CLC’s highlights of 2021: from Tate and Westminster Abbey projects to robots and Scratch

We recognise what an incredibly tough year it’s been for teachers in schools this year. We’ve seen the dedication, patience and commitment of teachers and school leaders keeping education going, and continuing to make schools safe, happy places despite all the challenges they have faced.

Despite the difficulties we’ve all witnessed, we know that everyone will also have had moments that have been memorable for the right reasons, and we’ve found it an uplifting exercise to recollect ours. Especially when so much happens virtually, we can quickly forget great experiences as everything merges into memories of boxes on a screen. 

Sarah Horrocks, director

There has been so much extraordinary learning at the CLC this year – online, in schools and at our centre; for the CLC team and for all the children and teachers we work with. The Tate, Westminster Abbey and Game Changer Challenge events with children stand out as does the first time I was back in our Clapham centre with classes.

 

I’m going to pick our international events as personal highpoints. Interviewing Tony Bates in Canada, Rudy Blanco and Hillary Kolos from Dreamyard in the Bronx and UNICEF colleagues in Jordan as part of our BlendEd webinar programme showed how passionate educators around the world are tackling similar challenges through positive and imaginative uses of technology. (Do have a look at Tony Bates review of online learning in 2021)

In September we met colleagues from our Co-Learn Erasmus project to develop action research case studies on the changing role of technologies in schools since the pandemic began – with most of us online but Dutch and Danish teachers together in person in Delft. 

 

And then in October Peter and I were able to travel to Denmark with EYFS teacher colleagues from Essex and Hitherfield primary schools to meet other early years teachers as part of Co-Make, our project exploring young children’s computational thinking skills.

Rowan Roberts, teaching and learning consultant

For me it was really exciting to run our Game Changer Challenge project, from the training sessions with teachers to the final event with around 150 pupils in November.

https://twitter.com/Hitherfield15/status/1465647845722230791?s=20

While there have been many projects for which we’ve had to adapt to remote delivery, this one was always intended to take place online. We were able to take advantage of some of the great ways in which technology can help us to scale up our ideas and bring pupils from different schools together; using an online platform like Scratch makes it so much easier for children to share their work, and having the opportunity to connect to many different classrooms on the final day showed them that their games had a real life audience. Not to mention my delight when I had the opportunity to test all of the imaginative games the pupils produced… We’ll share some more detailed insights into this event in the new year but in the meantime check out a few of my favourite entries:  Flappy Fish, Go Konpeki and Magic Keys.

Peter Lillington, teaching and learning consultant

I really enjoyed the return to in-person, in-school workshops for the set of physical computing sessions we ran in all year groups across a week in a school we’ve worked with for a long time. The children clearly relished the opportunity to be using hands-on equipment like the BeeBots and Lego EV3.  As well as learning some practical computing and engaging in problem solving and collaboration, they clearly had fun. It was good too to be in the classroom in partnership with some amazing teachers and brilliant to be working once again in real life with colleagues Gonçalo and Katie.

 

 

And the vital working relationships that we have to establish with classroom teachers in a short space of time were much in evidence when I had to switch at little notice to remote delivery for some Year 1 and Year 2 workshops using Scratch Jr. Initially unsure whether it would be entirely successful, I was very pleased with the outcomes, thanks to some great team work with the teachers present in class. Similarly, doing a remote music session with a Year 6 class using iPads was something I would not have believed feasible two years ago.

Caitlin McMillan, teaching and learning consultant

My highlights of this year would have to be our arts and heritage projects. When it became clear that we would have to run these remotely, the CLC team and our partners came up with some brilliantly creative ideas and approaches.

In May, we collaborated with Westminster Abbey to create the Making a Difference project. Pupils made films about the life and work of people buried or memorialised at the Abbey, and watched them in a series of ‘world premieres’ across the course of a week. The unexpected highlight of the project was that the children could ask questions to the other schools about their historical figures, storytelling choices and filming techniques. It was so lovely to see the pupils responding to an authentic audience of their peers, asking and answering questions with genuine curiosity and interest.

[caption id="attachment_13533" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Shakespeare Workshop and Tour Thomas Academy Primary Millie Pilkington 2018[/caption]

If you want to have a go at doing something similar (or see the brilliant videos that the pupils made), check out the project page on the Westminster Abbey website.

Giacometti inspired tin foil people

 

Later that same month, we brought over 200 pupils together on one day to share art activities inspired by Tate Kids. The children recorded films and music, took photographs, made collages and more before sharing them with their peers. We also did a real-time art activity, making sculptures with aluminium foil inspired by the works of Alberto Giacometti.

Ben Butcher, head of operations

A real highlight was watching the teaching team deliver a year’s worth of workshops in the summer term and hearing all the stories from schools about how amazing the experience was. Also the day to day successes of the technical support provision who have been in schools all year without fail despite the challenges of covid. The combined efforts of the team has resulted  in glowing reviews from our school partners! (see below quote…)

“Having worked with the CLC for 3 years now, we have seen the IT environment at each of our schools transformed. There is now a culture of innovation, development and genuine interest in technology among staff and pupils. The CLC, working closely with our staff, are at the centre of this and do an incredible job at supporting our schools.”

Katie Howard, teaching and media assistant

Having joined the CLC earlier this year, I have only experienced the organisation in a covid world and while it has been a tough year, it has been wonderful to be part of delivering engaging educational experiences both in person and online and having the opportunity to work with so many brilliant children and teachers.

It was amazing to be welcomed into so many schools in the summer term. My specific highlights were taking robot workshops outside into the playground while working with Caitlin and Afeefa during the very hot weeks earlier this year, which was so much fun, and assisting with art with iPad workshops. I am always filled with joy at seeing the creativity that the merging of art with technology sparks! 

Overall it has been a highlight working with such a lovely and generous team of teachers/colleagues who have been incredibly supportive and taught me so much!

Book now

Summer primary school computing conference

14/06/22,
09:15
- 15:30

This event will build upon the Autumn computing conference by inviting subject leaders to reflect on their year in the role, sharing their successes and challenges. It will also introduce new ideas, tools and approaches through talks and practical activities led by members of the CLC team, with opportunities for attendees to share their own expertise and experience. Over the course of the conference activities will touch on the three main areas of the computing curriculum: computer science, digital literacy and information technology. We will also feature advice and examples illustrating the use of technology to support blended learning.

Does your school need a sustained programme in the use of digital technology to underpin your whole school aims and plans?

Our support package covers the following:

Professional learning

Teacher professional development which puts digital at the heart of teaching and learning

Pupil workshops

Engaging, practical workshops for your class, in your school, at our Clapham centre online

Creative technology projects

Engaging, immersive educational experiences with corporate and cultural partners

Consultancy & advice

Get tailored support from our expert team of teachers and technologists

Technology loans

Kit for every classroom

Book a call
with James

Upcoming CPD

Summer primary school computing conference
Summer primary school computing conference

This event will build upon the Autumn computing conference by inviting subject leaders to reflect on their year in the role, sharing their successes and challenges. It will also introduce new ideas, tools and approaches through talks and practical activities led by members of the CLC team, with opportunities for attendees to share their own expertise and experience. Over the course of the conference activities will touch on the three main areas of the computing curriculum: computer science, digital literacy and information technology. We will also feature advice and examples illustrating the use of technology to support blended learning.

14/06/22,
09:15
- 15:30
EYFS, KS1, KS2
Computing subject leaders, Teachers...
Creative Arts, Digital and children – CLC meets More Than Robots online
Creative Arts, Digital and children - CLC meets More Than Robots online

Combining forces for the first time, the Connected Learning Centre and More Than Robots have created a session for teachers, youth organisations, researchers and policymakers interested in the digital provision of creative arts for primary aged pupils.

Presentations

The Play Observatory - Prof. John Potter

“In their own words”: Westminster Abbey & CLC digital projects - Sian Shaw

Building (and maintaining) a city-wide primary arts curriculum to raise attainment - Kate Fellows

More to be added soon

This interactive and inclusive meet up will include inspiring examples of how technology can be used to support learning in music, visual art and drama in person and online at home drawing on our experiences as Tate Exchange associates and our partnership work with a range of cultural institutions.

This informal event is an opportunity to discuss real examples of what does/doesn’t work, meet colleagues from other sectors working on similar challenges and share useful research, news or updates

The morning will include case study presentations (details below) followed by a Q&A. There will also be an opportunity for a rapid sharing round for launches, project updates or requests for help and a short break to avoid zoom brain drain.

24/06/22,
09:30
- 11:30
KS1, KS2
Subject leaders, Teachers...

Upcoming Special projects

The News Project
25/11/21,
09:30
- 14:25
KS2

Special project in collaboration with First News Education

For a third year, building on two successful previous projects, we are once again partnering with the children’s newspaper First News, fellow member of the national Making Sense of Media and News Literacy networks. This special project with a literacy, PSHE and citizenship, as well as computing focus, highlights our specialist interest in this important aspect of digital and critical literacy.

The News Project will enable participating classes from year 5 to immerse themselves in news and current affairs using First News and the Bett award-winning First News iHUB, which will be provided free of charge during the school-based part of the project over a six week period. Under the guidance of their teacher, pupils will be supported in their development as a community of fully informed news readers. Classes will test their new critical skills and knowledge in the culminating virtual celebration event which will include a news competition and team-based critical literacy and editorial activities. After the event, schools will be able to use the resources from the day in their school.

The project will launch with an introductory CPD session for teachers to set the context, demonstrate resources and to plan for the school-based activities. 

Initial CPD session - Thursday 21st October 4pm-5.00pm. 

Project work undertaken in school - October and November.

Special event - Thursday 25th November 9.30am-2.45pm.

The Garden Museum
21/02/22,
-
KS1

The CLC is once again partnering with the Garden Museum to offer a partnership project for KS1 pupils (primarily suited to Yr2). Located next to Lambeth Palace on the bank of the Thames, the museum has an inspiring collection that provides the ideal stimulus for young learners to explore the world around them.

Pupils will use technology alongside the museum’s collection to explore the wonderful world of seeds.

  • How are they planted?
  • How do they spread?
  • What is inside them?

 The Garden Museum has a large collection of seeds and tools that pupils will engage with.

These half-day sessions will take place at the Garden Museum.

There is a limited number of dates available, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

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