National Council for Children – Seychelles
I worked with Jon in 2008 when the National Council for Children, Seychelles, commissioned Cafesociety to produce some television spots and a short video to protect children in cyberspace and promote safe surfing.
It was great fun working with Jon, chasing round the hot spots on the island , motivating young people to act in rather compromising situations and having some weird looks thrown in our direction by supposedly concerned citizens.
I appreciated Jon’s creative ideas, flexibility and good cheer. The films were a huge success and have made their way into the national curriculum on safe technology. Thank you Jon for your valuable contribution. I look forward to working together on a future project.
National Council for Children
Excellence in Cities :: Hull
Cafesociety is passionate about inspiring young people to be creative, have new experiences through film and prompt meaningful and real exchanges between young people from different cultures.
Jon has worked for me on several occasions. He is consistent in following briefs and the outcomes of his work in terms of feedback from young people and quality of film work achieved is always excellent.
Excellence in Cities – Hull
University of Seychelles
Cafesociety was involved in producing two videos to introduce the University of Seychelles concept to the local population in Seychelles. The challenge was to motivate and raise awareness leading to the establishment of the very first University in Seychelles. His skill in transforming the image of a yet to exist university into meaningful and convincing messages was a great success and had the desired effect on the people of Seychelles.
Special Advisor to the President of the Republic of Seychelles
Sutton Park Primary School – Testimonial
When Sutton Park Primary School began to develop a more practical and creative curriculum, no one at the school imagined how media skills would come to play such an important part in building confidence right across the school and accelerating the learning across the curriculum.
Through the support of the Creative Partnerships (Hull), Jon Robson brought filmmaking and his knowledge of new media to staff and pupils alike. His contribution to the establishment of a highly successful creative curriculum is significant.
Initially, through photographs and video evidence, Jon captured the changes taking place in the classroom and later, through creative short films, he led the school into the exciting world of video production that helped to make learning so much more effective and fun.
For example, working with the school’s Early Years pupils to develop oracy, he produced a series of film-shorts based on familiar stories and fables.
The children reworked the stories with their own ideas, created storyboards and artwork, before filming and providing the narration. The work really motivated the children and their range of vocabulary and expression was clearly enhanced.
With Year 4 pupils, he was able to demonstrate how video could inspire creative thought and how different techniques could capture mood and setting. Some pupils showed a real flair for such composition.
His work throughout supported staff in appreciating and harnessing the benefits of using new media in the classroom. It enabled them to take the first steps with their own classes so that pupils could demonstrate their learning through the use of creative video.
In each case, his relaxed manner in the classroom cloaked an expertise that achieved results efficiently and beyond expectation.
Ex Headteacher – Sutton Park Primary
Sidmouth Primary School – Testimonial
In May 2008 Jon came to work with our school for three weeks as part of the Creative Partnerships Enquiry School project. The focus of the project was to develop speaking and listening through story telling with Year One children. This year group was chosen as 60% of the children had limited English and half of them had only recently arrived in this country, such a group, therefore, presented a huge challenge.
Jon shared his great expertise, ideas and boundless enthusiasm to develop the project during both the planning and implementation stages with our children and staff. Since the project has been completed, Jon has continued to help and has advised us on the development of our multi-media resources.
Jon has a caring, open and friendly personality which makes him easy to work with and has built up excellent relationships with the children, students on work experience and all members of staff. He also delivered valuable inset training for all staff, sharing his expertise so that the knowledge gained would be sustainable as staff would develop their own multi-media projects.
Working with Jon as part of Creative Partnerships was a fantastic experience for everyone at our school. His infectious enthusiasm caught the imagination of the children and the staff. All of the children wanted to ‘talk’. They were so proud of their achievements and gained so much satisfaction from their work, it was a delight to witness their pleasure and enjoyment.
Thank you Jon
Year One Teacher
Tweendykes Special School – Testimonial
During 2005 Jon Robson undertook a speaking and listening project at Tweendykes special school in Hull. The project was entitled – “Talking Books “
Jon worked with each class in the school to create their own digital film story comprising still photographs and sound. Stories ranged from nursery rhymes to factual documentaries to dramatic historical stories.
The pupils developed the ideas of the story then planned the scenes. Some stories were acted out by the children themselves other were created from puppets or clay models. Each class’ story became a unique product.
The pupils were taught how to use a digital camera, down load the images onto the software and record sound effects. The project culminated in a whole school film show to which the pupil’s families were invited.
The pupils were thrilled at the results- and proud with the professional finish of the end product. Throughout the project the ability of the pupils in using technology exceeded the staff expectations. The pupil’s were eager and interested to learn.
Jon developed an excellent rappour with everyone in the school community and was able to bring out the best in each pupil.
Throughout Jon led the project with patience , humour and purpose.
The legacy of his work is still alive in the school. “Talking books” are a valuable teaching resource. They are made following school trips, special events and to support topic based work. Pupils love to see themselves on a large screen and the stories serve to engage and enliven their language skills.
Winifred Holtby Technology College – Testimonial
Winifred Holtby Technology College has worked with Jon on countless occasions. Each time he has been an inspiration to our students and staff ! Students have enjoyed, and thrived on the knowledge and skilled delivery of the workshops and have shown high levels of motivation and team work skills when working on their films.
The films made have left a lasting impression within the school and wider community. Through the outstanding staff training Jon has provided, we have been able to develop the use of Media software within the school especially in English lessons.
Head of Creative and Performing Arts
Winifred Holtby School Technology College
Tilbury Primary School – Testimonial
I first met Jon a few years ago on a Creative Partnerships course but already knew him by reputation . As a teacher of primary age deaf children I’m always looking for ways of making their learning stimulating and relevant.
Children with a severe or profound hearing loss need to learn primarily visually and kinaesthetically and they lack many of the experiences hearing children take as a matter of course. Film and photography is an ideal medium – it’s visual, immediate and can provide instant access and feedback.
Jon provided the means for a technically inept teacher to involve the children in film making projects. So far he’s worked with us on a film to promote deaf awareness week, a short stop frame animation film about recycling and an ongoing project about how it feels to be a minority group – a deaf child in a hearing school.
Although he can’t sign his easy-going and friendly manner allows him to communicate with the children who all look forward to his visits. The work has helped enormously in giving the children a voice and a sense of pride in what they can achieve.
Tilbury T.C. Unit
Hull Museums Education – Testimonial
Hull Museum Education are committed to making museum collections
accessible and relevant to young people today. During 2006 – 2008, Cafesociety worked with us on the ‘Campaign! make an Impact’ project, using historic collections to help young people gain active citizenship skills.
The outcomes of the project were phenomenal and have received national recognition, even resulting in two Winifred Holtby pupils attending a reception with the then prime minister, Tony Blair.
Jon had the citizenship knowledge and creative approach to make the project a success. The second phase of the project with Endeavour high produced highly professional films with very profound content from the
young people. Cafe Society have the skills to engage with young people on a level relevant to them and get outstanding results.
Hull Museums Education Service
ARC – Architecture Centre Hull
Video is a great tool for the exploration of space and place. arc architecture centre for Hull and the Humber Sub-region works with Cafe Society on the facilitation of schools projects.
For the ‘Shaping Our Place’ project pupils conducted research into the effect of good and bad design on learning and school community. Working with arc and Cafe Society the pupils created a video, documenting their school environment and making recommendations as to how the design of schools could be improved.
Video proved to be a dynamic and immediate communication media, that the young people could have a large degree of hands-on control of. The videotography support that Cafe Society brought to the project enabled a variety of participants to explore architectural and environmental themes, whilst developing transferable skills in new technology and communication.
The team worked behind and in front of the camera to produce a final edit to be distributed to their School Governors and the Local Education Authority. The professional product was edited by Cafe Society and the young people.
Head of Learning
arc Architecture Centre – Hull
BBC Factual & Learning
Over a number of years, BBC Learning ran a successful pilot community learning initiative across East Yorkshire & Lincolnshire.
Cafe Society proved to be an invaluable and respected partner for digital media project delivery, with a particular strength in the engagement of hard to reach youth audiences. High impact, imaginative and creative pieces of work were testimony to the understanding, patience and recognition of the challenges faced when working with young people.
The strength and diversity of skills within Cafe Society also provided continued professional development support to teachers in schools across the region on the use of digital media. Teacher evaluations and the subsequent cascade and introduction of new skills in teaching and learning had a positive impact back in school.
Cafe Society’s uniqueness is it’s seamless and relaxed approach to learning and development. Creativity and participant lead ideas are very much encouraged, supported and developed resulting in extremely high quality content and wonderful experiences for all involved.
Paul Corcoran :
BBC Learning Project Manager
Winifred Holtby Technology College – Hull
I have known Jon for a number of years, whilst I have been working as an Advanced Skills Teacher for Citizenship in Hull, based at Winifred Holtby School Technology College on Bransholme.
I had heard of Jon’s reputation whilst the school was engaged with a number of artists through Creative Partnerships and as school coordinator, I engaged him to complete a transition project that had stalled. He injected energy and a connection with our students that gave them the confidence to finish the work in an innovative and fresh way……their way.
I naturally had to use him again, and through Creative Partnerships, used Cafesociety as often as possible, building upon his work in Sierra Leone to enhance the confidence and literacy skills of Year 9 students, taking risks with the material and trusting the students. They repaid us by presenting a workshop at a national CP conference, reflecting Jon’s “can do” approach to problems.
He has since worked with History students on the Making an Impact project, other literacy work within the school and is known by many of the students. Jon has also begun CPD work with a number of staff on Adobe software.
He is committed to digital storytelling and we still have the aim of Hull Schoolchildren having the opportunity to “say who they think they are”.
Finally, I have passed Jon’s name to a number of other schools in my work as an AST, and the feedback to meis always the same…..high standards, innovative and willing to take risks.
Advanced Skills Teacher.
Winifred Holtby Technology College – Hull.
International School Seychelles
I am writing to thank you for the project work that you have carried out with our students during the last four years.
As you know we try and introduce new experiences and skills for our students on a regular basis. This is something that all schools do to enrich the curriculum, but for us such programmes have a special importance as the Seychelles islands are physically very remote. Within this context we have welcomed a good many facilitators over the years, but your contribution to developing this ‘added value’ curriculum has been unique.
Students working under your supervision have benefited so much. Many of them have taken the skills acquired further, to tertiary institutions for example. This is not just an issue of familiarity and competence with technology, although I must say that the manner in which you encourage confident and effective use of sophisticated equipment is exceptional. It is also an issue of enabling creative thinking and problem solving. Students working with you become better at responding to challenges and working as part of a team to resolve difficulties. They think ‘outside the box’ and are able to layer developments in terms of imagery, sound, concept and style. They can create professional products whilst maintaining a strong personal commitment to the content. I have noticed additional skills imported into the formal curriculum following involvement with Café Society projects, particularly in the areas of Art and Design and Literature.
Further, I must praise the way in which you engage with students; never patronising, sensitive to their agenda, but also clear about the need to produce work and create experiences that they feel proud to be part of. Your manner is engaging and productive; in short, the students really like you and enjoy working with you. They are comfortable working with you in your role as a facilitator, they enjoy the humour but are constantly aware of the prioritisation of work; they do not see you as a teacher, and I think that this is an enabling distinction actually! Many of them talk about you and the work that they made with you years after the event; if part of being a successful educationalist is to make an impact and convey sustainable and extendable skills then you certainly qualify.
Looking forward to the next series of workshops, Jon.
Director, The International School
Jon was hired by The International School Seychelles on a number of occasions. He provided our students with the opportunity to create a number of video projects.
The work included documentary pieces where the students reflected upon their own lives and the society around them; and commercial advertisements which were shown on national television. Students were actively encouraged by Jon to participate in the whole production process, both in front of and behind the camera.
Jon’s manner with the students was very friendly and they obviously enjoyed working with him. He has an infectious enthusiasm for his work, and an extensive portfolio of prior projects which he used to inspire the students. I can’t recommend Jon and his work highly enough.
Head of Secondary
International School – Seychelles
Gila River Community School – Arizona
Jon Robson and his crew from Cafesociety.org worked with our students here on the Gila River Indian Reservation in Arizona USA in 2002 and 2003. Our young Native American students had a great learning experience and a lot of fun while working on the “Digital Story Telling” projects.
Jon is an excellent educator who has certainly got the knack of working with young kids globally.
He educates students not only on the technological side of the projects but also integrates core areas of the curriculum like maths, and language arts.
We were so impressed with the initial project that we invited Cafesociety.org back the following year to work with our students and participate in the ‘Access Native America Technology Conference’.
Since 1997, the Access Native America Technology Conference has brought together educators, technology experts, and administrators from the 185 Bureau of Indian Affairs schools to learn from each other and from others outside of our school system about how to integrate technology into our schools.
Jon, along with his colleagues and a selection of our students made a presentation on the importance of storytelling with an emphasis on using new technology to reach a global audience. The presentation was a great success and made us proud of the work our students had produced during the digital storytelling workshops.
Our students really miss him and his British accent. We wish him all the best.
Head of technology
Gila Crossing Community School.