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This article was written in January 2004. GSUS has returned to Arnewood, 19th - 23rd March 2007.
Religious Studies lessons came alive at Arnewood this week. Every student in Years 7, 8 and 9 took their turn in the mobile, multimedia classroom that has been travelling the country. The GSUS experience starts with a 3D video projected on a large screen that really grabs the students' interest and attention. One Year 9 boy said “The 3D film was great – and we got to keep the 3D glasses to check out the website” (www.gsuslive.co.uk).
After the short film, students were introduced to one of three characters. Year 7 students heard from Kylie, whose friend had been taken ill. Kylie was afraid her friend might die, and students were asked to give her advice on what to do next. Year 8 students listened to Ben, whose brother stole money from their mum and left home. Year 9 students found out about Jack, who got picked on at school for being overweight. In each case, students could listen to music, hear what individuals had to say, read Jesus’ words from the Bible or watch a short clip from a film before deciding on what advice to give. At the end of the lesson they were presented with a print-out of their responses with further questions to think about.
Although it was a tight schedule to get over 700 students into the trailer in only four days, everyone agreed it was worth the effort. One Year 8 girl said “I like RS because you get to say what you think. I enjoyed this lesson a lot because I got to choose how to respond to the situation.” Her friend added, “It made you think about important questions that you don’t ask every day.”
Several teachers from other departments were impressed with the technology. One commented, “I use computers a lot and am always looking for new ways to get ideas across. The GSUS Live Trailer allowed students to learn independently and work at their own rate. It engaged and motivated the students, allowing them to make their own, personal response. And it was fun!”
Mr Emecz, the RS teacher who co-ordinated the 30 classes over the week, said it was a resounding success. “Everyone enjoyed their experience, and it raised a lot of issues that we’re following up in RS lessons. All of us get confronted by questions about life and death, forgiveness, fear and rejection as we go through life. The GSUS experience is a great starting point for discussions on these issues, and the website allows us to choose what happens next to Kylie, Ben and Jack."