On Thursday, Holy Cross Primary School in Ballycragh, Tallaght, were kind enough to allow us to discuss the topic of the Internet with their first class students.
The bus trip to Ballycragh didn’t take as long as expected so, with time to spare for a look around the area, adventure was in order!
When we walked into what appeared to be a party supply shop, we were very surprised to find it was actually a pet shop and even more surprised to find that the man working there really liked to hand out bunnies!
It was Science Week in Holy Cross and the 6th class pupils were keen to show us their science projects (Jordan managed to beat their home-made "Buzz-Off" style game and Rebecca impressed the kids with her healthy lung capacity).
There was a cool, relaxed atmosphere in the school and the staff were young and friendly. This fun, exciting learning environment was a world apart from the old, smelly teachers, “bata fada" (for those who didn’t grow up in a country school that’s the stick used to point at things and terrify the living daylights out of ya) and “here - shut up, sit down and colour this in” attitude we grew up with!
The 1st class kids we spoke to were extremely enthusiastic and their insights into how children perceive and use the internet were hilarious at times. We were really surprised by how many of them reported having Facebook profiles and the varying levels of parental control involved - from one little boy whose mum checks his profile twice a week to a girl who claimed to have over 500 friends, some of whom she didn’t know.
The school visit was definitely worth the trip and has provided us with lots of information around which to adjust our scripts and storyboards. Now to set about transcribing the audio from this visit and hope our second school trip is just as successful!
We’ve spent the last week or so under a pile of books. The DCU library has a lot of books of research about researching things and we’ve been using these to research different research methods. Research.
It’s surprisingly difficult to find resources on conducting focus groups and group interviews with children (which is what we’re aiming to use to help us find out how much the kids already understand about the internet). Thankfully, we’ve found enough to help us build a plan of action and we’re now in the process of finalizing dates for school visits.
We’re also trying to find research on voice-overs for children’s edutainment - whether younger or older voices are more effective, how children respond differently to male or female voices and how the voiceover affects their interpretation of the material.