the model – Nic doing the usual orienteering exercises and then letting them loose on the Dinner party challenge.

The students were excited to be at the university and in using the technology and did the challenge pretty well with some help. What was really noticeable  was that  the real difference with them and the GT group at St mary Redcliffe was not in their inability to grasp ideas – but the different way that they needed to be supported in grasping those ideas. This probably seems obvious to any school teachers reading but for us it was an eye opener. So, for instance, we are used to letting the students use their avatars to roam around the space finding out information and soaking up the environment. This group didn’t respond to that free time at all well. They needed much more guidance and short-term tasks to reinforce essential points. Once they had these in place, they did have the confidence to explore more by themselves. Hayley was really useful, stepping in to keep order but also to help us micro-structure the planned activities. She suggests that we design worksheets in order to help a wider group of abilities to get maximum benefit from the project.


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