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Kathryn Evans - Design Narrative - Enterprise Tycoon

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30 March 2015


Newly employed at a high school I was asked to design and run a 4 day masterclass for year 9 gifted and talented students in the easter holidays.  I was employed as an ICT teacher but the school were aware my degree was in business studies and the business studies teacher was not someone they wanted to teach a masterclass


The class was to take place in school, during the holidays.  We were allocated a large open plan humanities area equipped with desks, chairs, flipcharts and a trolley full of laptops.  Students expected were desginated as “gifted and talented” but unknown to me, I had only a list of names to go by.


The goal of the 4 days was to have groups of students ready to start a school based enterprise project in the summer term.  This was designed to be a competition with groups raising money for charity during charities week at school and prizes for the top group.  My personal measure of success was to have all students being engaged and willing to further their enterprise.


I created a wiki with complete lesson plans for the 4 days.  I split the days as follows

  1. Business Day - Establishing company, name, skills audit, product choices, roles, SWOT

  2. Marketing Day - Understand branding, create company logo, corporate identity, marketing plan/materials

  3. Product Showcase - Demo product, create financial forecast, posters, social media plan

  4. Dragons Den - prepare a presentation to give to visiting “dragons” to secure £10 funding per team as start up funds.

Next I used my own contacts to secure some local businessmen to visit for presentation day, these were members of a very active local Rotary club and familiar faces to the students.  

As day 1 progressed I became acutely aware that the students were not gifted and talented as I had been given to understand, in fact they were a mixed bunch which largely consisted of underperforming and behaviourally challenged students.  I also became aware that the schools policy of not teaching ICT at KS3 had left them with inadequate computing skills.  To overcome this obstacle I quickly scaled down some the work I had included so that they would not have to upload everything to the group wiki each night and they would work in groups I allocated rather than choosing friendship groups.  

I also changed the fourth day so that rather than Dragons Den it was Sharing forum, our “dragons” would each talk for 10 minutes first about their own experiences in business and the student groups would each have 15 minutes afterwards to share their ideas.


I expected all the groups to come up with a viable enterprise idea, with the exception of one group they did, the last group never demonstrated how their idea would be viable with a start up funding of £10.

I expected all the groups to produce a wiki - outlining all of their ideas, work, marketing.  These were dropped due to time constraints with the students being at a lower than expected level.

I expected all of the groups to present their enterprise projects as complete business plans with financial projections, marketing plans/materials and a brand identity to our dragons.  This was largely a met objective with all of the groups presenting brilliantly but with only 2 groups including financial objectives.

The “dragons” on the day pledged to add £100 to the charity funds raised.

The final objective was to raise money through the enterprise projects after the Easter holidays.  This objective was not met at all, I was given a heavy teaching workload and spent many morning trying to round up the groups to get them ready to sell their products during charities week but I never managed to get more than one or two students to each meeting.  Eventually I donated the £50 which had been meant to fund the groups to the two local charities the groups had originally nominated.


I would say always get a clear idea of your students ability, I should have insisted on seeing their recent levels/reports or even their “gifted and talented” paperwork.  

If a project is to be on-going at a later date a fixed weekly meeting should be set and agreed with all participants/stakeholders.  If I were to do this again I would have a letter ready to go home to parents before the week was over.

In order to make a succesful enterprise project on such a smalll budget I would introduce a vote for the best two projects at the end of the week and then move all the participants into those two teams to compete for the prize.  £10 for 5 teams was unrealistic to get a product ready for sale only in a specific week, even the cheapest products would have such a limited supply that there would not have been time to re-stock and sell again the same week.  Also having only one teacher to supervise 5 groups selling products in school could have proved a logistical nightmare as students had identified different places to target their product within the school building.

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Tom Cheek
11:59am 31 March 2015

It sounds like you did a great job in using your network to create an exciting opportunity for these learners.  I can appreciate the frustrations in having to adapt somuch on the orginal scheme, so to accomadate the needs of the learners but this is demonstrating that through activity learning you can adjust to ensure a positive learning experience.  On reading other contributions in threads, it sounds like you offer your learners lots of authentic assessment and flipping the classroom is something I am utlising more and more.  Enjoyed reading your design narrative.  Tom : )

Anna Orridge
9:59am 3 April 2015

This sounds like a very well-considered series of activities and I noted with interest how you invited people from outside the usual school environment to talk to the students. Taking learners to new places or getting them to talk to individuals with relevant experience always pays dividends, I think. What you said about adjusting your planned series of activities to suit the abilities of your learners made me think about what was said in the interview with John Petit about content being distinct from activities. Although you did alter the content, the patterns of interaction and the technology you made use of was often quite close to your original plan. I suppose that illustrates that many of the representations do allow for flexibility in response to immediate needs.

Kieran Mulchrone
3:09pm 10 April 2015

Very impressive. You put a lot of work into this activity. It is remarkable that you were able to adapt during the activity to the mismatch between your expectations of the students abilities and reality. Incorporating a Dragons Den theme really glams up the activities and makes it attractive to students and in many ways makes it authentic - this is exactly what you have to do to get a business off the ground in real-life.

Kate Lister
6:55pm 11 April 2015

Oh wow, that must have been an unpleasant surprise. Sounds like you handled it really well, I would have been steaming. Like everyone on this thread, I love the external participants, the real cash incentives and the TV inspiration. :) Thanks for sharing!

Philip Odeny
11:46am 12 April 2015

Good work Kathryn, yours comes across to me as a perfect example of John Seely Brown et al's 'Authentic activity' in 'Situated Cognition and the Culture of Learning'

I think you made it even more authentic by including 'Practitioners' - Local businessmen. Brilliant!



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