Transforming a school ICT suite to a future proof Discovery Centre

Julian S Wood

Julian is an Assistant Head at an inner-city primary school in Sheffield. He has been teaching for 14 years. He is a passionate advocate of using new technology in education and was awarded ‘Microsoft Innovative Educator 2010 Award’ for using new technology in school, with his project about stimulating writing using QR codes and mobile devices.

Julian co-created the Creative Partnerships 'inathirdspace' project in 2009. Which partnered teachers and artists for their own CPD, staff used mobile phones to post photographs and text to a website and used a twitter account (@inathirdspace) to give lesson feedback in an innovative way.

In January Julian presented in a 'break-out' session at the Learning without Frontiers conference in London. He has also been a speaker for the Open University National event ‘Using Web 2.0 technology and Storytelling’, presented about ‘Creative Web 2.0 Learning Provocations’ at the Cape UK, Yorkshire Creative Partnerships Conference. Julian lead a workshop at the National College for School Leadership (NCSL) Future Leaders Course and also presented at a regional ‘Thinking Skills’ Conference in Newcastle. He has presented at 9 Teachmeets.

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Here’s a picture of the original ICT suite, complete with rows of desktop computers and an obligatory interactive whiteboard at the front. The senior management team felt that the suite didn’t properly represent the school’s creative ethos, didn’t reflect our vision of learning, and wasn’t capable of delivering the future curriculum needs of our pupils.

So we started gathering ideas from pupils about what ‘future learning’ might look like and what they needed to make it happen. We asked staff about what they thought was needed to teach a future curriculum and did a lot of research! Most of the ideas pointed to a place that combined research, books, science, technology and computing. A place where several activities could happen at once - a science experiment, building a robot, finding out about asteroids or just reading a book. A ‘movable’ place where everything could be easily moved - technology, furniture and resources. A place large enough to teach a whole class, comfortable enough to learn with a small group and snug enough to learn in private.

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