Success for WASPS at Magee
Hundreds of primary school children in the North West have enjoyed their first taste of university life, thanks to the success of the University of Ulster’s WASPS (Widening Access Skills in Primary Schools) initiative.
Now in its third and final year, the WASPS initiative delivered a series of ‘hands-on’ practical workshops for the youngsters at the Magee campus. The workshops were designed to encourage them express their creativity through technology and as part of the project, they had to create a short film to raise awareness about a particular subject.
The initiative was designed and delivered by Computing Science lecturer Dr Sandra Moffett and colleagues from the School of Computing and Intelligent Systems, Mairin Nicell and Anne Hinds, with support from PhD students, Jennifer Hyndman, Kerri McCusker and Kevin Meehan.
Dr Moffett explained that the project was to help promote STEM subjects (Science Technology Engineering and MATHS) subjects to primary schools pupils in a fun way.
“The workshops at Magee focused on idea formation, planning and implementation and introduced techniques like storyboarding, scripting, animation and movie-making.”
She said: “The children and their teachers were very enthusiastic and really rose to the challenge. The WASPS project is like a breath of fresh air for the staff involved and it’s very encouraging for all of us to see young children being so creative in their use of technology.”
Over the past three years, a total of 365 pupils and 16 teachers from 12 schools have participated in the project. This year, it was the turn of Primary 6/7 pupils and their teachers from Gaelscoil Eadain Mhoir Primary School, Ebrington Primary School, Oakgrove Integrated Primary School and St Paul’s Primary School, Slievemore. Since January, as well as working on their movies in school on such diverse topics such as Healthy Eating, Recycling, the Rainforest and Animal Extinction, the children attended a series of half day workshops at Magee.
To mark the completion of the project, they were invited to present their storyboards and movies to a judging panel at Magee. After much deliberation, the judging panel (Dr Moffett, Dr Jose Santos and Mr Martin Doherty, all from the School of Computing and Intelligent Systems) selected the following winners:
Ist place, ‘Breaking Dawn’, Oakgrove Primary School for their movie on ‘The Rainforest’. Members of the winning team, Bronagh Hinds, Clodagh Jackson McLaughlin, Molly Gavin and Eimear Willett each received an iPod Touch.
Runners up each received iPod Shuffles. Teams included ‘Dreamworks’, St Paul’s Slievemore, (Amy Lee Bradley, Luch Kennedy, Mark McGuinness, Lee Sean Bradley, Jordan Hartop) for their movie ‘Don’t be a litter bug’; ‘The Randoms’, Ebrington Primary School, (Carla Downey, Sophie Young, Chloe Magee and Morgan Burnett) for their movie on ‘Blue Bin Bash’; and ‘Talk Talk Show’, Gaelscoil Eadain Mhoir Primary School, (Toni De Brun, Cahir O’Loinnsigh, Odhran O’Siall, Conan Laimbeartun, and Sarah Nic An Tsagairt).
St Paul’s was selected as overall winning school for its pupils’ ‘enthusiasm, dedication and contribution’ to the overall success of the project and received a cheque for £500.
Expressing his delight, St Paul’s teacher, Mr Sean Fleming said: “The children have worked exceptionally hard on the WASPS project and I am delighted that their efforts have paid off so handsomely.
“The money will make such a difference to our school and I hope it will be spent on software so we can continue to invest in the IT skills of our pupils.”
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Weather for Derry
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
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