hi-impact latest

hi-impact STEM Holiday Club

This summer, a whole new event occurred to shake the hi-impact staff out of their hazy summer state of hibernation.  Children arrived!

Over the week a bunch of polite, engaging and funny small people visited us, dragged us away from our desks and entertained us through a whole range of STEM activities that were educational: but not like school!

On Monday it was amazing to see our visitors, who began the day as strangers, work together in extraordinary feats of engineering to build bridges that could support well over 2kg out of just paper, lollipops sticks and sellotape.  They carried this teamwork out into the nearby Eastham Woods for some inventive den building, which included decoration, furniture and even skylights. Finishing the day as friends they designed and created a whole range of superb digital games using Sketch Nation on the iPads, including side running, up scrolling and puzzle matching genres. Phew!

Tuesday; and it was back outside again.  This time with a focus on photography and the children showed fantastic observational skills, coupled with their newly taught techniques to capture fascinating images of the natural environment of the Woods and River right on our doorstep.  Back at HQ, they showed further creativity by editing these photos on compiling into a stunning, musical, video art gallery. At lunchtime they embarked on outdoor audio adventures in space with some serious overacting! Inside again, the next mission was to create some stop animation videos of their moulded plasticine animals, green screened into different habitats with some especially impressive crabs and sharks brought to life.

Is it only Wednesday? A big favourite day.  A digital treasure hunt took place where groups used GPS to track virtual clues and reported back to base, where teams had to solve clues to try and win a prize.  Mission accomplished, despite dodging rain showers. This was followed by Minecraft: a hit with consultants and children alike! All working together in the same online world the children were totally absorbed and talking relentlessly in their virtual collaborations and adventures.

Thursday was rocket day.  The teams again showed the resourcefulness and teamwork to plan and fabricate bottle rockets.  Spectacular launches streaked across the sky, soaking impressed STEM Club staff and confusing nearby office workers!  After lunch everyone was building again. This time Makey Makeys were used to trigger events in computer programs that they had constructed in Scratch, with models of games controller assembled from cardboard and silver foil (conducting the electricity).

It was robot day on Friday and we were pleased to see the children still turning up as enthusiastically as every other day despite it being the end of the week.  Initially the children paired up to program and control a motor in different ways. Subsequently they built Lego robots around these motors and used their new skills to animate them.  It was great to see the invention and out-of-the-box thinking of our teams. Following a lunchtime of on-line, co-operative quizzes like Kahoot! The children embarked on some further programming challenges using a whole range of different programming apps on the iPads with groups also controlling floor robots to solve problems, and generally have fun.

At the end of a phenomenally busy week it was good to take a moment to reflect on proceedings.  All the STEM Club staff agreed. What a pleasure it had been to be involved with such funny, creative and friendly young people.  What an amazing week of different activities that all had been so engaged in and took full advantage of. How satisfying to see friendships formed and confidence grown in such a short period of time.  How great it had been to work with the whole team at hi-impact to plan, resource and support each other to make the every day a success from start to finish. Nice…

Written by Dave Ravenscroft, STEM Holiday Club Staff

hi-impact consultancy welcome two new staff members to the team; Jack Turner and Scott Wilkinson

hi-impact welcomed the latest staff members into their Technical Support division to work with Schools across the North West region.

Jack joins the team with years of experience in Technical Support and will be working alongside our School Technicians from September onwards. Jack has been spending the summer working on installs and shadowing our current hi-impact Technicians. He says of his first few weeks at hi-impact ‘I have found my start at hi-impact very interesting and I have learnt so much about the server side of IT in such a small time. Everyone has been very kind and welcoming which has really helped me relax and take in as much information as possible. In my first 3 weeks have been updating and installing apps on iPads, shadowing other technicians as they look at day to day issue at their schools and I have been on an install which involved re-imagining all the students and staff computers.’

Scott joins the team from a background of First and Second Line Technical Support and Repair and will be taking an office based position to ensure that all enquiries and requests are dealt with as promptly and efficiently as possible. Scott says of his first few weeks at hi-impact ‘Although I was nervous at first to start in a new position it didn’t take me long to feel at home with hi-impact. I have spent the summer shadowing various staff members, working with administration and understanding processes as well as performing repairs. I am very excited to see what September has in store.’

Alan Thompson, Managing Director at hi-impact consultancy, says ‘It is wonderful when we get an opportunity to expand and we have been able to add two very talented Technicians into our team who can only allow us to improve our service offer even further! We are very excited to welcome them into the hi-impact family.’

Written by Dionne Thomas, hi-impact consultancy

Meet Monique!

Welcome Monique to the hi-impact team!

Following the recent re-brand of the media department, hi-impact are now proud to welcome Monique as the newest addition their team. Monique will be overseeing the company social media accounts and working in the marketing department.

Monique joins the company with experience in creative content and marketing as well as previous positions as a social influencer developing skills that she is keen to apply to the hi-impact brand.

Georgia Flynn, Communications and Digital Media Consultant, says “the expansion of the team is really exciting for the marketing team! Monique’s skills and abilities will allow the company to reach further and maintain a successful online presence. It is fantastic to have her involved!”

hi-impact media’s recent re-brand saw the department bring together their services under one banner offering Photography, Videography, Web Design, Graphic Design, 3D Virtual Tours and CGI to their customers. As an already successful company with clients ranging from Tommy Hilfiger to Liverpool Football Club, the re-brand should allow the company to offer even more services to potential clients.

Monique states “I have only been here a week and I already feel like such a valued member of the team, hi-impact is so dynamic and I’m really looking forward to what the future holds here. I am here to support all departments within hi-impact to work on the development of brand awareness and online reputation. My responsibilities will be creating a solid content strategy to ramp up social media presence and give each department their own voice with which to share their incredible knowledge of curriculum, tech and media.”

Written by Dionne Thomas

Space Camp 2018

June saw the launch of ‘Space Camp’- a project designed by hi-impact consultancy in partnership with Air Products UK

We are no strangers to pushing the boundaries and stretching ourselves at hi-impact. This is how we’ve grown from a small provider of workshops to local schools to working with more than 25,000 children every year and employing a team of consultants, technicians and media specialists who work all across Europe. Our latest project, however, has taken things to a whole new level!

Last week was the culmination of months of planning for one of our most ambitious undertakings yet.. Our partners and suppliers, Air Products UK, approached us last year to ask for ideas for something big to help them celebrate their 60th anniversary with the proviso that it engaged schools in their key UK areas of Manchester, Hull and Didcot. I hate the phrase “Blue Sky Meeting” but in this case it seems very apt as during our first meeting about the project, Georgia from our media team jokingly suggested we host a residential trip for children and theme the workshop contents around the Space Sciences. After a few moments of humouring this idea, it soon became apparent that it could work – get 60 children from around the UK to descend upon a campsite, invite experts in various scientific fields to work alongside our own educators and deliver a series of exciting and exclusive sessions, building up to the launch of high altitude weather balloons carrying payloads of cameras, tracking equipment, science experiments and sensors. This is how Space Camp was born.
Putting on a residential trip is very different to our usual projects, which are either half day or full day workshops, or at the very most themed weeks in a school with various workshops all delivered by our own staff. Logistically, getting 60 children and their teachers from 6 schools all over the country to come together in one place for 5 days was a challenge to say the least – even when their costs were covered by the event sponsors, Air Products. Getting schools to release staff, choose children, provide dietary requirements and arrange transport was not easy, and that’s on top of trying to cater for them all ourselves, meet health and safety guidelines, designing a course programme for the week and bringing in exciting experts to supplement hi-impact and Air Products content. I don’t think any of us enjoyed the planning for this event, but thanks to a great team effort things began to fall into place.
In the weeks leading up to Space Camp, each school had received in-house workshops from hi-impact staff. One of our long established friends and collaborators, Dr Steve Croft from UC Berkeley in California skyped the children during their school workshops, bringing them his experience as an astrophysicists and describing his work with SETI (the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence). This was to ensure that more children than just those attending the camp would benefit from the project. Weather balloons were tethered over each school, science workshops were delivered and the excitement began to build for the camp itself.
Our team worked hard: Alan C designed a full and varied programme of activities, working with some esteemed guests to ensure the children were never bored, had plenty of downtime to enjoy being away from school and home on a picturesque site, and would come away feeling that they had been a part of something very special. Alan T visited the wholesalers almost daily in the run up to the week, bulk buying breakfast, lunch and dinner supplies for 90 odd people for every day of the camp – as well as liaising with a local pizzeria to supply masses of pizzas and chips for a treat night! Hi-impact staff who were there to fulfil teaching or media roles (Jo, Bob, Gareth and Georgia) all helped with general camp duties as well as their specialist jobs – often from very early in the morning through to the early hours of the next day (and occasionally in the middle of the night on site security patrols). It was full on – 5 days (and nights) of constant hard work with very few opportunities to break or sleep!
From the moment that schools began arriving we somehow just knew that it was going to be a success. Schools set up their own little mini camps on our private field, some decorating with lights or bunting. Children mixed with others from different regions, backgrounds and beliefs – playing football, frisbee or just chatting and making new friends. Once Space Camp briefing was complete I think everyone knew they were in for a great week.
Every day began with “Rise n’ Shine”, which varied from invigorating marching to team competitions in fun activities to wake everyone up (whether they liked it or not!) Breakfast and wash routines followed, before a morning carousel of workshops. During breaks and lunchtimes, children played, chatted to our experts or visited the tuck shop, which hi-impact staff ran. Afternoons saw more workshops, a different type of meal every day and then an evening session to finish things off before lights out and settling down in our tents for some well-earned sleep.
We were very lucky to be able to use some high profile connections of our sponsors as well as some of our own collaborators to bring in outstanding guest speakers and demonstrators throughout the week. People like  Dr Megan Argo, a lecturer at UCLan, the Shropshire Astronomical Society, Carlos Maline from the RAF, Mark Thompson from BBC’s Stargazing Live and the One Show and Dr Jackie Bell a particle Physicist and hopeful future Astronaut. As a special bonus for those attending, Dr Croft was flown in for the entire week and became our resident scientist, mucking in with camp chores as well as running workshops and being an ever-present expert for the children to call upon at any time. Added to hi-impact consultants and Air Products’ own demonstrators, these inspirational people meant that our children received an experience and opportunity unlike anything previously offered to this age group in this country – possibly the world. Children learnt about programming Raspberry Pi SENSEHats, ping pong science experiments, Martian geography, the night sky, radio telescopes, pneumatic rockets, liquid nitrogen, space travel, predicting high altitude balloon flights and much more – what an experience!
My own role aside from helping with the general arrangements and logistics was to make sure Thursday’s “Space Balloon” launches went off without a hitch. Helium was arranged with our sponsors, Air Products, and we had to order in parachutes, rope, payload boxes and reels of tape, ping pong balls for mini science experiments, RaspberryPi computers and a variety of sensors to attach to them, GPS tracking devices, GoPro cameras and of course, the balloons themselves. We had spares for EVERYTHING – one thing we have learnt over the past 6 years of launching weather balloons with schools is that you have a backup for every eventuality – extra helium, spare balloons and more rope and tape than you could ever possibly use!

Fortunately, we are well versed at hi-impact in the launching of these giant balloon-based experiments and we managed to set all three off within 60 minutes despite high winds playing havoc with the inflation and contending with an Air Ambulance formation flight going directly overhead (we always obtain Civil Aviation Authority permission ahead of launches, so the Air Ambulance were fully aware of our plans and liaised closely with us on the phone to avoid any problems). After a lengthy journey deep into Gloucestershire from our base in Mid Wales, all 3 chase teams located their payloads and reconvened back at the site in time for celebratory pizzas! As with all real life science experiments, things can fail and we had limited success with our Pi cameras and a failure of our 360 degree camera. Luckily our GoPros obtained high quality video footage right up to our maximum altitudes and we’re delighted with the images they’ve returned. Sensor information and altitude maps will be presented to schools soon so they can plot their balloon flights and see how temperatures varied on ascent and descent. The ping pong experiments were opened by the eager children that very same evening with Dr Croft and they got to see the effects that the Near Space journeys had had on their popcorn, jelly, tomato seeds or other assorted objects! Mission complete.

Feedback from school staff and the children about the week as a whole was phenomenal! Knowing that we’ve given so many children the opportunity to be engaged and inspired makes it all worthwhile to our team. Our guests were also highly impressed by Space Camp – Mark Thompson and Dr Jackie Bell appear at STEM events all over the country on a regular basis and both told us that Space Camp was truly unique and something that they loved being a part of.
Everyone keeps asking me if we’ll do it again. Before the event began I would categorically have sworn never to do this, or anything like it, ever again! The organisation was incredibly “bitty”, so many people needed to be involved and it felt like we just wanted it to be done and dusted before it had even begun, however, the week went so well and the children got so much from it that we can only say that if another sponsor came long and expressed an interest in putting their name on Space Camp 2019 they might just be able to persuade us!
The scale of this operation and the sheer constant effort takes me back to some of our other big projects like our media coverage of the Jersey Island Games in 2015 or our epic 24 hour shifts 3D scanning the Corinthia Hotel in London last year, but my abiding memory of Space Camp (aside from getting to try on an old Russian Space suit courtesy of Dr Jackie Bell!) will be how brilliantly our team pulled together to run an entire residential trip that impacted upon so many future scientists – who knows, maybe one day we will hear about a British Astronaut who was first inspired by their week long adventure at Space Camp?

Written by Simon Sloan, Operations Manager, hi-impact consultancy

LitFilmFest 2018

Pupils from Wirral primary schools showcase work at LitFilmFest 2018

EIGHT Wirral schools took part in an exciting film festival at the Light Cinema in New Brighton.

LitFilmFest have partnered with hi-impact Consultancy to work with schools across the borough to bring digital and literacy skills together.

Pupils from Prenton Primary School, St Johns Catholic Primary School, Somerville Primary School, Devonshire Park Primary School, Liscard Primary School, The Priory Parish CE Primary School, Childer Thornton Primary School and St Werberghs R C Primary School all took part and had to write and produce their own films in English lessons before enjoying a premiere of their work on June 14.

Primary Teacher and Founder of LitFilmFest Dominic Traynor said: “When we started out back in 2012 to improve Key Stage 2 English and film-making, we never dreamed that we would be in this position. We’re delighted to be building on last year’s success, working alongside hi-impact to offer writing and film-making opportunities to Wirral pupils based on a range of important themes including social change, politics and healthy eating.”

By using resources, specially created by A Tale Unfolds, schools could choose from a range of projects such as; Masters of the Digiverse, Change It, Pupil Parliament, Kitchen Kid, Frightful Film Trailer or KS2 Myths and Legends.

The project aims to boost literacy, public speaking and team work skills in the youngsters.

Managing Director of hi-impact consultancy, Alan Thompson said: “When A Tale Unfolds approached us about co-ordinating LitFilmFest Wirral, we jumped at the chance to be involved. Hi-impact Consultancy works with Wirral schools to support them with their IT strategies and this project was an opportunity for the schools to compete and show how IT skills link perfectly into the current KS2 Literacy curriculum. We have thoroughly enjoyed being involved in the competition and it has been an absolute pleasure to see the successful entries of the schools involved.”

To get involved with LitFilmFest 2019, get in touch with Dionne Thomas at dionnethomas@hi-impact.co.uk.