The ART Award for Innovation in the Effective Use of Technology in Teaching - Geoff Horritt

Background

Geoff Horritt is the local organiser at the Weston Hills Ringing Centre (WHRC) an ART Hub, and Ringing Master at Sandon & Wallington. He is involved in all forms of training for ringers from initial handling up to Learning the Ropes Level 5 across the benefice of Weston, Sandon, Wallington and Rushden, in particular at Holy Trinity Church Weston, the centre of the WHRC. Training has been taking place for around five years, and has been more structured since 2015.

Teachers involved in the training with Geoff (Art Tutor) include:

  • Richard Clements (ART Associate Member)
  • Shelagh Cox (ART Member)
  • Jo Schurch (Attended ART Module1)
  • Don Salisbury (Attended ART Module1)
  • David Marlow (ART Associate Member and attended Module 2)

Approximately 30 recruits have been trained in total, ranging in age from 12 to 70. In 2018 some form of training beyond the normal Thursday practice night has taken place in most weeks. Supportive links with the Knights Templar School, teaching handbells at the local primary school, has shown encouragement and good public relations.

The initial objectives set out in 2015 were to build a training Centre at the tower of Weston to provide focussed training from handling up to LtR Level5 and beyond, to serve the local towers in the Benefice, and then be extended to the District. In addition two local towers at Sandon and Wallington were to have single bell sensors installed. These initial objectives have been met this year with the installation of sensors on all bells at Holy Trinity Weston, and the setting up of two work stations.

The formal arrangement for an ART hub has been put in place, The Weston Hills Ringing Centre (WHRC an ART Hub. The sensor at Wallington is installed. In addition a mobile frame and Saxilby dumb bell have been built and tested. Of the 30 new recruits who have been taught for local towers (20 this year alone), two trainees reached LtR Level 5 in 2017 and attended the Birmingham Masterclass.

Achievement

From early 2015 the Saxilby Dumb Bell with Computer software , Camera, Projector and Screen have been used for bell handling instruction and change ringing practice under the supervision of Geoff Horritt.

For 6 months in the early part of 2018 a second Saxilby dumb bell (donated by Hitchin tower) was set up in the WHRC enabling multiple training sessions. This was particularly useful this year, to cope with the large number of new recruits. A mobile frame has been built which together with the Saxilby is now available to district towers and local organisations. It will be used for the Essex 2019 ringing course.

John Thorpe sensors and computer software have been installed on all the bells together with the capability for dual work stations to allow two students to be taught at the same time but using real bells in place of the “Saxilbys”. A 33” TV monitor has also been purchased to supplement the projector and screen for parallel visual skills development - this will be wall mounted.

The sound from the Weston bells has been recorded on a smart phone and the files converted for use with Abel. This can produce a more realistic tone for the bells in “silent” practice. One of the tower members will now use some specialised recording equipment to improve the sound quality and a full body length mirror is available so that the ringer can see their handling style in real time. This is a low-tech solution to show the student their handling style, and is particularly useful for showing right transfers and pulling through on both strokes. There is no requirement for a video. This is good for youngsters as no permanent record is taken.

30 Students have used the equipment since 2015.

The Saxilby dumb bell was mainly used for individual change ringing practice in 2016 & 2017 and bell handling in 2018. The second Saxilby was also used for bell handling practice in the early part of this year.

The WHRC simulator has been used mainly for rounds practice with the large number of recruits this year, but previously from 2015 for individual instruction.

Specific achievements:

  • Emma & Philip Bailey - achieved LtR Level 5 (practice to Plain Bob Minor level on the simulator in 2017)
  • Rev Andrew Holford - up to Plain Bob Minor practice in 2017
  • Christine Phillips - Practice up to Plain Bob Doubles inside 2016
  • 7 ringers have rung the tenor behind and took part in Plain Hunt Doubles practice in 2016 /2017
  • 2 have achieved LtR Level 2
  • Other district members have also had practice but are not on the LtR scheme
  • In 2018 the WHRC has been mainly used for teaching bell handling and then rounds
  • 22 new ringers started
  • 3 have achieved LtR Level 2 achievers, 2 of whom are ready for the next step
  • 13 have achieved LtR Level 1with 4 under tuition for this level

Bell Handling is taught by a combination of Saxilby dumb bell and tied tower bells. The Saxilby is particularly beneficial for youngster, setting practice (with and without the use of the camera) and self practice where the learner can be left without close supervision as the bell will stop if handling mistakes are made.

Rounds are practiced on the tower bells with simulated sound and clappers tied, involving various combinations of bells and ringers. )An example of this: The computer rings the tenor, an experienced ringer on the treble (with visual generated by Abel) and learners on 2, 3, 4, 5 as available. Or alternatively, the computer rings 3, 4, 5, & 6, with an experienced ringer on the treble and the learner on 2.

Individual work stations are also available for single bell practice, with the tenor behind and Abel ringing the method.

The Future

  • Completion of the Ringing Centre set up - at least two head sets need to be procured to enable better use of dual work stations, with a camera to be set up on the bells.
  • Completion of the single bell training facilities at Sandon & Wallington.
  • The WHRC is now operating as an ART Hub with a Committee of four. Training sessions are already in the district programme for next year and the Whiting society will probably visit in the Autumn.
  • Training sessions using other local Ringing Centres have been used over the last few years for District level training events.
  • The WHRC is proving extremely useful. We are already starting the Thursday night practices early on the simulator before ringing open for the normal practice night of 7.30pm to 9.00pm. Those ringing 'rounds' are able to get a lot of rope time prior to the start of the normal practice and the two youngsters are also benefiting with rope time. since they leave earlier at 8.30pm.
  • More mid week sessions are planned to help with the new Cottered band and the other 2018 recruits. Without the WHRC it would be difficult to offer the new recruits sufficient rope time for reasonable progress this year as they would tend to overload any local practice.

Sponsored by John Taylor & Co

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Winner: Geoff Horritt

Highly Commended: Old North Berks

Branch


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The new Cottered band

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