French teachers have teamed up with Kent teachers to see how Canterbury Christ Church University's Dakini Project is revolutionising teaching in Kent secondary schools.
The Dakini Project, the first of its kind in Europe, provides free state-of-the-art digital mapping resources to schools across the country and is run by Canterbury Christ Church University.The aim of the two-day event, held in July, was to give French teachers, working in the Interreg 3a region, the opportunity to see how the Dakini Project has worked in Kent.It gave them the chance to learn new ideas,techniques and best practice so that these could be applied to their own teaching in France.Teachers from L'Academie de Rouen in France had the pleasure of an historic tour of Canterbury headed by Andrew Harmsworth from Simon Langton Grammar School for Girls prior to being invited to The Homewood School in Tenerden, where geography teacher Gerard O'Sullivan who uses the Project's Geographic Information Systems (GIS) demonstrated how a year nine class implements the resources using French.The visit has now inspired the French teachers to implement similar strategies in their own schools for geography and history lessons.Chrisophe Clavel, French Dakini Project Manager, said: "We are committed to using the vast array of digital maps and images included in the Dakini Project and this two day collaboration allowed us to share best practice so that good ideas can be implemented easily in the classroom."Jason Sawle, who is running the Dakini Project for Canterbury Christ Church University, said: "We were delighted to welcome our French counterparts and give them the opportunity to see how this project has radically altered the teaching of geography, ICT, history, maths and citizenship in Kent schools."If you would like more information on the Project please contact Geneieve Holden, Dakini Project Co-ordinator on 01227 767700 ext 3826 or Dr Gerard O'Sullivan, Geography teacher, on 01580 764222.Details of the visitThe first day of the event, hosted by Canterbury Christ Church University, focused on the Project's development in secondary schools across Kent and Northern France. French teachers saw a presentation by Richard Pole, Dakini Technical Manager on how the project has been accepted by schools in Kent.It highlighted the project's involvement in the Kent Messenger Group's Walking Bus Project with primary schools using digital maps to calculate the calorific benefits of walking to school compared to those who drive. Afterwards the French teachers were treated to a tour of Canterbury by local history expert and advanced Skills Teacher, Andrew Harmsworth.On the second day, French teachers observed Dr Gerard O'Sullivan from Homewood School in Tenterden, applying Dakini resources to his Year 9 Geography and French lesson.Dakini ProjectThe Dakini Project is a Â£3.4 million Anglo-French school's Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and multimedia project funded by the European Regional Development Fund Programme, Interreg IIIa. The projected is hosted and run by Canterbury Christ Church University in collaboration with the Academie de Rouen in France and is the first project of its kind in the European Union, aiming togive access to GIS, digital data and teaching materials to all schools within the Interreg IIIa region.Dakini I, the first phase of the project, launched into Kent secondary schools and French secondary schools in Somme, Seine Maritime, Haute Normandie and Pas- de-Calais in 2004. The schools were given access to local and regional data available on the website from the Dakini Project for free.Dakini II launched into primary schools in Kent in January 2006. All primary schools now have access to the free resources available from the Dakini Project, including the software and the data available on the website.After the success in secondary schools, primary schools can prepare children to use the GIS resources for secondary level as it is now run in Key Stages 2-4. The Dakini Team offer free training and support and will travel to schools to provide training for teachers to get started in using the resources available.
Author: Claire Robinson
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