On November the 8th we invited over Ewan McIntosh and Tom Barrett two of the leading specialists in ICT in education from the company NoTosh. They were here to work with all staff in Primary and Nursery plus a few from our Bi Lingual section too. They were here for 3 days and were structured so that year groups could work together in their teams and produce new and exciting resources to teach with. They also learned new methods to try and be more experimental with the ICT equipment we have in school.
The days began with our staff learning to use the Google suite of applications that mostly come with a Gmail account. Many people do not realise the potential that these applications have for education. Tom, who specialises in this field was the first teacher in the UK to become a certified Google Educator and leads the way in its use with his ideas called "Interesting Ways". If you should do a Google search for this you will see the variety of uses that have been put together from teachers all over the world.
Ewan, who has a media background working for Channel 4 in the UK, compliments this use of online tools by introducing teachers to new possibilities in story telling. His workshops teach us to how to add video, mobile devices, online games and digital stills to enhance the language children produce in their stories. This approach will lead us to become more creative in our approach to teaching with these devices. It also allows our students to take more control of their learning and to lead their own learning via collaboration - a key part that links both Ewan and Tom's ethos of Design Thinking.
Design Thinking was the focus for our final day on the Friday. Both Tom and Ewan introduced the idea to us that 'letting go of the reins' and allowing students to take more control of their learning is fundamental to success in the modern classroom. So the key to us as teachers is to adapt and change and lead through use of the tools we have been introduced to this week; collaborate with our students and teach them with the creative opportunities these technologies provide.
This week has been great fun for me and I hope it has been too for all involved - Tom and Ewan were fabulous speakers and really encouraged those of us who, in light of change, can be nervous for the unexpected journey ahead. But, the teachers who attended this is just the beginning as we will have to share our creative ideas with them as part of our pledge to send the outcome to them in 4 - 6 months!