Category Archives: Presentations & Talks

Apple Distinguished Educator 2017! #ADE2017

I’m in!

I let out an excited squeal when the email arrived from California. I’d just got home from school where I’d been working solidly in the Easter holiday peace when it arrived (us Digital Design Creators still toil while corridors fall quiet).

With only 9 months of work behind me when I made my 2 minute pitch video, I thought I was an outsider.

Still not come down from the ceiling – what a Monday!!

#HarpurTeachMeet

I had the pleasure of taking part in the second Harpur Teach Meet today. Our Teach Meets are open to staff within the Trust, and it’s good to meet people from our sibling schools. This time it was our turn to host.

This was my first ever Teach Meet, and the format was strictly 3 minute presentations! Both a long or a short time depending on what you chose to talk about.

There were some fantastic talks from how to engage students to explore their literature study, to feedback reflection, nature photography, spaced learning and a live demo of Kahoot!

I chose to speak about multi-touch books and their use in creating flexible learning materials.

My plan was to create my presentation as a book and use Air Server to present, but even technologically adept schools such as BGS occasionally have their hiccups. I used Quicktime instead to record my iPad screen as I interacted with the book, capturing the iPad’s speaking and other interactive items. This meant my presentation was bang on 3 minutes, but I had to try and match my words to my previously recorded interactions! In retrospect it probably needed more rehearsal, so in my growth mindset – not there yet.

Sharing our Apple Story

It’s been a fantastic couple of days at Bedford Girls’ School. As an Apple Distinguished School we were proud to host over 100 educators from Finland, Poland, Denmark and Greenland. The delegates had come over to the UK to visit BETT 2017, and also visit other schools who use Apple technology to improve teaching and learning.

20170126_102426

As part of the visit we gave some short presentations on our iPad story, as well as how we use iTunes U and iBooks to support learning. I was nervous but excited to explain my part of the strategy as Digital Design Creator.

The highlight of each of the visits was the opportunity to take a group on a learning walk, which is a tour of classrooms. The timetable for lessons remained unchanged and the visitors were joining ordinary lessons across a range of year groups and subjects.

Jo MacKenzie, our Head, also wrote about the visits. The girls were really excited to share what they got up to, and how iPads changed their education.

Not only did we all learn a lot about how other schools approach technology and learning, but we swapped ideas and discovered how anything from the school day structure to how marking and feedback is handled differs.

Sharing Our iPad Story with Local Schools

In conjunction with Apple Education, we welcomed some guests from schools from our county and neighbouring counties today, to share our iPad story.

We explained how we used the iPads, iTunes U and iBooks amongst many other tools to enrich learning, and took our guests on a tour of some lessons.

Some of our guests had sets of iPads, others were considering Microsoft, but we all had common ground in the challenges we face.

ISC Digital Strategy Group Conference 2016

This year’s Independent Schools Council Digital Strategy Group conference was held at Microsoft’s UK Campus. The Conference theme was Digital By Design, Digital By Default. 

I had the opportunity to attend on behalf of the school, to listen to a variety of presentations both in person and via Skype from abroad. We also saw some live demos of collaboration with Microsoft’s tools, naturally, as we were on their turf.

There were many speakers during the day, but in summary from my notes:

Mark Steed spoke on teaching in the Middle East. 95% of Dubai schools are for-profit, which has introduced commercial drivers to education. Schools are concerned with ROI, economies of scale, and keeping staff costs down, which in turn impact school size, facilities, teacher qualifications and the amount of contact time.

This approach has meant schools have invested in blended learning to enable limited contact time, and also make use of video conferencing.

He predicts that for-profit will become the global norm to fill the gap in demand and supply for education. It will become a luxury to be taught by a specialist, superstar teachers will be demanding high salaries in the secondary sector while primary teachers shall be supported by robots as it will always require human interaction. Finally, he predicts VR will disrupt secondary education.

Vaughan Connolly spoke about how the future of professions, employment and schools are changing. He drew comparison to Moore’s Law, and reflected that we tend to over-estimate short-term impact, and under-estimate long-term impact.

Throughout the day several speakers referred to the development of artificial intelligence, Connolly referencing a Wilcocks and Lacity study which found that technology liberates people in the short term, to allow humans to do what humans do best.

Miles Berry shared examples of projects and the impact of problem based learning. As my focus is on computing, Berry’s talk felt very relevant, though at BGS we are already implementing creative and computational thinking in the computing curriculum. It was also useful to look at KS4 and KS5 computing, and the perspective of universities for potential computer science undergraduates.

Ian Phillips followed with further practical examples of computational thinking in action with the BBC Microbit. He had challenged his students to find a problem in life they couldn’t solve and then to work together to present a solution at open day, encouraging playfulness, curiosity and deep learning. One of the students gave a confident presentation about their experience and how the opportunities had led to great success.

Andrew Storey spoke of his school’s misfortune of a sinking building being turned into a great opportunity to design a new learning space. Modern learning spaces are flexible, placing students at the centre of the lesson. Storey explained how they went as far as training their students for 6 hours on how to be efficient in the classroom with technology.

Following this we had the opportunity to hear from overseas educators via Skype. James Mannion discussed sharing successful process with neighbouring school districts, turning teachers into problem solvers rather than dictating a solution. Bill Brennan discussed support networks between schools, encouraging adults to break out of their comfort zones with a smile.

Cat Scutt asked us to consider how we delivered teacher CPD, and whether we applied our use of technology for teaching students to how schools developed their staff.

We also heard about the Bloodhound Project, and had a chance to try out Microsoft’s HoloLens, which displays a blended VR overlaid on the real world, to the point it appeared a person was stood amongst us in the room which we could walk around and through while we explored human biology.

Meeting Tanmay Bakshi & Programming in Swift

Today we were very kindly invited by Apple to meet Tanmay Bakshi, a 13-year-old developer from Canada who is the world’s youngest IBM Watson programmer. IBM Watson is an intelligence engine which handles artificial intelligence amongst other things – a sort of super computer.

Tanmay is on a mission to reach 100,000 new developers to inspire them to code, by the time he is 15. He inspired us with his story: he created a very popular time tables app aged nine and by age 12 he was working with IBM and Apple.

James Potter (Director of Digital Strategy at BGS) and I brought a small group of girls from the computer science club down to London on the train for the day. After a presentation from Tanmay, we joined a workshop.

In the workshop Tanmay led us through how to create our very own iOS apps with Swift. We created one which would predict whether a person would be male or female based on their name. To do this, we trained IBM Watson with 7,000 names. Although we didn’t quite have enough time to finish our app in the session, we tested Tanmay’s app with one of girls’ names, curious at what Watson would predict. After a few hiccups – the app eventually returned the correct answer.