The Mysteries of Marden High

This week, alongside researchers Anne Preston, and Phil Heslop, we were glad to welcome Year Eight students and teachers from Marden High School, North Shields to Newcastle University’s ilab:Learn. As part of their Activities Week, the group of students and their teachers Miss Anna Reid and Mrs Candida Mellor came to create their own mysteries using our Authoring Tool.

With ideas already in mind, they arrived on Tuesday (16/7) and learned about Digital Mysteries and the processes involved. This was followed by discussing their ideas and starting to use the software themselves. With a day’s break in-between, they came back on Thursday morning to input their mysteries. They used the Authoring Tool on the tabletops and multi-mouse PCs to do this, with help from Ahmed and Steven from Reflective Thinking. On the afternoon they solved each other’s mysteries and rated them.

                                    student 1                                    student 3    

                                   Students using Digital Mysteries                                                           Researcher Phill Heslop   

                                    student 6                                    student 4

                                   Working on a mystery using multi-mice PC                                         Students solving their fellow pupil's mysteries

It was later that evening that Anne Preston welcomed the students back, alongside their parents. Greeted with drinks and nibbles, they enjoyed seeing their children’s work in action on the technology.

         student 5                                                            student 7   

         Anne Preston,and some of the students presenting at the beginning of the session  

         student 2jpg                                                                                                     student 8

        Teachers Mrs Mellor & Miss Reid                                                          Parents exploring the mysteries their children had been working on, and the technology

We were pleased to attend, and our Director (and Research Associate at the university) Ahmed Kharrufa presented his thoughts on all of the mysteries and told the excited families who had won the competition.

                                                                                  student 9

                                                      Director Ahmed Kharrufa and researcher Anne Preston discussing the students' work with the group

The prize for the winners of the project was to have their mystery included as part of a commercial product: Digital Mysteries. Please see below for the main question in each group’s mystery:

Llamas: Should scientists be allowed to perform de-extinction on the mammoth? Dictionnaires: Should footballers be paid so much? #swayducks: Should people with little quality of life be allowed to ask people/doctors to assist their death? Silver: Should the voting ages be lowered to 14 years old?

When Ahmed was judging, he gave scores for each mystery using a set of criteria taking into account several things including; the question, quality of content, how engaging it was and the design. This was then combined with the peers’ ratings to give an average score.

It was very close, as all of the mysteries were excellent and had strengths in different areas, but the winner was Dictionnaires with their footballer’s wages mystery.

                                      student 10        student 11

                                      The 3 group members of Dictionnaires                                      Sugata Mitra delivering a speech

When the students go back to school in September, we will work with them to finalise their mystery and then include it in our program.

To round off the night, Sugata Mitra, Professor of Educational Technology and winner of the 2013 TED Prize, gave an insightful speech about how the method of conducting examinations in schools throughout history framed the whole education process.

We all enjoyed ourselves and look forward to working with Marden High School in the future.