Drug education went digital this week when "Choices for Life" swapped the live stage for a live online presence. The show, organised by the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, traditionally used DJs, drama and the most popular bands to get its message on drugs and other harmful behaviours to P7 pupils before they move up to secondary school.
But the SCDEA, along with partners Education Scotland, the Scottish Government, and Young Scot, took the policy decision earlier this year to move the event onto Glow, the national schools intranet, so that its message could reach a wider age-group - P7-S6, and be tailored according to age and stage.
A key element of the new event, which was held on Monday and Tuesday, was audience interactivity and participation through the Glow Chat system, allowing pupils and teachers to post questions, comments and remarks. Break-out sessions were timetabled in for class discussions and feedback on short film dramas, questions on alcohol and a real "life story", while studio guests prepared their responses to the online questions.
Detective Inspector Tommy Crombie, national drugs co-ordinator at SCDEA, explained that the event was delivered as a Web Stream on 500 or 810 kb per second, depending on the receiving capability of the local authority.
The original plan, he told TESS, was to deliver it via a Glow Meet session, which would have allowed people to watch the images and chat at the same time. But that idea was rejected because the whole process would have been "clunky" and the images not very "smooth".
The Glow system, however, will permit the event to be re-run for schools or classes that missed it. A Choices for Life website is currently under development, which will provide additional teaching resources and content.