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Emerging Technologies Blog > Posts > Paralympian Speaks to the Children at Gnoll School
May 31
Paralympian Speaks to the Children at Gnoll School

Sara Storey.JPG
Nervously I awoke, thinking to myself; "Please let it work this morning" Today was Monday 21st of May and we were going to interview Mrs Sarah Storey, a Paralympian Gold medalist. Sarah was in Manchester that morning and was booked to fly out to South Africa to compete in a cycling race with her team. How was this possible? Skype, twitter and an iPad was the answer.

Several weeks ago I contacted Geraint Thomas through twitter. He was busy racing in the Giro in Italy at the time. I explained my desire to try and arrange for the children at Gnoll school to speak to Olympians before the London Olympics. This was our theme for the summer term and we wanted to link this to our new iPads for school. A journey which was still in its infancy. He very kindly answered my tweet and gave me the name of his PA. I quickly tweeted her and she too very kindly asked me to send her an email explaining my request.

After several emails and explanations on how we wanted to interview Geraint, we found that he was too busy in Italy and on his return would be in a Olympic base camp which would mean no contact from anyone. However Gayle (Geraint's PA) suggested Sarah, who she also represented and had on several occasions used Skype.
 
E-mails were quickly swapped on the Thursday and Friday and the interview was booked for Monday at 9:15am. Skype was an issue on the iPads as it was blocked by the filtering service offered by NPT. After a panic stricken phone call to Kelly and Spencer on Friday evening, it was resolved and the session was back on. In the meantime Mrs Carney's class were busily researching Sarah and questions were created by the class.

 
Monday arrived and a troubled Headteacher walked the corridors hoping that this would work.
From past experiences (working for NPT Teacher Advisor for IT) I had my reservations; what if.......
 

Mr Thomas added Sarah's address to the Skype contact list and we sat watching the image. Waiting for the grey image to have a green tick at the bottom right corner. There it was and Mrs Carney pressed the connect button. The children sat patiently and watched the image on the interactive whiteboard (the iPad was connected to the projector via a VGA cable)

 

Suddenly Sarah appeared and everyone smiled and waved. The interview was on. The children asked excellent questions which really challenged Sarah. What would you have been if you weren't a Paralympian? A teacher was her reply and I'm sure she would make a fantastic teacher. Sarah was meant to be on Skype for 15 min but she finally had to finish after 25 min, saying that the questions asked were better than some reporters!

 

Sarah has a new group of followers and even though she was a season ticket holder at Manchester United, she will be cheered and supported by her new friends at the Gnoll school during the Paralympics in London this September.

 
This was one day where this Headteacher remembered why he became a teacher once again!