"Youth Online" (New England Writers Centre)

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Stephen Whiteside
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"Youth Online" (New England Writers Centre)

Post by Stephen Whiteside » Tue Jun 16, 2015 1:19 pm

This morning I experienced a delightful 'first'. I was asked to present a one hour poetry session to primary school students. Nothing unusual in that, you might say. However, this was a poetry session with a difference!

It was part of the "Youth Online" programme organised by the New England Writers Centre.

The idea is that by allowing artists to enter school classrooms 'online', schools that are too small to afford incursions can have one. The session was hosted by one tiny primary school (total of 19 students), with another four small schools also plugged into the session.

I was asked to purchase a microphone headset from Dick Smith, and become an "Adobe Connect" guest for the duration of the session. The original idea had been that we would all be able to see and hear each other. Unfortunately, it didn't quite work out like that. They could all see and hear me, but I could not hear or see them. It was a little unnerving effectively 'talking to myself' for an hour, but I soon got into the swing of it.

I had worked out a programme in the event that this happened. I began with my own book - reciting some poems, and telling some of the stories behind the book - and then talked a little about C. J. Dennis (performing "The Ant Explorer" and "The Triantiwontigongolope"), Paterson and Lawson (performing "The Man From Ironbark"), then back to my book again.

A number of questions were typed onto the screen at the end of the session, which I was then able to answer, so at least there was that degree of interactivity.

I'm not sure exactly what went wrong, though I did hear afterwards that not all of the computers had cameras in them. In spite of the technical hitches, it was a enjoyable experience for me, and the feedback from the schools was all positive, too.

I am told that the students at one school were temporarily distracted when an echidna wandered into the classroom, so I guess there are some benefits in not having a camera at the other end!

It is a very new technology, and teething problems are inevitable. It is fascinating to have this glimpse of the future, though. How wonderful that such small, isolated schools can also now receive visiting writers and artists!
Last edited by Stephen Whiteside on Tue Jun 16, 2015 1:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Stephen Whiteside, Australian Poet and Writer
http://www.stephenwhiteside.com.au

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Stephen Whiteside
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Re: "Youth Online" (New England Writers Centre)

Post by Stephen Whiteside » Tue Jun 16, 2015 1:23 pm

By the way, I'll be doing a radio interview about my book on Thursday morning - about 10.10 - on ABC New England North West. We'll be talking about my Golden Gumleaf for "Book of the Year", and also this morning's Youth Online session. The concept is new enough to still attract media attention.
Stephen Whiteside, Australian Poet and Writer
http://www.stephenwhiteside.com.au

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Maureen K Clifford
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Re: "Youth Online" (New England Writers Centre)

Post by Maureen K Clifford » Tue Jun 16, 2015 1:41 pm

Fabulous Stephen . Technology is wonderful
Check out The Scribbly Bark Poets blog site here -
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I may not always succeed in making a difference, but I will go to my grave knowing I at least tried.

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Re: "Youth Online" (New England Writers Centre)

Post by Stephen Whiteside » Tue Jun 16, 2015 2:25 pm

Thank you, Maureen. I hope there will always be a place for poetry, though.
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Bob Pacey
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Re: "Youth Online" (New England Writers Centre)

Post by Bob Pacey » Tue Jun 16, 2015 4:28 pm

Go for it Doc you ripper that must be like the school of the air ?


making inroads I'm sure .

Bob
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After you grasp that everything else seems insignificant !!!

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Brenda Joy
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Re: "Youth Online" (New England Writers Centre)

Post by Brenda Joy » Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:29 am

That's great Stephen. Thank you for sharing your experience. The idea has a lot of merit for the reasons you have given. And well done the New England Writers Centre.
Hal
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Stephen Whiteside
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Re: "Youth Online" (New England Writers Centre)

Post by Stephen Whiteside » Wed Jun 17, 2015 11:14 am

Thank you, Bob and Brenda.

No, Bob, it's not school of the air, it's a new project run by the New England Writers Centre, allowing small rural and regional schools that could not normally pay for a visitor to have an incursion from an author. The technology allows several schools to all plug in to the same session - like a teleconference. My guess is that we will see much more of this in the future.
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Catherine Lee
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Re: "Youth Online" (New England Writers Centre)

Post by Catherine Lee » Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:50 pm

Brilliant idea Stephen, and you must have found it deeply rewarding to be a part of it. Kudos to the New England Writers Centre for organising such a programme.

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Re: "Youth Online" (New England Writers Centre)

Post by Stephen Whiteside » Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:58 pm

Thanks, Catherine. Yes, it was fun.
Stephen Whiteside, Australian Poet and Writer
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