Optimising pupil progress through edtech

Using digital content and technology to support professional development and optimise pupil progress

By Kate Jennings, Head Teacher at Mission Grove Primary School, Walthamstow, London

Mission Grove Primary School in Walthamstow, London, has partnered with digital content provider Discovery Education, to embark on a customised professional development effort that will support teachers as they prepare today’s pupils for tomorrow’s challenges. Head teacher Kate Jennings outlines how the five-year programme will enable her teaching staff to develop and hone their skills and techniques in using digital resources and proven pedagogical strategies to enhance learning more effectively.

Since joining Mission Grove Primary School in September 2013, I’ve worked to develop a culture of excellence and progressive teaching to ensure our pupils are receiving the best learning experiences possible. 

Having identified that using technology and digital content would make learning more rigorous, exciting and engaging, it was clear that in order to succeed we would need to build capacity within the school’s leadership and teaching teams. It was important to develop our use and understanding of digital content and technology in order to impact teaching and learning across the whole curriculum – we are a relatively large four-form entry school with over 850 children on roll.

By partnering with Discovery Education, all teachers at Mission Grove will be supported by the Discovery Education Community – a global network of educational professionals who are passionate about transforming the learning experience with digital media and connected through social media, virtual conferences and in person events. 

While membership of the network certainly helps teachers to make an impact on teaching and learning in their school, it’s about so much more than technology – it’s really about making an impact on learning by finding ways of teaching using digital content and tools so that pupils will thrive and learn in the 21st century. 

As part of our new relationship, Discovery Education will provide a five-year, three-phase customised programme of professional development to support teaching staff in honing their skills and techniques in using digital resources and proven pedagogical strategies to optimise learning. 

Consisting of workshops, training days and feedback sessions, the programme is focussed on bringing long term change throughout the school. Some of the areas that teachers and management will be developing include curriculum leadership and digital literacy, coding expertise, the introduction of tablet devices to the classroom and instructional support. 

It’s an exciting time for us as we work to enhance children’s learning and staff training. The vision is to take Mission Grove a step further and to anticipate the development of digital learning in the future.  The work done so far, in just a few months, has already had an impact in our classrooms. During this first phase we are creating a climate for capability, capacity and change relevant to 21st century technology and high quality teaching and learning. Teachers are integrating educational technology and digital media into instruction to accelerate the digital transition, ensuring our pupils are confident digital citizens, literate with the language of computing and demonstrating best practice with regard to e-safety.

In phase 2 teachers will design successful teaching strategies and share with peers in a supportive, collaborative ‘Learning Lab’ environment.  Then in phase 3, teachers will be transferring to practice throughout the school, ensuring the full range of skills and experience across the team is accommodated and there is progression for pupils across the key stages.

This kind of long-term partnership will really support the utilisation of digital technology in the classroom. For more information on the Discovery Education Community visit discoveryeducation.co.uk/community

The Discovery Education Community is the largest and most active professional learning network of its kind.  It is a global community of education professionals, passionate about teaching with technology, digital media and collaboration, to impact student achievement. Community connects members across school systems and around the world through social media, virtual conferences, and in-person events like the DEN Summer Institute, fostering valuable networking, idea sharing and inspiration. Since its launch in 2005, the Discovery Education Community has impacted more than one million educators worldwide. It was voted the best professional development website in 2007 by the Association of Educational Publishers.

W: www.discoveryeducation.co.uk

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