My Voice-My School is returning

my voice my school

Digital Explorer’s My Voice-My School is returning for the 2016/17 academic year. The project connects Palestine Refugee students from Syria with students in Europe to debate and advocate for a quality education for all. We are looking for classes at secondary schools in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden to take part in this year’s programme.

My Voice-My School is a joint response by Digital Explorer, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and Skype in the classroom to the degradation of education caused by the Syria crisis.

For more information, watch the CNN report on the project below and visit the My Voice-My School website.

To get your school involved in the My Voice-My School 2016/17 project, register your interest now by emailing

Mobiles ‘yes’, Mosques ‘no’

A digest of recent polls in The Week revealed that

52% of Britons believe the nation is deeply divided along religious lines. 46% say religious diversity has had a negative impact on the country. 55% would be troubled if a large mosque were built in their neighbourhood. Only 15% would feel the same about a church.
Manchester University social attitudes survey/ Daily Mail

Half of British children aged five to nine own a mobile phone, despite Government advice that no one under 16 should have one. 75% of children aged seven to 15 have one. The average age for a child to get his first mobile phone is eights and the average child’s bills is £10.50 a month.
PhonePay Plus/News of the World


View of the Middle East from the BBC

Wordle: BBC Middle East News Feed 3 May 2009

This is a wordle based on a the Middle East news feed from the BBC. Fair or not?

There is a discussion page available for pupils.

Expedition site wins award

The website for the Offscreen Student Expedition 2008 site won the Y Design Award for Best Community site. Congratulations to the team – Chris, Ciara, Colin and John – and it’s great to see their hard work pay off.

It also shows how important good design is in breaking down barriers between different cultures.

The Offscreen Student Expedition 2008 was a collaboration between Digital Explorer and the Offscreen Education Programme and was supported by HSBC, the British Council, the Said Foundation and Gulf Air.

New School Environment Project video

It was very exciting to run a pilot School Grounds Project at Eastbury Comprehensive School. We used many of the same techniques that we have employed on overseas expeditions – digital media, blogging, geo-tools (Google Earth and Google Maps) – to investigate the School Grounds and then take action to make a difference to the school environment.

This pilot wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Google UK and especially Kate Hammond and Liz Ericson. Also many thanks go to the pupils and staff at Eastbury Comprehensive School, who were amazing, enthusiastic and talented. Special thanks to Tracy Knight and Ruth Owen for their help and support.

This amazing film was made by the wonderful Jonny Madderson of Just So Films. Thank you for all your hard work.

Continuing thanks to Mark Thackara at Olympus for the great pupil-proof TOUGH digital cameras, that we used for photography and video during the pilot.

As always thank you to Marjan who makes sure that everything just happens, somehow, though still not quite sure how.

LIVE! HSBC Offscreen Student Expedition


The HSBC Offscreen Student Expedition 2008 is now live. Please visit the site and see the great films and artwork that the students from the Middle East have been making, including an interview with Alan Duncan MP, which you can see above.

The HSBC Offscreen Student Expedition is a project run by the Offscreen Education Programme in partnership with Digital Explorer and seeks to create greater understanding between the Middle East and the UK. Currently, 8 young Middle Eastern artists are travelling across the UK, creating an authentic portrait of the country to share with their peers in Lebanon, Oman, Bahrain and the UAE.

Give the kids the skills they need…

I was interviewed by Brit Hammer a couple of weeks ago and have been meaning to link to it.

Why are schools so afraid of web 2.0?

Something that has been bugging me for a long time is the inability of forming any educational programme that involves social networking tools such as YouTube, MySpace, Flickr, blogging tools or most other web 2.0 tools and sites in a formal educational context.

Young people are using these outside of school and then have to “power down” as soon as they enter the school gates. This experience is well described in a Guardian article ‘In class, I have to power down’.

Who are the blockers? Who is holding back young people accessing the social web for positive means in schools?

Services such as replicate MySpace or Bebo type communities in a better moderated environment, thus allaying some child protection concerns. The Child Exploitation & Online Protection Centre is doing good work, especially with the Thinkuknow campaign for young people.

The real losers are going to be young people. Organisations looking to create positive educational materials and projects for pupils will be held back as the most attractive and cheapest web communications methods are banned from the classroom, leaving fashion, music, gaming and trends to dominate pupils’ online time.

Wouldn’t it be great, if teachers could create meaningful multimedia blogs about projects and educational visits in the UK and overseas and use the open source and free web technologies available to engage young people in creating a better world?

Any answers or suggestion greatfully received!

Offscreen Expedition Trailer

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