When we was invited to exhibit Real Snail Mail at Laboral, Gijón Asturias for the Process as Paradigm exhibition (23 April – 30 August 2010) we started a discussion with the educational team about the potential of a smaller enclosure being hosted in a local school. Laboral seized the opportunity and started contacting local schools, in just a week a school was on board, Gloria Fuertes Infant School in Gijón, for 3 to 6 years old children.
On the 18th February we went to the Gloria Fuertes Infant School to install the first school hosted version of Real Snail Mail. We gave a presentation to the teachers and the Laboral education team, so they could gain an insight into the background of the project and provide some thoughts on how Real Snail Mail could be used to inspire creative learning.
Within this session we had a brainstorm with the teachers and discussed ideas on potential activities/methods in how they could use the system within the classroom. All the teachers seemed very inspired by the project and keen to start actively using it as a learning tool.
On the 19th February each class from the school (a total of ten classes) rotated round to the enclosure for an informal talk. The children were very enthused and we opened up a discussion by asking the children questions such as ‘What mode of transport did they think was the fastest way of delivering a message’ i.e train, aeroplane, car, bike. This allowed the children to think about delivering messages quickly. The session was very playful and with open questions such as whether a snail is faster than an aeroplane. The children responded well to this questioning and it allowed them to build up to the idea that the internet was faster than other modes of transporting messages. Each class took away a snail so each child could draw their class snail and think of a name. The classes voted on one drawing and name to represent their snail on the profile page.
This enabled the classes to start taking ownership of their snail and there was already a dialogue emerging on which class snail would be the fastest deliverer.
Since our visit the school has developed a whole range of classroom activities using the Real Snail Mail project, you can see some of their work on the School’s Blog.
Overall, both days at the school were very rewarding and we took away a very positive experience allowing us to think about the potentials of working with other schools using this project. We would especially like to thank Lucia Arias and Monica Bello at Laboral for enabling this project to happen. We are looking forward to revisiting Gijón next week for our next Real Snail Mailing experience in the Process as Paradigm exhibition where we are exhibiting a large enclosure containing 40 new Spanish snails.