Tag Archives: international

Improve pupils’ global awareness – and you might even get some cash too…

Dave Smith, ICT adviser at Havering School Improvement Services, shares the opportunities for schools to  connect withDave Smith others around the world.

  • Would you like to link with another country in Europe through ICT?
  • Do you have a desire to partner with a school outside of Europe?
  • Are you looking to enhance your provision for Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural?
  • Would you like some funding to help too?

Well, the British Council has some ideas that could help…

Schools with whom I work have had the pleasure of making some excellent links through international study visits, video-conferencing and linking programmes including strong relationships with Japan, Sweden and Italy amongst others.  The British Council has often been part of supporting the initiation of such links.

John Rolfe, schools marketing manager at the British Council, recently came to talk to schools who are part of the Havering International ICT Development Group to share the range of opportunities to link with schools in other countries. A fascinating talk from John provided lots of ideas about how to link with schools overseas – a great way to enhance the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) aspects of your school’s provision.

John shared various projects, including the excellent Connecting Classrooms programme.  Working in over 50 countries, Connecting Classrooms is committed to supporting partnerships between over 5000 schools in the UK and worldwide and to help over 30,000 schools to collaborate online. The programme comes with a £1500 bursary to fund inter-school activities and visits, as well as direct support from officers at the British Council to help to link you with a partner school.  You could take the opportunity to share ICT practice in your establishment with a partner school abroad and find ways to use free, online tools to work on collaborative projects as part of this too.

Working internationally to support global citizenship in the curriculum is a learning journey for schools and teachers. Connecting Classrooms has developed a range of face-to-face and online courses and workshops that are aimed at practitioners who are new to the international context and for those who are already actively engaged in school partnerships who wish to deepen their professional experiences. The programme also supports the very accessible and supportive Britsh Council International School Award accreditation framework.

The next deadline for funding applications is Monday 11 February and further information can be found at www.britishcouncil.org/connectingclassrooms

John also spoke to attendees about the fantastic etwinning (www.britishcouncil.org/etwinning) opportunity – the free and safe platform for teachers to connect, develop collaborative projects and share ideas across Europe.  We are aiming to hold an eTwinning workshop for Havering schools later in the spring term 2013 – again funded by the British Council.  We hope that schools will take this opportunity to make links through ICT and develop strong linking projects that will again enhance opportunities for pupils and help to strengthen their SMSC provision, hopefully helping them to achieve even better Ofsted inspection outcomes.

The British Council provides a superb collection of eTwinning ideas including a downloadable publication available at the following address http://www.etwinning.net/en/pub/index.htm

So, with these ideas in mind why not add the British Council at stand B353B to your visit planner at Bett. I’m sure that you will come away pleasantly surprised at the great opportunities available for pupils and staff alike.

Dave Smith is ICT adviser at the Havering School Improvement Services in London, England. Find out more at www.haveringict.edublogs.org, or find him on Twitter at@haveringict or @davesmithict.

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The changing nature of BETT

Tony Parkin, an educational consultant and former Head of ICT Development at SSAT (and, as he describes himself, a disruptive nostalgist), ponders the many reasons why people go to BETT.

So we are into the autumn term, with weather to match, and thoughts turn towards Christmas, and its immediate follower… the BETT show. Which means time for the annual debate about this show, its role, purpose and value to school leaders and practitioners. In fact Ray Barker’s first entry on this blog was undoubtedly the starting pistol for this discussion, as he extolls BETT’s virtues as free CPD… one of its many dimensions.

I have been going to BETT since its inception… one of the exhibitors erecting a stand in that first year, bumping his head on the amazingly low roof of the original Barbican exhibition space (only amazing until you realised it was originally designed to be a car park). I have been almost every year since – and admit to welcoming each opportunity and seeing it as a high point of the education technology year. I even attended when not working in education, and met others doing exactly the same!

Current BETT attendees who see it as an ICT showcase would be surprised at the number of furniture and fittings suppliers, training providers, stationery manufacturers and book publishers that were there at the early events. BETT has been changing and developing annually since those early days, and these changes have invariably been accompanied by a background mix of approving and disapproving comments. The BETT show represents so many different things to many different people. For every teacher seeking free CPD there is a supplier seeing BETT as their opportunity to get a carefully-nurtured educational product in front of the eyes of potential purchasers. For every politician and government agency keen to get an opportunity to extol and promote their current policy, there has been a practitioner keen to meet up with and exchange ideas with other practitioners without having their ears bent or wallet raided. Given these different expectations and needs it is hardly surprising that there is this annual debate.

Trade show? National conference with an exhibition attached? International showcase and exhibition with a conference attached? BETT is expected to be all these things and more – and problems only arise when people expect it to be focussed solely upon one, rather than catering to all. The debate, often heated, is nonetheless often useful and constructive… and can be a useful catalyst for new developments. Everyone now welcomes and benefits from the new season of practitioner events, such as Teachmeet BETT, Teachmeet Takeovers and Collabor8te4Change that grew out of practitioner criticisms.

For me BETT is a wonderful opportunity for an annual coming together of a wider community, where teacher meets manufacturer, supplier meets consultant, and bureaucrat actually gets to see some (albeit sadly too few) children using technology. Our shared faith in the value of learning technologies is reinforced. Old friendships are renewed and new ones made. New technologies are encountered for the first time – even during one of those apocryphal ‘nothing new at BETT this year’ years. Perhaps most importantly, UK plc gets to show the world it is a leader in the development and use of learning technologies, and an amazingly large number of international leaders and practitioners come to learn, admire and buy into that vision. And the buying matters…

You can follow Tony Parkin on Twitter @tonyparkin

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