Category Archives: Teaching

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.

New School Blog on Innovation and Technology

As part of my role as Digital Design Creator at Bedford Girls’ School, I’ve taken on the challenge of writing a blog about innovation and technology.

So much of what goes on is considered ‘ordinary’ by the students and staff because the school has progressed so far with technology in five years. However, understanding how the classroom has changed with a 1:1 iPad environment is a really common question from parents and teachers unfamiliar with how we work. By visiting lessons and blogging about them, I hope to give an insight.

The first post features our Maths Department.

BGS Apple Distinguished School Story

Following Bedford Girls’ School’s approval as an Apple Distinguished School in late 2016, we published our story to the iTunes Bookstore.

The application process for an Apple Distinguished School is to complete an iBook covering 5 particular areas, using a particular template base. Once an ADS, you are invited to publish the book (subject to extra approval and vetting from Apple for use of product images, logos, etc.) to allow others to read.

You can download the Bedford Girls’ School book here.

Export Explain Everything to Google Drive

Created for our Year 7 students who are creating their own eBooks about computer systems using Book Creator. The girls completed an Explain Everything presentation about non-volatile storage and then exported it as a video to add to the book. At the end of the course their completed eBook will be graded.

We added the video to their iTunes U course to help.

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.

GCSE Computer Science Quizlets

It’s very quiet at school. As a full-time member of support staff, I’m working through the summer while the students and the majority of staff are on holiday.

Between creating books (and catching Pokemon on my lunchtime walks) I’ve created a class full of GCSE Computer Science definitions on Quizlet for James Potter (Director of ICT).

BGS begin their first year of Computer Science GCSE in September, which is excellent news. It’s been really interesting to see the curriculum while creating these sets. I’m glad ‘proper’ computing has returned.

Technology & Teachers

As part of my role with Bedford College since end of March 2013, I train teaching and support staff to use technology like SMARTboards, tablet devices and Moodle, the chosen Virtual Learning Environment of the college. These trainings are one to one, or small groups or even whole theatres of people if the need arises. I have also been called upon to run day workshops with partner organisations as part of the College’s Grade Tracker project, which was already underway when I joined the team.

Whiteboards had been a revolution in the time I had been at school. I’d seen one interactive whiteboard at school which was incredibly fragile, and had mixed attempts at interacting with them in some university lecture spaces, but on joining the team, I had a crash course – I had to be an expert enough to train other people within a week or two.

I loved it.

Interactive whiteboards are a piece of technology that has cropped up in many classrooms in the past decade. They cost a bit, are disliked by a good number of teachers because they are often prone to failing right when you need them. A whiteboard pen with ink in can run out, fair enough, but you can normally reach for another and carry on. With a computer, digital screen, if it goes wrong, it’s a little more complicated. Like mathematics, many of us claim not to be very good at it – but we have to use maths, and technology every day. Teachers are therefore expected to make use of these boards to teach their students.

My audience is always a mix of those who adore the boards, or want to learn because they’re fresh to teaching, those who are seasoned at finding reasons not to use it, and those who are absolutely petrified of them. Once we’ve got over the line of ‘don’t press there – you’ll launch the missiles’ and had a grin, without a student audience, I enjoy turning that fear round to curiosity. I get a fair bit of ribbing back – after all, these people teach people for their main role, and as I teach them, they’re critiquing me for my approach too. I was apprehensive at first, but they’re a supportive bunch – even more so now I am studying a part time course which with my degree could qualify me enough to teach students too.

I know I have a lot to learn with teaching, but looking back on the past few months vs. my time at the agency, I am happy that through learning more about applying hardware to teaching, I’m also rapidly improving my skills in face to face interaction and training. Whereas I might have introverted tendencies – the change in role has allowed me to step back over. It has allowed me to recapture that feeling in approaching Internet World in 2012, where I started to consider where my career might go next.