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...
When it comes to traditional subjects - the ones that have been taught and used effectively for centuries without the use of technology - the co-existence of old and selective use of the new seems to be the best way to innovate the curriculum. As we get to grips with the ‘new’ GCSEs and learn more about the workings of the mind and memory, check tests, dual coding, factual recall and retrieval practise are all making a comeback.
When we first speak to a school interested in our software, we ask them what they are using already. Then comes the long list of separate software providers, one for messaging parents, one for parents to make payments, one to send homework... the list goes on. Not only do parents get fed up logging in to multiple systems - your school budget is taking a hit, too.
As someone in the education sector, you’ve probably heard about the exciting opportunities to use virtual reality (VR) to help students learn. Bringing the technology into a curriculum makes sense, especially because many individuals are already eager to start or continue using VR headsets. Doing so in the classroom makes learning more enjoyable.
Time and time again, when my colleagues and I speak to schools, they tell us that choosing and buying edtech is an increasingly difficult process. They simply don’t have the time – or the expertise – to create a detailed specification, go out to tender, evaluate lengthy technical proposals, interview suppliers and negotiate the best deals. On top of this process, there’s the ambiguity around financial budgets and the legalities and requirements which must be followed under EU procurement law. Edtech moves so fast, how do they know what they’ll need in three years time?
All schools are stretched. We know this, but as a brand-new school with only 120 students, our budget is extremely tight - especially when we factor in recruiting experienced staff. At Aureus School in Didcot, through STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) specialism we are not only trying to teach our students how to be more creative. We, as staff, must do this as well in trying to make the budget work.