Learning Technologies Team and the HeadStart Youth Engagement Team took digital HeadStart to the wilds of Wales.

Staying at The Towers Outdoor Education Centre, they were joined by 48 students over five days, 24 from Bantock Primary who stayed Monday to Wednesday, and a further 24 students from Colton Hills Community School, who joined us from Wednesday to Friday.


Day 1

Whilst enjoying some beautiful winter sunshine, we set up a number of challenges for the students to participate in. Once settled in, students were split into groups of four to play our orienteering game with a twist. Each team had a map and were told to find a particular numbered station on the map, they set off in all directions to hunt for their first point.
Upon finding the station, a QR code had been placed there, they scanned the code to reveal a memory task for one of the team members. The teams had to find 12 stations in all. When all teams had completed the orienteering task, they were tested to see what they had remembered.
We set up a courtroom and invited a ‘Low Court Judge’ to preside over the answers. If correct, the team member received a warm round of applause. If incorrect, the team were put before the firing squad, which consisted of two powerful water pistols that sprayed the whole team. Many teams got wet.

The purpose of the game is for the team members to learn about each other, interact with each other and work as a team. The water pistols offered excitement, fear and risk of consequences.
After drying off and enjoying a hot evening meal, the students went out into the dark for a night walk. Armed with head torches, they scrambled over challenging terrain in the dark, using ropes to pull themselves up steep banks and navigating fallen trees. The walk lasted some distance and on their return from the chilly January darkness, everyone was ready for hot chocolate and an early night.


Day 2.

The day of the big expedition, built around the popular ‘Pokémon Go’ game, we hid Pokeballs across 6 miles of the Welsh countryside. Each team had to follow a digital map to find points where the Pokeballs were hidden. Along the way were clues to the correct route in the form of different Pokémon posters, when scanned, the posters opened a series of questions for the team to answer, points were awarded for the most correct answers hidden in the app. We used iBeacons to unlock information when the teams reached the correct locations. Guidance and supervision for the teams was kept at a distance, the learners had to think for themselves and make decisions as a team, they learned Geography skills, communication and coordination skills and developed their sense of responsibility.


Day 3.

T-Shirt day. We talked about how we reacted to difficult times in our lives and the people we wanted to be, how we presented ourselves and how we wanted to make the most of opportunities before us. The learners made a promise to themselves and designed a t shirt around that promise. They will all receive their t shirts in the coming weeks as a reminder of who they want to be.