Last week year 6 went on our annual trip to our nation’s capital Canberra, where like many hundreds of thousands of school children before us, we spent three days learning about how our government works.
Our schedule was a packed one, In the three days we spent there we took part in the following
The National Film and Sound Archives
The Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House and an education session
A guided tour of New Parliament House and an education session
A guided tour of The National Gallery of Australia
The Australian Electoral Commission, with an interactive education session
The Australian War Memorial, including a guided tour and self guided exploration
The National Museum of Australia
The Australian Institute of Sport, for a tour and hands on session
A self guided tour of Questacon
Telstra Tower to view the city
As you can see the three days were busy with activities and experiences. A few years ago an excursion like this would have meant waving goodbye to parents and friends at school early on the Wednesday morning and having no contact again until greeting them again on the Friday evening. Now for some families this is a great opportunity for a break while for other more nervous students being away from home for three days is hard.
This year, as we have done for the past two years, being away from home took on a whole new meaning for our students. Firstly using the wifi from our phones both Mrs T and I wrote regular blog posts updating the world on our progress and sent them through to our class blog using the edublogs mobile app on our class IPads. One of these posts also included an animoto movie also made using the mobile app. Secondly we tweeted throughout the day from our school twitter account using the hashtag #year6tocanberra so that our parent body could follow our movements there and finally we used our private Instagram account to send out further images from our day.
The overwhelming parent response has been positive. Viewing and reading about our trip as it happened allayed fears and helped anxious parents and children to feel closer to each other. It gave a unique ‘on the go’ perspective of our many activities. It was a fun way for us to communicate and it helped staff back at school know what we were up to.
It has also made me aware of the pressing need to continue to educate our parents in using social media themselves. Although most of them already know what Instagram is, not all of them do. Since their own children are rapidly taking to communicating in this way, I know it is vital that we assist our parents in catching and keeping up. We all need this so that we can monitor and help keep our children’s digital footprints as honest and safe as possible.