• Christopher Jelley

What's the Keyword Mr Jelley?


Storywalks has the grace of the goose at the moment, that gentle strength on the surface with a lot going on beneath making it all happen! The call out for keyword Storywalks at the Museum was shared last week through the Museums subscriber network and already we have a nice little queue of schools who want to be involved . . . incredible!

So what are we doing, and whats the grant for?

This ACE funded pilot takes the current geolocation system of Storywalks, which triggers text and image through locations (you need to be in the right spot for the chapter to open) and adds a 'keyword' trigger instead. In real terms this means a Storywalk chapter can be opened just by typing the right keyword into the browser rather than be in the correct geolocation.

Once unhooked from the GPS we can be inside buildings and thread creative writing narratives with new interior inspirations. Basically this means we can create trails through halls, museums and galleries with ease (though the geolocation function is still a major element of Storywalks.)

Works on the back end of the Storywalks Engine (the part that schools log into when we do a Storywalk session) starts today, making the process of adding keywords and editing chapter text really simple. At the moment the keyword functionality is already live though a bit clunky and I've completed a few trials with Huish Episcopi Academy at the Somerset Rural Life Museum and also more publicly with The Compton Verney Gallery and the The Lost Words publication (Hamish Hamilton). The latter requested visitors to walk the grounds of the gallery to word hoard posts, each post had a different keyword etched on to its face, and when typed in correctly would triggered the chapter content. For me this is exactly what Storywalks is all about and in the Compton Verney grounds there was still a requirement to physically walk to the post in the grounds to read the keyword.

But creating a teaching session inside a gallery will have its problems and teething issues, will the museum WiFi be up to the task, what are the logistics of 30 pupils in one gallery with iPads, can we work completely in the galleries or is the school room an essential component of the sessions? All of these parts will need to be polished and ironed out, some with process and techniques others with creative workarounds!

But what I am really excited about are the new creative writing possibilities for the pupils, the Somerset Museum is a seed bed of stories, all gathered up in one incredible place. There is a massive learning curve for me ahead, developing skills and techniques to draw out the key nuggets from this stunning museum, and if all progresses well then this should be the beginning of something really interesting and hopefully a longer term partnership.

If you'd like to have a go at The Lost Words keyword storywalk in your classroom or at your desk then link is below. There are also really great teachers notes for The Lost Words through the John Muir Trust for all key stages which I've used myself.

More workshop places

Plus there are still places available for classes to be part of the trial, so please get in touch. Primarily these are for the subscribing schools at the museum but soon these will be offered wider too so notify Storywalks of your interest, please send an email here or use the form through this site.

Links and resources

The Lost Words Explorers guide the John Muir Trust

The Lost Words Keyword Storywalk

The Lost Words exhibition is currently at the Foundling Museum, London until 6th May 2018

#StoryWalks #SomersetMuseum #Keyword #schoolworkshop #FreeWorkshops #creativeliteracy #Creativewriting

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