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This is a message for teachers within reach of London or for colleagues who
might know a good school for me to contact with this request...  I hope this
is appropriate for the list.
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I am currently working on the new iteration of the British Library's
learning website, and am looking for a group of approximately 10 students
from Years 12 or 13 (or possibly from 10 and 11), who are interested in
broad ideas, like thinking across discipline boundaries, and who are
creative. We were imagining that these would be gifted/talented students,
but this is not a firm boundary. We want to work with them for a day at The
British Library in London, followed by around two weeks of online discussion
and research using the discussion boards at our website, all of which will
lead up to the students generating creative outcomes using British Library
sources. The creative outcomes will then be uploaded to our site. There are
two programmes we are keen to run, with one commencing quite soon.

THE IDEAS STORAGE ZONE (May 2004)

For students with a philosophical outlook who enjoy making connections and
dealing with unusual and somewhat abstract problems. The whole nature of a
library is to put ideas into a certain kind of order, based on one or
another kind of taxonomy. But which taxonomy is right, and can you really
organise ideas so easily, especially when they come from all over the world
and history and don't seem to agree with each other?

Students spend a day at The British Library, engaging with the idea of "the
order of things", doing a series of stimulus activities and engaging in
discussion with Gethan Dick, an educator who also works in our basements,
and Anna Lobbenberg, a researcher with a background in the humanities. They
would establish what sort of creative response they might make to the
problem of ideas storage, and will collaborate over the next two weeks,
using the web discussion boards as their "online base", before sending in
their creative responses for each other to comment on. There will also be a
research element in this period too.

BODY OF KNOWLEDGE (possibly June 2004, to be negotiated)

For students (particularly of Religious Education, Sociology, Biology), who
like to look outside the walls of their discipline, this is a chance to
engage with sources from the British Library that express different ideas
from different cultural, religious and scientific traditions. Students
compare the traditions and try to find out more about the thinking that
gives rise to the notions in each, as well as possibly debating each other
on the plausibility of different models of the body as a system.

The experience should help students to sharpen up their skills in
negotiating matieral from different cultures, and could also lead them to
thinking about what counts as truth in the philosophy of a subject like
biology.

If these sound as if they would be of interest to your students, and if you
can think of some particular students you can think of to work with us, I'd
be really grateful to hear.
Thanks
Tim Saward
E-learning Manager
The British Library
020 7412 7708


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