Our final blog post illustrates the final proposal that was submitted to the school, the final project outcomes and an overview of the challenges and obstacles we have overcome.
Our final attempt at making contact with our school was to send them a final proposal on the 28th November 2016 of what we intended to do with the project after attempting to research and find out what both the children and the teachers wanted to change in their outdoor environment. Within this proposal it stated what the resource pack would consist of and the usefulness of it for teachers. This proposal was sent to the Headteacher.
Our proposal read:
As per your original proposal, we have produced a QR interactive tree identification app for use in the grounds of the school and we will forward this to Matt for him to review and hopefully arrange to trial with the children in his class.
After our meeting with the school council have asked for the following:
- A night-time wildlife camera
- Bird boxes
- Hedgehog houses
- Identification of the insects and birds that come into the school grounds
- A butterfly garden
- Permanent activities in the copse
Building on these ideas, we have contacted external groups, such as Men in Sheds who have kindly volunteered to help with anything needed in this project.
So, going forward, we propose:
We would need raise £80 to cover the cost of the camera, we have managed to negotiate a heavy discount with a company that supplies these and they have agreed to do it at a reduced price of £79.92. The details for the camera are as follows
Swann Pro Outback Wildlife Camera
- HD Video Recording
- High Quality 12MP Camera
- Suitable for all weather conditions
- Night Vision up to 15M
- Motion activated recording
- Battery Powered – Easy Install
Southbourne Men in Sheds have offered to make bird box kits that the children can then build in school and they have even offered to come in and help with this. We just need to supply the wood so that they can build the kits. We have managed to acquire some free wood and we know we can purchase some from Aldingbourne or approach B&Q or Covers as part of a community project.
We have been offered free Hedgehog houses but just need to cover the £6 postage/per house.
We have already started to create I-dials that are weather proof to go in the grounds for the children to use to identify the animals, birds and insects they see.
It would be good to be able to place raised beds and turn these into a butterfly/insect/wildlife garden. School council proposed that the gardening club could help with this and maintain it after we have gone.
Having listened to school council, we are aiming to provide blackboard logs in the copse that can be used for a variety of activities detailed in the resource pack, or just for drawing what the children see as they play and fairy doors to fire children’s creativity and imagination.
However, after a few chase up emails, this proposal was met with no response. Unfortunately, we have still not heard anything and communication has ceased with the school. Without permission from the gatekeeper, we were unable to supply answers to out contacts which had offered to assist with the project. As such, our final project began to suffer as we had to turn away the support we had been offered.
In spite of this, we vowed to continue with our QR interactive tree identification app based upon the advice gained from trialling the project within University and with the group of children and if this was not going to be used within our school we would make the idea accessible to the public for use within their own grounds.
As such, our final app allows users to identify trees based on their fruits, flowers, leaf buds, leaves, twigs or bark. It is an interactive software which through questioning and an elimination process will identify the tree that is being observed.
Whilst we hope that it will be used at the school it was created for, in order to ensure the legacy of this project we have uploaded it to the TES. The TES is a website which provides resources for teacher, made by teachers. Whilst currently our software is limited to the school it is based upon, we have uploaded the software plus the instructions about how to use and how to make it in the hope that someone will be able to make their own or something similar in the future.
In addition, to preserve the legacy of our project we also shared it with our fellow BAPTS students. This then allows students who have a passion for outdoor learning and would like a resource to support this in their own school’s as of September.
Whilst we are disappointed that we were not able to instigate our final ideas, we are proud of the final piece that we were able to create. Through the experience we were able to learn the following skills:
- Effective teamwork
- Programming and ICT skills
- Blogging skills and the importance of reflective practice
- The value of communication
Until this project, we did not realise how integral communication is to a project with Littlejohn and Foss (2011) stating that every aspect of our daily lives is effected by our communications with others. Whilst Zaineb (2016) identifies the most commonly found barriers in communication within an organisation as being perceptual, emotional, language, cultural or physical barriers and the only way to improve effective communication is by changing one’s thoughts and feelings with your colleagues.
We believe that the overall problem which affected our project was communication. The Science subject leader who was championing our project only worked two days a week, which unfortunately corresponded with the days we were in lectures. The details of our project had then not been communicated with the rest of the school until we reached out to the Head Teacher and the ICT co-ordinator for support. Whilst we were able to expand the awareness of our project within the school by approaching these contacts, addressing the children in an assembly and meeting with the school council this, unfortunately, did not help with the communication issues we were facing. Without support from the school and communication within the school, we were then unable to, as outsiders, able to ensure that the project had a legacy within the school. Fortunately, we will now all be able to use and adapt the project in our own schools in September which Jemma has already begun to do. This then means that the use of TES and our own practice will give our project a legacy.
Littlejohn, S. and Foss, K. (2011) Theories of human communication. Google book [Online]. Available at: https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=dfUYAAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR3&dq=related:h8eqeqKjjCQJ:scholar.google.com/&ots=a9CSUZU0xi&sig=F2hpxGIdxS-zbwg73vDHJHOubd0#v=onepage&q&f=true (Accessed 13th May 2017)
Zaineb, A. (2016) Barriers to effective communication in an organisation and overcoming it. Available at: http://blog.commlabindia.com/elearning-design/barriers-to-communication (Accessed: 13 May 2017)