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Mr Bishop Presents at BETT 2017

Headteacher presents his view of education for the future at major London event

A Devon headteacher emphasised the importance of project-based learning using both physical and digital tools in the education of young people when he gave a major presentation at BETT, the annual education technology event in London, on 27 January. 

Jonathan Bishop, headteacher of Broadclyst Community Primary School, and chief executive of the Cornerstone Multi-Academy Trust (MAT), discussed the future of education in a presentation entitled Future Gazing: Developing a Digital Academy.

Accepting that most new-build schools would, for budgetary reasons, be of a standardised design, Mr Bishop explained his view that what is therefore needed is the creation of learning spaces – some of them physical with digital tools, and others digital with physical tools.

“The physical space of a 21st century classroom allows a rich mix of media, with multiple projection points and inputs, controlled by teachers. The digital tools are there to support pupils’ needs, and help them to collaborate across classrooms and countries, allowing them to gain knowledge and skills through investigation and exploration within a specific project, known as project-based learning. The use of digital ink (using a pen-like stylus on a device) allows teachers to provide a personalised education for each child, with quick responses and targeted feedback, while ensuring a secure online environment and access for parents to see what their child is learning.

“At the same time, there are digital spaces, such as Microsoft OneNote, where teachers can upload lesson content and children can add and share information, ideas and work in a cloud-based, collaborative virtual environment. These spaces can be used to collate portfolios of evidence so that children’s work can be tracked against targets.

“Even in Early Years education, children can use face recognition software such as Windows Hello to log in to devices, and digital signage is embedded within their environment.”

Mr Bishop ended his presentation by recognising the need also to craft the 21st century teaching profession: “We need a workforce able to design a curriculum that gives both skills and knowledge; we need teachers able to embrace project-based learning.”

The Cornerstone MAT currently comprises Broadclyst Community Primary School, Westclyst Community Primary School and the Cornerstone Teaching School, which offers training and development for teachers. A further primary school in Monkerton will open in 2019.