The King’s School ‘Write of Passage’ Project

The King’s School ‘Write of Passage’ Project

8 August 2018 Life Writing Autiobiography Memoir Collaboration

In a progressive move, The King’s School has partnered with two local businesses to ensure their students become well-rounded individuals, ready for any future.

The Year 9 students are using newly integrated Internet Communications Technology & voice-to-text Artificial Intelligence technology to interview local Arcare Oatland’s aged care residents on their lives and create personalised memoir books to present at Grandparent’s Day.

Eleven keen English and History students have been paired with eleven residents and throughout term 3 will use first-in-the-world technology, developed in Sydney, to easily collect and save some of the resident’s life stories and knowledge.

Head of Enrichment and Extension at The King’s School, Kathryn Fraser, said “The boys emailed me their expressions of interest as they have chosen to participate in this enrichment experience themselves and all of their reasons were truly inspirational.

They see the importance of being able to use their skills to listen to someone else’s life story, document it and gift it to them and their families as a great privilege. The relationship the boys form with their resident is paramount to the project’s success and they can see how this project and the time spent with the older generation contributes to both their academic and character education.

I look forward to seeing how they will grow throughout the project as they learn about their resident’s life and gain insight into how the world has changed throughout their lifetimes.”

In an effort to be more relevant, students will ask questions from the adolescence years section of the templates, including questions on school, hobbies, friends, sports, music, life lessons and turning points.

The interview-style interaction is great practice for future-proofing students for job interview situations and develops complex communication skills, in a stress-free environment.

Arcare resident ‘Jacko’ was delighted that his partner student, Angus, was from the same country town, Coolah “I’m so glad I’m doing this project with a bushie like me,” he exclaimed.

When asked if they thought intergenerational interaction was important, one King’s student responded, “I think it is good to communicate to elderly, as age doesn't really give a reason why we couldn't communicate in the first place.”

Arcare Community Marketing Manager, Rachel Aquilina, bused back to the school with the students. “They were all so excited, chatting and sharing the highlights of the stories their resident had told them, it was wonderful.

Not only is this program giving our residents the opportunity to put their life stories to paper for their family to keep forever, but these students will have the opportunity to learn about a life we may never imagine of in this day and age. We are very excited for the relationships these students and residents will build over the weeks,” Rachel said.

Students have been going to aged care as a community service activity for many years, usually to sing or dance or recite some prose, but with technology the interaction can accomplish so much more, for the people involved and the wider community.

Students don’t have to type or write fast enough to capture the resident’s spoken stories, they simply press ‘record’ and sit back to enjoy the interaction. Once back at school, the students login to the online book to edit the transcribed stories and listen to the audio files to check facts and maintain their resident’s book’s ‘voice’.

The resident’s own family can also contribute content and photos directly into the printable digital book, ideal for family members living elsewhere.

Students learn to use technology as a tool to enhance their usual capabilities and practice interacting with technology through voice-commands.

The King’s students will present the finished books to the residents and their families at a Grandparent’s Day celebration hosted at Arcare Oatlands.

The King’s School: An Anglican day and boarding school for boys. Founded in 1831, it is Australia's oldest independent school. http://www.kings.edu.au/

Arcare: A family-owned business delivering our unique brand of 5-star aged care to older Australians since 1997. https://arcare.com.au

Bookform: An online program to automate collecting family & community stories into printable digital books. https://bookform.com.au