Foreign visitors learn lessons in Doncaster classroom

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History, industry and culture were just some of the topics in the spotlight when a primary school welcomed a group of overseas visitors – and used high-tech methods to bring lessons to life.

More than 30 European students and their teachers visited Armthorpe’s Shaw Wood Academy as part of a three-year project to strengthen international links and explore innovative approaches to education.

Pupils from Finland, Spain, Germany, Slovakia and Hungary plus a neighbouring school in Bradford, spent several days learning about life in Yorkshire with their year six hosts acting as tour guides.

The visitors, aged from 11 to 15, enjoyed a trip to Salts Mill in West Yorkshire, built by the 19th century wool merchant and philanthropist Titus Salt who famously created Saltaire village to improve living conditions for his workers.

Back in the classroom, pupils teamed up in mixed country groups to learn about jobs of the past, present and future with discussions ranging from coal-mining to computer programming.

They made full use of technology including the Aurasma mobile app which enables images to become interactive by adding extras such as video clips, commentaries and animations. Apps are used extensively at Shaw Wood to tap into new ways of learning and keep children in touch with the technological advances that will play a big part in their adult lives.

The creative pupils also designed their own app and produced business logos, T-shirts and adverts.

Shaw Wood teacher and IT co-ordinator Patrick Carroll said the visit had been a great success and the children had learned a lot from sharing ideas and experiences.

“Our visitors were surprised and interested at how tactile we were with technology. Their English skills were fantastic and our pupils spoke clearly to help communication so there were no language barriers at all and everyone really enjoyed working together.”

Pupils will now continue their studies by conducting a survey about jobs and interviewing relatives and local business and sports people about their work.

The Aurasma app for iPhones and android can be downloaded free from Google Play Store or iTunes.