28 Sep Showcasing ‘i-Reporter’ at the Kia Oval, London
Written By Eve and Lola – Year 8 student reporters
On the 25th of September, three Whitley Academy student reporters (Lola, Ciaran and Eve) accompanied by their teacher Mrs Nguyen, and Miss Sharon Stokes, Head of BBC School Report, headed down to London for the day.
The reason for our journey was that we had helped the BBC’s School Reporters’ team, the BBC News and Aardman Animations (the award winning animation studio who created Wallace & Gromit and Shaun the Sheep) to design the BBC’s Student Reporter game ‘i-Reporter’. It had been nominated for ‘Best Learning Game’. The award organisers were the Learning Technologies Awards. We were ecstatic to be able to go down to London to show off to the judges how truly amazing this game is!
We all met up at the Coventry train station along with Miss Sharon Stokes, and sat in the lounge waiting for the red Virgin train to arrive. Outside the weather was beautiful, with warm sunshine and light winds. The nice weather made us feel we were the luckiest people on earth! Finally our train arrived, so we got on, ready to go to London.
We settled comfortably in our seats, and were briefed on the presentation that Sharon was going to deliver, so that we would know each person’s part when we talked to the judging panel later on. We thought the train journey couldn’t get any more exciting, but Ciaran (our Year 10 reporter) began to solve a rubik’s cube super fast in his seat, and taught us all how to do it! We looked at Ciaran’s fingers with amazement!
On arriving at London’s Euston station, we wanted to go sightseeing as we still had some free time. The group’s decision was a short visit to Buckingham Palace, which we thought would be a great tourist opportunity for Eve because she had never been there before. So after leaving the Green Park underground tube station, we entered the beautiful and colourful greenery of Green Park, leading towards the garden of Buckingham Palace. There it was! The Palace! It looked beautiful, it looked elegant, it looked amazing and it was like nothing we had ever seen before. Lola realised that the flag was up and the lights were on inside, so Her Majesty was in! We could see visitors coming from different corners of the earth around us, people talking, laughing, posing for pictures. It was such a nice ambience!
Soon after, Lola, our Year 8 student reporter, got distracted by some beautiful horses. More specifically, ‘Quartz’ the white police horse, speckled with little black dots. Lola dragged the whole of our crew over to have a picture with it.
Next on our list was the Kia Oval Cricket Arena, the venue of the Learning Technology Awards.
We reached our destination and our faces lit up, we were fascinated. We made our big entrance through the Alex Stuart gate then proceeded to the third floor to find our Executive Boxes where we could stay for the preparation. We soon discovered that the Boxes were very fancy and gave us a view of the whole arena. We also overlooked some famous London buildings like the Shard, the Gherkin, the London Walkie-Talkie skyscraper, the Cheesegrater, the London Eye and many more. Sadly, we couldn’t see Big Ben, or rather its stylish scaffolding, because lots of trees were in the way. Instead something else caught our eye, a cricket practice session was going on, and we got to watch it whilst enjoying our lunch!
The time came for us to go and see the judges, and show them why the BBC’s ‘i-Reporter’ game was so amazing and share what put us above the rest. Much to our surprise, we were put in quite a small room, but that didn’t stop us from making this the best presentation we’d ever done. Our category was the ‘Best Learning Game in the UK’. Sharon started off by introducing the game and what went into producing it. Then very smoothly Sharon did a Q&A session with the three of us. We talked about the background of our involvement with the BBC’s School Reporters’ team, and what it was like to be able to contribute to the making of the game ‘i-Reporter’, and what it was like to play it. We shared some of our research (from our friends and family members) with the judges and they showed a strong interest in our stories.
Next up was the ’10 minute Q and A’ session, where the judges asked us anything that popped into their heads, which surprisingly instead took 25 minutes. It, although being serious and professional, was casual at times because the main judge said to us that he got his children to play the game, and that reassured us that we were doing well even without the presentation. We guessed we’d find out in November, when the winners are due to be announced.
We were relieved, a huge weight had been lifted off our shoulders, and we felt we had done a great job in showcasing the ‘i-Reporter’ game’s potential. To celebrate, we had a mini photo-shoot inside and outside of the Reception Area of the Kia Oval Cricket Ground. We loved posing for pictures in a setting that had so much history dating back to 1845!
After all that madness we decided to head back to the train station, where Eve was almost lost forever in a sea of primary school children. Whilst on the journey back, Sharon shared with us a riveting story about how she wrote down in her notebook the word “parrot”, and then checked the next day and could not remember why on earth she wrote that word down! Hah!
We were all exhausted, especially Lola who, after the jam packed day we had, fell fast asleep on the way home. Before we knew it we were speeding into Coventry station. Sharon stayed on the train to Birmingham so we waved through the window as she left. It was a day we’ll never forget, so many sightseeing places, so much fun and so much laughter.
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