Teachers from saltash.net community school Mr Dan Buckley (Deputy Head), Mr Ben Rowe (Head of Year 7) and Miss Katie Boothman (History Teacher) attended Microsoft’s Global Forum in Prague where they were able to participate in a conference with educators from around the World. This truly fantastic Professional Development opportunity was also a vital asset to saltash.net community school who are now recognised as a Microsoft Mentor School and a World Tour school as they pave the way for development with new technologies in the UK. Miss Katie Boothman was also participating in a Global Competition to be recognised as a Microsoft Innovative Educator where she competed with educators around the globe. Her project is called the H.I.T Squad (History Information Technology) who have been enriching schemes of work and forging community links in a real effort to redefine what it means to be a learner as well as build a passion for History. Katie had this to say about her time in Prague;
“Microsoft’s Global Forum was a real pleasure to be part of. It encompassed personal challenge, vital friendships and enriching key notes. My main role as a participant was to take the H.I.T Squad project and demonstrate the value that it has as a learning activity and how it has enabled student centred learning and a reinvigorated curriculum. The Forum acted as a platform for me to do this and I was able to speak to like minded educators from around the world who will have been given the model to use. Of course, this also formed part of the competition element of the conference and whilst I didn’t go with a ‘win at all costs’ attitude I did desire to share the passion of the children and how successful the project could be.
I was delighted to be selected as a runner up in the category of ‘Extending Learning Beyond the Classroom,’ as this demonstrates to all the young people involved how revolutionary and significant their work is. However, for me the winning was such a small part; there was such a buzz at the conference which was generated by bringing together 100s of people who all care and want to inspire. This is where the true value of Microsoft’s Partners in Learning lies: I have come away with contacts from a whole host of projects which aren’t all necessarily related to History but that I can deploy to other departments.
This ethos of inspiration was furthered by some of the most passionate Key Notes speakers I have ever listened to such as Bruce Dixon and Chris Gerry; not only where they giving practical information on what can be done in the classroom and implemented straight away but they also verbalised their Educational Philosophies which gave a real representation of what education needs to be today and how to get there.
As a teacher I left Prague feeling so ready to not only continue developing the scalability of the HIT Squad project but also with my eyes open to a whole host of ideas for using traditional and new technologies; I know the value of learning in my classroom will increase!“