Immersive workshops at Middlethorpe Primary

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As 4D Group’s Training & Research Coordinator, getting to visit our immersive spaces and be part of their development is one of the best bits of the job. In January, Middlethorpe Primary School (who bought a 4D Pop Up immersive space in December 2013) approached us with a particularly exciting challenge.

Feeling confident in using the space for provocation days and ‘scene setting’, they wanted some additional support around how they could go beyond their current use of the space by experimenting with new activities within the pop up and developing immersive approaches to classroom-based learning. Finally, the session was to be part of their Erasmus exchange week, where they had teachers from across Europe visiting their school to look at ICT in education.

What did we do?

The day’s workshop followed our Explore, Create, Consult model, which we’ve used with spaces across the country to increase staff confidence and deepen learning through creative investigation. The model allows participants to explore and experience new creative approaches, apply this learning by experimenting in the creation of new ideas, and consolidate learning through consultation between participants and/or pupils.

To welcome the Erasmus cohort to the UK, and with English language levels varied, we started with a hands on activity that sits at the heart of what we do – den making! After creating a 5-minute den using an old army parachute, participants entered the pop up and told us something about themselves through transforming a paper bag with anything but writing – a fantastic ice breaker for staff, and a great creative way to assess pupil’s mood at the start of a session.

Seeing their bags hung around the pop up, the teachers embraced the idea of how low-tech approaches can add meaning and detail within the immersive space.

With confidence growing, participants split into 5 groups and explored five very different immersive tools for the classroom, developed by Cathy Cross and her wonderful store cupboard of den making kit! From old picture frames, to glowing boxes, gauze tents to illuminous trees, we looked at how these micro-environments could create a sense of focus within a classroom, and open up new ways of deepening understanding of a topic.

After a very generous lunch of seaside fresh Fish & Chips, we then experimented with applying some of these ideas to real life scenarios, and tested some of these out within the safety of the group.

What did we find?

As is most often the case with these sessions, we found that it was the teachers who came up with the most incredible concepts through applying their own expertise to the tools we had provided, and it was great to hear new ideas around how immersive environments in and out of the pop up could enhance learning across all subject areas – from the Sciences to PSHE.

For those Erasmus visitors who were new to the concept of immersive learning, the workshop was an eye-opening experience that left them teeming with ideas:

“Thank you very much for the workshop. It has been very helpful and I’ve learned many things. I surely do want to implement immersive space in my class. I will let you know and share my experiences with you.” – Abdullah Kur, Teacher from Nenehatun Ilkokulu School, Turkey

For Middlethorpe staff too, the workshop left them inspired:

“What a fantastic time we all had. Well done. Great workshop.” – Anna Rytting, Teacher at Middlethorpe Primary School

We are now working with Middlethorpe Primary to help implement these approaches into their longer-term use of their 4D pop up, looking at the principles of immersive learning and how these can be embedded into their wider schemes of work.

If you would like some additional support around how to make the most of your 4D immersive space, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch or 0161 686 5760 and we’ll be happy to help!

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