Fountaineers is a project in which staff and pupils are helped to design and build a programmable and interactive fountain in the grounds of their school. The pupils own the fountain – deciding how it is used, programming it to behave in particular ways for specific purposes, and organising its use, management and maintenance. Children on the project increasingly direct their own learning and continue to invent ever more creative ways of using it.
Children are encouraged to work together in a problem-solving manner as they figure out how to manipulate the fountain. They will use information from across the curriculum – science, dance, ICT, drama, citizenship – to create programmes that enable the fountain to perform and interact with people. Pupils may decide to program the fountain to be entertaining one day and to enforce rules or gather information the next.
The Fountaineers project has three equally important aspects. The first is the design process in which we follow a new approach to participatory design. We are working with all teachers and all pupils to ensure that everyone has a voice, and that disparate ideas are able to be effectively combined and distilled into a workable and coherent fountain design brief.
The second is the development of the fountain itself and of its control system. It is vital that the fountain has a variety of inputs and outputs so that it is flexible, able to be used for many things and reprogrammed in multiple ways. The third aspect is the ongoing integration of the fountain in and out of lessons.
To find out more about this project, please click here.