DISPLAYING ITEMS BY TAG: INNOVATION

Education is a field ripe for change. A confluence of influences has altered both our purposes and methods. New technologies have altered what is possible, shifted our interactions with knowledge and allowed for new models of connectedness. The forces of globalisation, and with that the movement of both manufacturing workforces and increasingly routine cognitive labour away from Western nations, is altering the face of work in these nations. Our children will leave school requiring a different set of skills to those that secured them employment but a short time ago.

Given the current turbulence in the education system, is it a good time to be a school leader? Having direct experience in the education system, our (Costa Constantinou and Paul McGreavy) automatic and resounding response is YES.

Digital Schoolhouse, a pioneering programme which is led and delivered by games and interactive entertainment trade body Ukie, today announced PlayStation as its lead partner for the new academic year. This new national programme will increase the reach and support offered by DSH to an estimated 15,000 pupils and over 1,600 teachers from 19 schools across England in its first academic year. The partnership with PlayStation will ensure that Digital Schoolhouse can continue to offer its fun, creative workshops for free on a national scale.

It’s been a busy year for UK schools, with new edtech, academisation and changes to the exams system on teachers’ minds. As a result, we’ve been working with more educators than ever before. The 2015/16 year saw 621 articles published and 62 speed dating events run, with three major Twitter projects and a new website on top. Here are some highlights from the past 11 months:

Bett Awards partners i2i Events Group and BESA (The British Educational Suppliers Association) have announced the launch of the education sector’s 20th annual Bett Awards. This ceremony brings together developers, suppliers and educational practitioners each year to recognise, reward and celebrate ICT excellence in the education sector. The 2017 awards introduce three new categories: ‘Best Education Support Resource for Parents/Home Learning’, ‘Edtech Start-up company of the Year’ and ‘Higher Education Digital Services'.

I always love using technology in the classroom. Making the most of digital tools allows me to bring another dimension to my teaching, and gives me the opportunity to enhance those pedagogically-sound practices that teachers know, trust and use on a day-to-day basis.

Innovation to teachers is usually something that arrives via INSET or a day jolly out to a course. If it is well done, there is nothing wrong with being introduced to new ideas in this way - but if it is done badly it can cement pedagogical inertia and make real change in schools very difficult to effect. A top down approach of ‘you must always’ very rarely sits well with a profession that can be highly (and rightly) critical of change for its own sake. Real innovation, the grass roots stuff, is much more powerful, and can have much more meaning to the children in the classrooms of the innovative teachers.

I have recently started a couple of pieces of research into different aspects of teaching (and they say men cannot multitask!), but as I did this, one thing became very apparent to me. It is not the innovation itself, nor is it the strategy deployed, or even the relevant policy / guidelines / handbook / manual / research that aligns with it, that makes innovation successful. No, it is the attitude of the innovator and their peers.

Like any self-respecting geeky English teacher, when posed with this question the first thing I did was Google it:

Hannah and Sophie sat at the back of the class, heads on the desk, chatting. The rest of the class were working on the brief. Hannah and Sophie were whom I was interested in, labelled and presenting as described: disengaged, badly behaved, badly turned out, but attending school - today. A kind of plus as far as the school was concerned. Myself, by their age, I was not attending. At first they looked indignant and bored in equal measure. Who was this old guy interrupting their conversation? I endeavoured to engage them. They looked irritated. I changed track “Did you see Skins last night?” They engaged. “Who was with who?” “Hey, do you reckon that Cassie will get off with Thomas....?”

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