I recently had the privilege of presenting an ADE showcase at the EMEIA ADE Institute in The Netherlands. If you were there, I hope you enjoyed it, but I appreciate that my Scottish accent can be a bit of a challenge for some... so here is a transcript of my presentation, just in case you missed anything of interest!
Good Morning, My name is Martin Willis, a proud member of the ADE class of 2017.
Today I am going to speak to you briefly about a project which has had significant impact on our entire school community. A project that I would never previously have had the confidence to take this far.
But first, I need to introduce you to my Grandfather; a man who never understood why I would want to become a teacher... but who inspires me more than anyone else that I have ever met. He ran his own business for over 50 years and encouraged me to set high standards and expectations... I find myself inadvertently quoting him in my classroom on almost a daily basis!
Three years ago, I was keen to document his life and started to film our conversations. Very quickly I felt that there was an opportunity for a very special school project to be investigated!
What has become our Our Who Do You Think You Are? project is something that I believe is very special. Inspired by my own efforts to investigate my family history, our use of iPads, now allows us to challenge our students to create a short documentary of their own.
We live in a society where care of young and old is increasingly segregated, often with very limited opportunities for the two groups to interact. I knew that these “book end generations” could be great learning resources for each other – all we had to do, was to put them in the same place, which for some families, is harder to do than others.
What started as a very simple iMovie project, has grown and developed into something much bigger and meaningful than I ever believed it would.
Our school is located next door to an assisted living facility for the elderly, with specialist care for residents suffering from dementia.
On the back of our project, we have now launched a programme where students will visit the centre; talking to residents - about their families and life experiences. From these conversations, the children then investigate and research elements of interest, finding articles, photographs and archived video content to share with their new friends.
And the project has continued to develop. The work we have done with residents at Inverard House has attracted interest from Alzheimer Scotland’s Football Memories project.
Their archived images are used as memory triggers for people with dementia and can assist with short term memory recall. Our children are now using iMovie, GarageBand and Book Creator to create interactive content for the charity.
A project which allows my students to engage with an authentic audience, creating content which is having real impact.
The current state of this project follows almost three years of development and research.
Life has changed a lot in that time. Not least - becoming an ADE just a matter of weeks after my Grandfather’s passing.
To the class of 2019 - you are joining a very special group of people, who will support you through the hard times, and will encourage you to achieve very special things.