HUE's colourful cameras are instantly recognisable to any teacher who has come across them in the media, online, at an exhibition or - as is often the case - in the staff room via a colleague recommendation. Whether it's the striking shape, distinctive colours or the talk of how they are transforming lessons, these devices certainly demand your attention!
It is a beautiful March day: slight breeze, sun’s out, chilly with the feeling that spring is nearly there. I am sitting at the back of a 2nd floor classroom facing a newly-qualified teacher as part of his mentoring support, observing a lesson. His target: pupil engagement. He is at the front of a twitchy, but generally well-behaved Year 5 class standing at the interactive whiteboard. The activity seems engaging - learners are invited to come up to the board and use labels to match parts of trees, comparing these to flowers and plants. Either side of the whiteboard are large windows. The one to his right faces out over the city - a great view. The one to his left overlooks the school field, with more trees than I can count.
I am a huge advocate for the use of educational technology (edtech) in the classroom. My view is that the classroom benefits of edtech obvious, whether it is gauging understanding with Assessment for Learning apps, using the settings on an iPad to help learning with additional requirements, or using apps that promote understanding.
The UK forest schools programme is rapidly gaining momentum, and is fast becoming an increasingly popular and recognised method of teaching outdoor learning skills. However, as these designated sites can sometimes be somewhat remote from the main school building, there is usually a need to provide for some sort of an outdoor shelter or outdoor classroom facility for the children to both seek refuge from the elements and to be taught in. And as forest schools education is practised all year round, this building has to be used in all seasons - ideally with some sort of basic electricity, lighting and heating provision.
With the ever-changing growth in technology and Computing, it is clear to see that schools need to move with the times. They must incorporate new skills into the curriculum, in order for students to thrive after school in the workplace. Technology is always evolving, and children require specific skills in order to evolve along with it, to reflect the rapid pace of innovation. However, one major factor often hinders this progress: the edtech needed in order to teach these skills is usually quite expensive, and not always accessible to every child.
When it comes to top classroom tech, 3D printing is continuously making headlines. Its place in the classroom is being cemented as the next generation learns to mould and manipulate the technology to feed their creativity, with applications across STEAM subjects and beyond. Historically, 3D printing has been out of reach for many smaller budgets, but rapid developments in the technology means that ‘plug and play’ 3D printers are more accessible and affordable than ever, with desktop models available for as little as a couple of hundred pounds.
This is a continuation of our case study from St Philip Evans R.C. Primary School in South Wales - read part one here. The Giglets literacy resource enables schools to dramatically increase the number of texts available for classroom and home access - all within a simple and cost-effective budget that is agreed in advance. Providing a growing library of hundreds of texts in English and in about 30 other languages means that the school's library is always kept fresh.
To make the most of stretched budgets, schools need all the ideas they can get! In the latest Innovate My School Guide, two school leaders and one veteran consultant weigh in on this very issue. Here’s a sneak peak...
Bullying is a difficult problem. Limiting mobile phones or blocking social media can reduce cyberbullying, but not anti-social behaviour in classrooms. Curriculum-based anti-bullying strategies are not usually the first approaches that schools consider, but they can have a major impact, and are likely to save you money! Consider these smarter, budget-effective timetabling approaches and reduce bullying in your school.