Stu­dents present learn­ing jour­ney

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

Stars will fall in wheat fields at Patchewol­lock this month when Tempy Pri­mary School pre­sents a mu­si­cal com­bin­ing dig­i­tal con­tent and live per­for­mance.

Multi award-win­ning play­wright, com­poser, di­rec­tor, de­signer, dra­maturge and ed­u­ca­tor Ant Crow­ley has been help­ing 17 stu­dents present an ‘au­then­tic glimpse of life in the Mallee through the eyes of stu­dents’.

Prin­ci­pal Ch­eryl Torpy said the school was lucky to be paired with Crow­ley through Vir­tual Cre­ative Pro­fes­sion­als in Schools, a ‘cre­ative learn­ing part­ner­ship’ as part of an Artists in Schools pro­gram ex­pan­sion.

“We use dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies to bridge the ge­o­graphic di­vide that of­ten pro­hibits our com­mu­ni­ties from ac­cess­ing cre­ative pro­fes­sion­als,” she said.

“Our school was paired with Ant, who en­ters our class­room weekly via our Poly­com vir­tual con­fer­enc­ing equip­ment.”

Mrs Torpy said watch­ing Crow­ley and the stu­dents col­lab­o­rate on a script in real time, hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres apart us­ing Google Docs, was amaz­ing.

“Chil­dren’s po­ems, sto­ries and im­pro­vi­sa­tions turn into lyrics and dances. Pa­per and pen­cil art­works are now an­i­ma­tions and our stu­dents are record­ing with Garage Band to make sound­scapes,” she said.

“Ev­ery child’s learn­ing jour­ney, from prep to grade six has been ev­ery­thing any­one could imag­ine 21st cen­tury school­ing to be.”

‘When a Star Fell in Our Wheat Field’ is an al­le­gor­i­cal fairy-tale ex­plor­ing themes of change and trans­for­ma­tion, through the imag­i­na­tion of chil­dren.

The au­di­ence will ex­pe­ri­ence the ‘story’ the stu­dents in­vent, as well as their own story.

Crow­ley said the ‘story within a story’ would present sev­eral in­ter­est­ing con­nec­tions.

“I think the stu­dents – and their com­mu­nity – have some­thing to teach us all about adapt­ing to change, par­tic­u­larly change that is not driven by choice, but ne­ces­sity – and I think this re­veals it­self in an al­le­gor­i­cal story – wo­ven through video di­aries – and in­formed by the won­der­ment of the land­scape,” he said.

“The imag­i­na­tion and will­ing­ness of the kids to take cre­ative risks while mak­ing ‘When a Star Fell in Our Wheat Field’ is in­spi­ra­tional. I wish the city kids I teach could watch how the Mallee kids work, their prob­lem solv­ing, their team­work and their tal­ent.

“They are ex­tra­or­di­nary young peo­ple with less op­por­tu­nity than ur­ban kids to ex­pe­ri­ence the per­form­ing arts first­hand. It’s been an eye-opener watch­ing them cre­ate their own lyrics, di­a­logue, dance moves and scenes, ex­per­i­ment­ing with pup­petry, an­i­ma­tion and songs while they’re work­ing in Tempy and I’m di­rect­ing them via TV screen in a small room hun­dreds of miles away.”

Crow­ley said the ex­pe­ri­ence was a huge learn­ing curve.

“The Tempy staff and their par­ents have shown enor­mous courage and will­ing­ness to em­brace vir­tual tech­nol­ogy to en­hance the ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties for their kids,” he said.

“Hats off to all in­volved. We still have the most im­por­tant part to go – the per­for­mance at Patchewol­lock Town Hall on Novem­ber 24.” The show starts at 7.30pm. Peo­ple can visit http://tem pyps.global2.vic.edu.au for more in­for­ma­tion.

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