Tyneside Cinema (Newcastle, UK) has created a wonderful, interactive educational program that embraces learning and technology in the most creative and in some aspects simplexes way. While the program is based mainly for educational purposes and not family, it is something that all venues should look at for inspiration. I particularly see this working more in National Trusts and stately homes rather than museums.
Time Machine is a reality game to assist web-based classroom learning. Sound complicated? It’s not, at least not for the students.
The students are told they have to help Ava Scott, a time travelling 14 year old who sent out an SOS into the past by the International Ministry of Unauthorised Time Travel (IMUTT) to capture the villain King Kronos.
The students are required to complete four classroom-based missions which has them learning in creative and inspiriting ways. For example, not only did they have to research historical facts on the computer, they then had to handwrite their findings. PSHE was also integrated in within the activity as the class worked in groups, which then had each group needing to work together to solve the missions.
Upon completion of the classroom-based mission, they are invited back to the cinema for the final mission. Here they are put into groups and shown around the cinema with an Expert who takes them around the cinema re-enforcing the learning that has already taken place ‘Look at the floor, do you remember what type of tiles these are?’ ‘See these gates, they used to be on the front door which has now moved.’ During this time, the students are provided walkie talkies and a torch to keep in contact with the rest of the class and explore.
Afterwards, the class assembles back into the cinema to celebrate their accomplishments. Even at this point, they are learning as they are hearing how the cinema was most popular when newsreels were shown. It is so inspiring see so many hands go up when they are asked questions such as ‘Remember the Persian floor? What country is that now?’ or ‘What did the Queen do that made newsreel unpopular?’ [Iran and televised Christmas address]. The students are then asked if they would like to see an actual newsreel as they were shown in the 40s and 50s.
Time Machine is an ingenious, creative, memorable learning experience that engages Keystage 2 pupils in a unique way which is a springboard for other criteria. Without giving too much away, at one point the students are using iPads along with the Walkie Talkies and torches. The balance of technology with the learning, coupled with the input from the wonderful experts brings the experience to a level I’ve personally never seen before.
Writer Ian Fenton created an award winning program that I feel could be the catalyst for the way the creative sector looks at interactive educational learning.
For more information, please see http://imutt.co.uk/info/
Additionally, they can be found on Facebook.