A brief entry on the Super Learning Day (SLD) I have been working on for my old friend Kevin Grand who is Head of Faculty (Business & Enterprise) at Sir Thomas Wharton Community College (STW) in Doncaster.
The theme for the day this year is Community and Cooperative, and the basis of activities around the principles of Fairtrade – which is “about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world”.
For the SLD I’m going to extend the theme further to include all global industries, for example technology, textiles and cosmetics. I want to challenge the way children think about how all industries across the world operate, and to apply what they understand about fairtrade to the origins of goods and services that are relevant to their lives. In short I want them to design a game: a serious game. A computer game, board game or card game that enables understanding and discussion about conventional trade.
We’ve 600 pupils, in groups of 30, all of mixed ages – one of the great things about the SLD is that it involves the entire school, taken off curriculum for a single day. Its a brilliant initiative by STW that allows for this unique kind of learning opportunity in secondary education.
Each team will have a specific set of core tasks to undertake – from gameplay, to marketing, unique selling points and the key fairtrade issues that will be conveyed to the players during the narrative of the game. They will be able to expand on these tasks if time permits, so for example within the marketing task we ask for a basic piece of blurb that “sells” the game but they could enhance their project by putting together a TV advert or recording a radio advert.
I’m drawing heavily on established competitions such as BAFTA YGD for an outline of tasks, but embellishing those further to fit with the form and function of previous SLDs at STW, and to make the whole event fun for everyone involved. One of the other fantastic resources I’m going to widely use is Sweatshop from Channel 4 / Littleloud. It’s a perfect example of how a game challenges the issues of Fairtrade and Workfair from both a manufacturer and consumer point of view, and the fact that it’s free to play in a browser makes it cost-effective and installation effective (I’m thinking with my technician head on) for use in school.
We’re going to have plenty of technology, plasticine, lego, pens, pencils, paint, stencils, templates and double-sided stickytape to throw around and I’m really looking forward to see what the kids come up with. Now just to ask some friends at the Beeb, Littleloud and maybe one important lady at UKIE whether they could spend some time judging some of the entries after the event!
SLD will take place at the end of July 2013.