Diversity: Experience of the consultees
There was a strong sense from the post trial interviews that the young people enjoyed the engagement and in the main had no problem with it.
One teacher who took their students through the exercise said, "the students enjoyed it because it was different, a change from the usual computer class where they would just look at Word or spreadsheets". The same teacher said, "They enjoyed thinking for themselves and feeling that their opinions were valued by an unknown third party’.
From the teachers’ point of view it was a positive experience because the students had:
- practice at completing an on-line survey,
- actively communicated using a computer, and,
- been provided with an opportunity to reflect on our changing society.
Outside the formality of the classroom how did young people get on with the exercise?
One youth worker, interviewed by the team, working informally with a group stated that, "To be honest they wouldn't tell you if they enjoyed it or not! They had no difficulty doing it once they were asked". The particular group she had taken through the consultation fit into the social category of ‘disadvantaged’. The youth worker reported, "that they were able to work the computers themselves, and they seemed enthusiastic enough! I would have no problems asking other young people to fill in the questionnaire".
On the other hand, on the technical side, there were some difficulties, some which were overcome and some that weren’t possible to overcome. The following are some examples of reported difficulties:
- Some had difficulty if their typing skills weren`t great or if they were not too familiar with computer. They were 1st years, mixed ability, from the very able to the very weak. They all put in the web address under their own steam, but it was quite long for them and some needed two or three attempts to get it in.
- Many had problems with downloading the survey to their screens—at the time the school did not have broadband.
- Due to the problems with downloading (or in some instances crashing when most of the way through the exercise) a number of students did not get to complete it in the class time of 35 minutes (down to 30 after allowing for room changes).