Here is a recent article at Education Technology, covering many of the approaches we take in school to using IT to support learning across the curriculum.
In the UK, the Government spends more than £900m a year on education technology in the classroom. As this technology has continued to revolutionise the classroom, there has been a shift in teaching and learning away from the more traditional format of teachers lecturing students from the front of the classroom to a more collaborative learning environment, where teachers and students work together.
The investment by the Government has had a massive impact in the classroom, enabling a more student-led approach, allowing the teacher to assume a facilitating role rather than an instructing one. Student-led learning develops cognitive skills such as problem solving, teamwork, listening skills and the ability to apply what they have learnt in practice.
This student-led approach is something championed at Broadclyst Community Primary School (BCPS) in Exeter. The school has developed an exceptional reputation for its innovative use of IT and digital media, allowing pupils to take charge of their learning and collaborate on a scale beyond the classroom walls; an approach which is apparent in its Global Enterprise Challenge (GEC).
The GEC is a business initiative run by the school, and open to pupils aged between 9 and 15 across the world. It teaches them highly valuable skills including product design, market research, manufacture and marketing, putting pupil’s learning into a real-life context.
This year children from over 20 schools across the globe worked together in teams to select a product which would be developed and eventually take to the market. Throughout the process, they collaborated with each other using Office 365 software including Yammer, Skype for Business, Teams and more.
There has been a shift in teaching and learning away from the more traditional format of teachers lecturing students from the front of the classroom to a more collaborative learning environment - Carl Sheen, Head of Training and Development, Genee World
Broadclyst School wanted to take this collaboration a step further, showcasing the next stage of the challenge through the use of interactive AV technology. Pupils at the Genee World stand at Bett 2018 were able to conduct a live lesson with the rest of the class back at the school.
Matt Pitts, a teacher at Broadclyst School, explained how the interactive technology allowed them to work together on the same projects: “The kids were at the stage where they needed to be able to advertise their product to the wider community. To decide how best to do this, they started a brainstorm using interactive boards with multi-authoring ability, allowing them to work together and analyse texts, facilitate communication between different groups and share ideas virtually. Using the software on the interactive boards allowed a number of pupils to use the touch screen at one time, meaning each individual could get down their ideas, annotate work, share it with the other groups in the various locations and start to find solutions to any problems they came across when planning.”
Giving pupils the freedom to take ownership of their learning means that they can share experiences and skills beyond the classroom. Utilising technology to do this on a global scale will ensure pupils gain a greater understanding of other cultures, appreciate alternative interpretations of tasks and build their communication skills.
Technology has also helped to increase pupil engagement, with many immersing themselves in new environments without even having to leave the classroom. For example, the introduction of VR in the classroom and similar cost-effective technologies, including 360⁰ video, are ways that independent learning has become revolutionised in the classroom.
When it comes to technology though, Matt believes that it must take learning to the next level and provide a value-added experience: “We are not necessarily a school that adopts everything that’s new. I think it is really important to be quite discerning over what you put into the classroom. For us, the technology allows us to teach the curriculum we want to teach better than we could without it.
“Projects like the GEC and the use of technology has allowed our pupils to easily access their work wherever they are,” he continued. “While this kind of project-based learning can happen without the use of technology, we generally find that our pupils become a lot more engaged, excited and willing to learn and it allows them to create outcomes that they simply couldn’t have created any other way.
The much-anticipated annual trip to the Netherlands was another great success this year. A group of twenty-seven Year 6s enjoyed a week of Dutch culture and cuisine in the glorious sunshine. It also provided the opportunity for the children to be reunited with their friends from Daltonschool Elserike, whom they had got to know during our week at Heatree Activity Centre when we visited their school.
After a flight from Exeter airport to Amsterdam and then a show train journey to Apeldoorn, the group arrived at their accommodation and enjoyed an evening of exploring the local area. The next morning saw the children enjoy a traditional Dutch breakfast of ‘Hagelslag’, otherwise known as sprinkles! This was followed by a trip to the ‘Open Lucht’ museum, a museum all about the history and life of the Netherlands. This was an informative and interactive visit, the highlight being the ride around the museum on a traditional tram.
After another sprinkle-filled breakfast, we visited our link school, Elserike. The children of the school were very welcoming, giving a tour of the school and even allowing the use of their brand-new VR headsets! The two school groups then set off together to visit the ‘Kamp Vught National Memorial’, This combined memorial centre and museum features various exhibitions, a memorial room and wall of reflection to commemorate it’s history as a Transit Camp in the Holocaust. This was both an interesting and moving experience and provided a unique insight into a prevalent moment in European history.
The final day of the trip provided the opportunity to visit the beautiful city of Amsterdam and the jam-packed schedule led to a very high step-count indeed! Taking in the city from a canal boat tour provided the best views possible, spotting landmarks such as the narrowest building in the city, which is only 1m wide. A visit to the Rijks Museum was also on the cards and the children particularly enjoyed seeing the famous ‘Night Watch’ by Rembrandt, which they have studied in class, as well as Van Gogh’s ‘Self-Portrait’. After sampling some delicious ‘Stroopwafels’, the final stop of the day was to visit Anne Frank’s house, before taking the train back to the hostel in time to watch England vs. Belgium.
A great week was had by all and a particular thank you goes to our hosts at Elserike who we look forward to seeing again next year.
Year 5 and 6 take part in the Junior Maths Challenge at St James’ School
Eight pupils – Harrison, Annelise, Martha and Lewis from Year 6 and Ben, Sofia, Jack and Otto from Year 5 went to St. James’ School in Exeter on the 20th June to take part in the Junior Maths Challenge semi-finals 2018.
There were three rounds in the challenge. Firstly, there was the multiple choice round. Second, the Sudoku round and thirdly a construction round. Running throughout these were the ‘Marathon’ questions which were particularly fiendish and worth additional points. The challenges were all problem-solving brain teasers that pushed the children’s maths abilities to the limit – such as these two examples:
• In a netball league a team gets some points for a win, fewer for a draw and none for a loss. After 10 games, my team won 7 and drew 3. We have 44 points. My sister’s team have won 5, drawn 2 and lost 3. How many points do they have?
• The first and third digits of the five digit number ?6?are the same. The number is exactly divisible by 9. What digit does the ? represent?
Annelise said that the event was good fun, but was also very challenging. Sadly, the teams did not make it into the top four (to qualify for the finals) this time, but we look forward to next year’s challenge!
The Exeter Primary Swimming Gala was a fantastic event with races in all strokes!
Broadclyst’s Swimming Squad went to race at Pyramids pool in Exeter, competing in the Exeter Primary Schools’ Swimming Gala on Tuesday the 19th of June. They arrived at the pool, prepared themselves well for their races and took their seats in the stands to watch the heats unfold. The children all competed fantastically in their heats – most of them making it into the finals!
The children had a short break to note down their times and ready themselves for the fastest races that would be the finals. There were races for Year 4, 5 and 6 in every stoke and in both boys and girls – we had a swimmer in every race but two – fantastic start! The children were diving from professional blocks into the pool and sprinting their one length (25m) in the strokes in around 20 seconds! The finals went brilliantly and many of the children finished in podium places – including a few gold medals! The relays followed the finals and the swim squad swam a girls 4x25 freestyle and boys 4x25 freestyle with pace and great teamwork!
After all the races were completed the organisers gathered all the swimmers together to announce the winners! It was very exciting as the shield is huge. Our highest ever finishing position is 4th so we were delighted to be announced as the 2nd placed team – a magnificent achievement, well swam everyone!
The weather couldn’t have been better for the Midsummer Picnic and Concert. It was the most well attended one we have ever had with well over 200 hundred children and their families and friends to support them. The children sang a range of songs that they have learnt over the past year, and we even snuck in a Winter Carol! The children sang with gusto in their individual choirs and as a whole school for Touch the Sky, Hall of Fame, and Radioactive. We also sang the now traditional annual medley which this year included; I Love my Life, Human, Play That Song, Heroes, and Castle on the Hill. The medley is always a favourite with the children and we’re sure they are still singing it at home!
We also had a guest appearance by Kiera Raynor-Johnson an ex-pupil who now attends Clyst Vale community college. She sang ‘Ashes’ accompanied by the Chamber Choir before entertaining us all during the interval when we were tucking into our picnics. Kiera is raising money for her Tanzanear voluntary work and used her performance as a busking opportunity. She was thrilled when she counted the money and the total was £246.54 which is amazing. Kiera said she honestly wasn’t expecting anything anywhere near that and would like to say thank you very much for involving her and your very generous donations.
Although the evening over-ran we still made time for some audience participation and we had everyone dancing and singing to Abba’s Dancing Queen. The children in the choir were very entertained by the parents dancing around, and we have had requests for this to become a permanent feature. Any suggestions for the 2019 Midsummer Concert song will be gratefully received and considered!
We hope you enjoyed the concert and thank you for your continued support of the choirs.
Year 6’s adventure training week at Heatree Activity centre is always a highlight of year for the class and this year was no exception. With glorious weather, excellent instructors and a wide range of outdoor activities, the children had a lovely week. The activity sessions featured outdoor pursuits, such as mountain biking, archery, high ropes and raft-building. In addition, the class was joined by eleven students from Daltonschool Elserike, one of BCPS’s link schools in the Netherlands, who were on their annual overseas residential.
Throughout the week, the children worked together in teams to tackled the different activities. The children formed new friendships, both with classmates and with the Dutch children. It was heartening to see the way in which children encouraged and supported one another when tackling challenges. There was also an opportunity for each team member to earn a National Outdoor Learning Award (NOLA). Instructors worked with them to explore the three core values of outdoor education, a desire to learn new skills, safety and respect. All of the children succeeded in achieving this and were a credit to the school.
Many of the children challenged their fears and accomplished far more than they believed that they could. “The mountain biking track was brilliant, yet challenging,” said Warren Beer. Sonny Smith agreed: “The berms were really fun to go over, even though I fell off!” Cecily Marsh particularly enjoyed archery: “When I began, I couldn’t even hit the target, but I improved a lot!” Lily Kehoe’s favourite was abseiling as it “helped her to overcome her fear of heights.”
Some of the Year 6s will be heading to the Netherlands next week to meet up with their counterparts from Elserike, once again.
Year 5 perform ‘Gertrude’s Garden Party’ to mark centenary of WW1 & women’s voting rights.
1918 marked two important occasions in the history of our country. First, it was the end of World War One. Second, it was the year when many women were granted the vote for the first time. 100 years later, in 2018, the Year 5 pupils put on a drama production to celebrate and remember these landmark events. Set in the grounds of the National Trust’s Killerton house, the pupils performed a series of historical sketches to reveal some of the realities that took place in that era of our history. Performing as soldiers, laundry maids, suffragettes, gardeners and the rich, the play was set on a real event that was hosted by Gertrude Acland – the lady of the house – in the 1910s: an Anti-Suffrage garden party.
The four performances which took place in the mornings and afternoons of the 14th and 15th June were both scripted to inform and entertain. Visitors found themselves observing the political debates of Gertrude and her husband Charles against their Suffragist niece and nephew- Francis and Eleanor (as well as their troublesome children.) They then saw the disorganised and unruly gardeners who were being tasked with cutting grass with scissors and paint brown leaves green in readiness for the ‘distinguished guests.’ A corporal was then to be encountered as he and his men discovered that due to them leaving their properties to fight in the war, they too had lost their right to vote! However, there was also a whisper of sabotage on the air as the laundry maids were surreptitiously reading the ‘Suffragette Cookbook’ and various groups of suspicious characters were stumbled upon around the gardens – some collecting pebbles that they definitely weren’t going to throw through windows and another pair who discovered that their sign ‘Vots for Women’ was misspelt. The event culminated in Mr Roberts and Miss Somervell – Anti-suffrage speakers – arriving in a classic Austin to the house and giving some rather controversial speeches. Following this, the anti-suffrage garden party goers began to sing a song, which was quickly drowned out by the cacophony of suffragettes marching in and crashing the party.
The children all performed excellently in the performances, and the parents and other visitors who attended the event found it highly enjoyable!
Recordings of the performances will be available on Clickview in the near future. Keep your eye out for another Year 5 performance in Summer 2019!