Once again, it was by invitation that students from saltash.net community school, this year for the first time accompanied by students from Landulph Primary School, led the way at the international technology in education show (BETT) in London. On Monday 18th January, Amy Donovan and Jack Wickham from Year 10 represented the views of UK children during the opening BETT event attended by World Education Leaders, then on Wednesday and Thursday, students from years 6,7,8 and 9 presented to thousands of teachers and visiting professionals on both the main stage, and the Promethean stand.
Traditionally the annual BETT conference is not a place at which student voice is heard, and it is hard to find a stand that has students presenting on it. Once again however, students from both schools in the Saltash Multi Academy Regional Trust (SMART) were invited by one of the world leaders in technology, Promethean, to attend and talk about software they are helping to explore and develop.
The students began by presenting to a packed arena of professionals on the Secondary Live Stage, talking about their use of the Promethean ClassFlow system, and how it helps them measure their progress and achievement in lessons.
“It’s just great to be working with a company that understand how crucial students are as stakeholders in their own learning,” explained Mr Wieprecht, Head of Year 9, and the school’s link to the technology giant. “The students’ opinions are sought and valued. Technology in Education will never work unless we trust students and act on their views.”
After presenting on the stage, the students then took over the huge Promethean stand, demonstrating the ClassFlow system in practice, and leading demonstrations. Working in rotation, the students were able to really show exactly what the program could offer, and how saltash.net continues to trial the newest technology for the benefit of students.
“It was brilliant,” commented, year 7 student, Ben Carr. “I had so much fun and loved being able to present to teachers.”
“It’s so important that we are listened to,” added Amber Kelly. “If we are expected to use this, we need to make sure it works first.”
When the children were not presenting they were touring the show and advising Mr Buckley, deputy head, and Mrs Bonner, teaching assistant, what the school should invest in next. Mr Buckley explained, “As soon as the children realise that they are being treated as advisors the quality of their questioning goes through the roof, for example one student was asking about integration with Accelerated Reader!”
The students worked hard, but also got to play hard, and were treated by Promethean to a trip to see the Disney classic ‘The Lion King’. “It is the best show I’ve ever seen,” said Kyle Hollister, a Year 9 student. “I got to see ‘Matilda’ last year when we presented at BETT but I think the Lion King was even better.”
The organiser of the opening event cited the comments from our students as “The highlight of the show so far for me” and this praise was echoed by the Head of Promethean Education UK who commented on the “tremendous work” of the students.
“It’s not just about telling the story of saltash.net and our use of technology,” finished Mr Wieprecht. “It’s also about giving our young people these incredible life chances to present on stage and in public to so many people. The confidence this builds will open so many doors for them in the future, and the school’s reputation for the high calibre of our student leadership and the eloquent way our students speak grows every year.”