CLASSROOM

Every pupil is different. They all have their own learning styles, their own strengths and weaknesses, and their own levels of attainment. Most classrooms in the UK today are mixed ability, which means teachers need effective ways of catering for each and every pupil, so that no one is left behind.

What will our classrooms look like in 2017? It really depends on whose crystal ball you look at! School budgets are being squeezed tighter than a jar of peanut butter at a squirrel convention. As a result, teachers are looking for free tools and apps to enhance their schemes of work and create resources using video and animation to help engage students, particularly reluctant learners. Leadership teams are now examining the prospect of creating a sustainable ICT solution that suits our new digital learners and will still be relevant in the future.

Teaching resource suppliers Picture News are helping Primary schools across the country to teach pupils about life, current affairs, values and social awareness in the world around them. The company produces weekly posters featuring a different news story and engaging image – designed in part with weekly assemblies on current affairs in mind. Each tube contains an A2-sized poster with a thought-provoking question, KS1/KS2 ideas, British values cards and web links for further learning on the story.

The question isn’t what are we teaching our students, it’s what are they learning. This is the foundation of a multi-age classroom structure which creates a learning environment that is dynamic and cerebral.

Today, Innovate My School were approved as official BESA members by the organisation's executive council. The trade association for the world's leading educational suppliers, BESA operate on a not-for-profit basis and has an 80-year heritage serving the UK education sector, representing over 300 educational suppliers in the UK. Innovate My School will be using this new alliance as a chance to bring even more edu-insights to its audience than ever before.

Think back to a wonderful holiday or even a weekend away, where you are in beautiful surroundings, in great company and doing things that you love. Yet remember that feeling in the pit of your stomach on the last few days as you realise this experience is coming to an end, and that work looms just a few days ahead. That’s the same feeling many students will feel if they’ve had a great holiday… but it will manifest itself differently and in more complex ways if they’ve had a bad one.

I have just finished my 22nd year of teaching. By rights, as a teacher, I should be pretty stale now. Most classes should groan when they realise that they will have me as a teacher. They might imagine that I am one of those teachers who goes back to a folder of worksheets, digs out the most appropriate one for the class, wipes off the dust and makes enough copies of it for my students to let them complete it and so on. After all these years my students might think that I should know how to teach everything and that teaching grammar topics is something I have mastered and can do off the top of my head. Surely, they imagine, I have mastered the job and do it the same old way as I have always done - the job is easy for me and perhaps my students might think that I am a little boring.

On Friday 21st October, educators of all kinds are encouraged to head to Ipswich for the Suffolk Festival of Learning, an event aiming to connect business with education, and to provide all education professionals with influential and inspirational speakers, workshops and CPD. The first event of its kind in the region, this gathering boasts 1000 delegates from all sectors of education on board for a day of keynote presentations and workshops.

Its was a with some trepidation and a little fear when our head said to us about teaching Shakespeare as a topic. This was shaped by my own experience with Shakespeare at school, which basically amounted to reading from a book and having little to no understanding of his fantastic language. After a staff trip to the Globe in London for CPD and some inspiring ideas shared I was happier, even a little excited about the prospect of teaching Shakespeare to 7 and 8 year olds. My class were called The Tempest - this was primarily the play I concentrated on - but many of the ideas I used could be used and adapted with any Shakespeare play.

After spending twenty years of my life working with educational technology and seeing how people utilise it in a number of different global markets, I’ve learnt that schools across the globe are worlds apart when it comes to the application of technology in the classroom.  This is most apparent when we look at schools in the UK compared with schools in the US. Teachers using IT in the classroom in the UK are likely to feel frustrated when looking across the pond where technology has become truly integrated in the classroom. So, what can we in the UK learn from our friends in America about incorporating edtech in the classroom?

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