Publication

My first published article

Very excited to share my first published article on pages 20-21 of Focus magazine May-June 2017. This magazine is aimed at expat professionals and families in London. My article is called ‘Technology helps children find their voice’.

To find out more about the Focus community for expats and professionals living in the UK please click here.

To read full article, please click here.

Google Certified Innovator

Becoming A Google Certified Innovator: The Excitement Builds

Finding out that I was accepted into the #LON17 Google Certified Innovator Program was simply exhilarating! We were notified via email and as soon as the word got out, we were posting like crazy, celebrating our glorious news.

It was a wonderful buzz connecting with 35 other like minded educators from around the world who had just received the same news; that we were going to be Innovators! Well, I really should revise that point, as many of us have already started innovating in education; now we have the opportunity to do so on a bigger scale with the support of Google.

Very swiftly our cohort began to make connections online, forming what is likely to be some lasting friendships. With such positivity and willingness to share, team mates posted words of encouragement and resources within the group. We also had some nifty designers who came up with #LON17 logos to inspire our team. Aren’t they great?!

#LON17 theresa
Designed by Dr Theresa Hamm @DrTHamm
LON17_CohortLogo (Final)
Designed by Robert King @RobertIsaKing

Coming from a wide range of locations and backgrounds, our #LON17 cohort has wonderful ideas for innovation. I feel really blessed to be a part of this talented group of educators. Check out our introductions and visions on the Google for Education Certified Innovators site.

As newly recruited Google Innovators, we were sent a BreakoutEDU box with a collaborative problem to solve. It was quite exciting to receive this in the mail as this was my first experience with BreakoutEDU. Our boxes contained very basic clues which required a lot discussion and testing of theories to solve the mystery. Luckily there were some bright sparks in the group who cracked different parts of the code and led us to solving part one of our challenge.

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BreakoutEDU

Our next step in the puzzle is to fill our box with an item that represents ourselves and give clues for others to guess our lock code. This will very cleverly lead us to introducing ourselves and how we have come to be the educators that we are today. What a great way to foster collaboration!

With two weeks to go, we excitedly await to meet our team mates and coaches in person at the London Google Innovator Academy 19th – 21st April 2017. As the countdown begins, I better get my thinking cap on and decide what to put in my BreakoutEDU box!

Digital Leaders

Creating Yearbook Pages with Canva

Simple to use with amazing results. This is what I love about Canva! This web based graphic design tool allows you to easily use templates and frames to create appealing creative content. There are a wide variety of template sizes from A4 pages to sizes perfect for your social media page.

With its drag and drop features it is so easy to add content to your page. Upload some pics, drag and drop them in a frame and voilà! You have a masterpiece!

Last year was our first time creating a school yearbook. Many teachers did not know where to start. Once I showed them how easy it is to create with Canva, they were hooked! I’m looking forward to seeing more creations this year.

Our Digital Leaders yearbook pages from 2016

Good Practice, Online Safety

Safer Internet Day 2017

Each year I always look forward to the release of Safer Internet Day resources from the UK Safer Internet Center. For this annual event they provide activities to engage the students and promote discussions about online safety. This year the theme was:

Be the change: Unite for a better internet!

Our students and teachers loved taking pictures in our photo booth to convey different online safety messages. See some examples below:

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School Radio

Developing a school radio station

They say ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ and now I really feel the impact of those words. Developing Dwight Radio has been a long and rewarding journey; many hours were sacrificed but so many inspiring moments were gained. Seeing the enthusiasm and delight of the students as they walk into the radio booth never grows old.

I’ll never forget the moment when a child with very little English decided to follow his classmates up to the radio booth, just to see what all the fuss was about. He had no initial intentions of speaking but as the session progressed, we slowly encouraged him to join in. First he put on headphones to hear the others speak. Then we showed him how to control the mic faders. Before we knew it, he was recording himself on the radio! With pride and certainty, he introduced himself and his friends. I’m trying not to sound corny but it really was one of those moments that melted your heart.

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Our school radio journey started over 12 months ago when we purchased radio equipment from School Radio. This company provides ongoing support which has been wonderful for those moments when I have forgotten how to customise a certain feature or simply when I needed advice. Available on their website are teaching resources which focus on using the radio to support the curriculum. This was a big selling point for us as we wanted a radio station to showcase learning.

Once our radio booth was set up, it came time to play. After receiving training, many hours were spent familiarising myself with the features and planning how to organise radio content. Thankfully before purchasing the equipment, my Headteacher and I had visited Anson Primary School who have a well established and successful school radio station. They had given us advice on how to organise and develop a system of recording and curating radio content. With that advice in mind, I took time to plan this before training the masses.

To allow the most efficient use of the radio station, I began by training our Learning Support Assistants (LSAs). Their role is to support students which gives them a bit more flexibility when it comes to leaving the classroom. Whilst the teacher works with most of the class, LSAs are able to take small groups of children out to the radio booth.

My student Digital Leaders also became important ambassadors for promoting the radio. They quickly picked up the skills to use the radio independently and planned ways that we could encourage others to join in the fun.  They have recorded promotional videos for assemblies, created online safety messages and recorded stories for younger students.

After enough people were using the radio, we began creating termly radio shows. These shows included content from Kindergarten to Year 6 and showcased a range of creativity and learning. Check out our Dwight Radio page for our Autumn radio show.

We are now about to embark on weekly radio shows to further promote the radio. With the support of the Lower School ICT Committee we have planned ways to encourage involvement across the school with regular segments assigned to different areas and other exciting initiatives. Stay tuned to read more about our Dwight Radio updates.

Good Practice, Google Certified Innovator

Google Innovator Application

With the next Google for Education Innovator academy to be held in London April 2017, I thought it was about time that I apply for this exciting opportunity. The chance to have a year of support to develop an innovative idea for education is one not to be missed.

I’m sure that there will be lots of worthy applications and I look forward to seeing other educator’s ideas. Good luck to all the applicants!

Here is my Vision Deck and video below.

Continual Professional Development, Good Practice

Fun with Google Expeditions

Recently we were lucky enough to participate in the Google Expeditions Pioneer Programme. What a wonderful experience this was!

We signed up to participate in the programme and were given a visit date for a Google representative to come and teach staff and students how to use Google Expeditions.

Before the visit, we were asked to select Expeditions to suit the learning needs of the different year groups. I must say that I was quite impressed as there were over 400 different Expeditions to choose from (I’m sure this number has increased since then). We had Year 6 students experiences what life was like in WW2 trenches and Year 2 students exploring the functionality of a Recycling Depot.

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On the day, the Google Rep arrived with all the equipment needed to run the Expeditions; they even brought their own router so they didn’t need to rely on school wifi. At the beginning of the day, teachers were given a training on how to use the App and equipment. They had the opportunity to play with the equipment before introducing it to the students. The focus of the day was not for the Google Rep to show the students how to use Expeditions but for the teachers to lead the way.

When it came time for classes to experience Google Expeditions, there was lots of awe and excitement. It was wonderful to hear each class aww in amazement as they begin their Expedition. Many excited discussions were had.

Teachers also showed excitement as they lead the Expedition and realised it was not as scary as it looked. With increasing confidence they directed their students around the virtual environment and navigated the technology with ease.

Overall Google Expeditions is a wonderful tool that has the power to inspire and engage learners. With a wide range of Expedition topics available, there is bound to be something to suit your students’ learning needs.