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.


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.


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.

Good Practice

Migration Stories with Tour Builder

Human migration and the associated risks, challenges and opportunities has been the Unit of Inquiry for our Year 5s this half term. With great empathy and concern they have reflected on the current refugee crisis and have also explored their own family migration stories.

At the beginning of the unit we tuned students in by sharing migration stories of teachers across the school. In order to give children an understanding of the journey length and settings of each destination, we asked willing staff to create a Tour Builder to share their migration story. See Figure 1 for a screenshot of my migration story.

tour builder
Figure 1: An example of Tour Builder modelled to the students.

Tour Builder is an online tool that allows you to create interactive journeys that enrich student understanding. With the use of Maps; locations and travel routes can be plotted across the world with the opportunity for the viewer to zoom in and explore each of those locations. To weave the story together; photos, videos and text can be added giving detailed descriptions of the destinations. An introduction video on how to use this tool can be found here.

Once students had a taste of Tour Builder, they were very keen to create there own. Very quickly they picked up the skills and were adding details to each of their migration locations. Some students were absolutely captivated by the power of Street View and expertly used this element to gain an understanding of unknown locations or to revisit fond childhood memories. One particular student was recording the migration of his Grandfather and noted that towns in which he had lived in Ukraine had changed name and were no longer on the modern map. The sharing of these connections sparked great enthusiasm within the class and led to further action with Tour Builder at home.

Digital Leaders, Uncategorized

Coding Week

Coding week in the Lower School was a big success! The purpose of this week was to spark an interest in computer programming across the school. To kick off the celebrations our student Digital Leaders ran an assembly to spread the excitement. One of our Digital Leaders dressed up as a robot and his peers created an algorithm for him to follow. Two competitions were also launched for Lower and Upper Primary. Students had to use problem solving skills to identify what would happen when the algorithms were run.

Throughout the week, each class completed an Hour of Code. Students were introduced to key coding terminology such as algorithm (step by step instructions to solve a problem) and debug (find and fix mistakes in a computer program).  As they wrote, ran and debugged algorithms, students were encouraged to use the computing vocabulary with their peers. It was wonderful to hear some of our youngest students talk about how computers work.



Practicing coding is an excellent opportunity for students to work collaboratively and use problem solving skills. When students were paired together on a device, we found that rich discussion followed as they shared strategies and clarified steps whilst adding them to the algorithm. Students also developed their spatial awareness skills as they determined which way they should turn their character to reach the target.

Overall it was a successful week and feedback from staff and students was positive. We look forward to including more coding into the curriculum and exploring more resources.

Good Practice

IT Agreement: Example of Good Practice

A wonderful example of an IT Class Agreement can be seen on the wall of Year 3. At the beginning of the year the students worked together to create this list of expectations when using an iPad. The agreement is displayed at child height and serves as a reminder of good practice whenever they use the equipment. What a great idea!

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