It’s that time of year again – we’re preparing to take our four award-winning teachers to Berlin for our European Innovative Education Forum. You’ll recall that last year we went to Vienna for this event, and brought along with us four UK teachers as well. (Two of them, Mandeep and Ollie, ended up winning awards at the Vienna event, and again at the Worldwide Innovative Education Forum in Brazil!)
At our UK Innovative Teachers Forum in Birmingham in December, we selected four teachers from the many fantastic virtual classroom tours we received from all over the country. As we did last year, we wanted to profile these talented teachers and give you a look at the great work they’re doing.
Today I’ll introduce you to Amy Lewis, from saltash .NET community school in Cornwall, and Jan Webb from Weston Village Primary School in Cheshire. Both teachers had an international flavour to their projects, as both collaborated with schools in far corners of the globe.
Amy Lewis – Heroes R Global
Amy’s project was inspired by some collaborative work that occured when her assistant head teacher Dan Roberts (aka, the Chicken Man) accompanied us to Hong Kong for the Innovative Teachers Forum in 2008. Amy took advantage of the connections Dan made with teachers in Indonesia, Nigeria, Canada, Ireland and Hong Kong to develop a collaborative project on Heroes.
After looking at the concept of a hero and discussing how it might be different in different cultures, the students chose a local hero and developed movies, Photostories and even Photosynths to share with the other schools. In return, Saltash students reviewed similar materials from their fellow students around the world, and collaborated on a list of questions to ask about each of the other heroes. As part of the project, students were able to participate in a live web conference with the partner school in Indonesia, which was broadcast on Indonesian national television. Students ended the project by creating a song in Songsmith about what they had learned. The song has subsequently been awarded a prize in the British Council’s “I’m a Global Citizen” competition.
Jan Webb – Working in a Classroom without Walls
Jan’s virtual classroom tour also involves connecting her pupils with others around the world, but it comprises two different cross-curricular mini-projects that she was able to complete within her school’s Uniservity learning platform. First, her pupils connected with a school in Singapore, where they used wikis and a “friendship forum” to both get to know each other and to study the topic of healthy living. As part of this activity, pupils from both schools took measurements of themselves (height, weight, etc) and used Excel to find similarities and differences.
The pupils then partnered with another school in Brunei to look at rainforests. Jan’s pupils in Weston benefitted immensely from the pupils in Brunei, who actually visited a local rainforest and then gave the English pupils a “tour” of the rainforest through pictures and information they were able to collect and share. Weston Village pupils then used the information they learned to create persuasive writing and then radio adverts for a “save the rainforest” campaign.
Both Jan and Amy’s virtual classroom tours can be found on the Partners in Learning Network. Both VCTs contain all of the planning information, assessments, curriculum mapping and examples of student work – everything you need to use these activities with your students.
in the next blog, we’ll look at our next two innovative teachers – David Rogers and Simon Horleston – and the work they’re bringing to Berlin.