The Edtech Podcast Festival 2018 – review

Peter Lillington, London CLC teaching and learning consultant, shares his highlights of the first Edtech Podcast Festival.

Sophie Bailey, the voice behind the popular and well regarded EdTech podcast, has long had a dream to bring together listeners and contributors, educators and edtech companies in a festival of ideas. The result was the Edtech Podcast Festival, which took place last month.

London CLC was delighted to be represented at the event in the Plexal Here East innovation centre in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Despite the drizzle your roving reporter had a great time listening, chatting, doing and making. I didn’t take up the option of a lunchtime canoe ride or mindfulness session but touches like this and many other details (such as a bookshop from Wellcome) made it an event with a real buzz and a cut above the average.

Highlights included being taken back to the Stone Age through the medium of sound.  A company called now>press>play has been producing audio materials for schools for some time using binaural headphones that are managed by the teacher. Other attendees were agog to see a group of adults (in the willing role of students) miming lighting a fire, fending off wolves and hunkering down behind a boulder (ie chair). It really felt like you were there (with interesting research mentioned on how children experience aural as opposed to visual input in a vivid way) and would be a great experiential foundation for writing and other learning. I’m interested to find out more about their online safety scenario, to help students envisage making choices when something feels not right.

I also enjoyed trying out some of the brand new WeDo Maker activities from Lego. It was interesting to discover that our collaborative task included materials and objects other than Lego, along with a nice musical theme. Could we create and program some kind of instrument or sound making machine and then form a band?

Imperial College Makerspace colleagues imparted their tips for getting underway with 3D printing and other making with students with useful practical advice about how to get started.

UCL colleagues from educate – the leading research and business training programme for EdTech startups in London – provided top level intellectual discourse at a moment before my morning coffee had taken full effect so I look forward to pondering their stimulating questions on how schools, educators and academics, edtech companies can all work together to produce the most effective tools for learners.

I feel sure we will be increasingly offered learning platforms incorporating machine learning and AI for benefit of pupils, teachers and parents, so it was fascinating to hear about Century Tech, a fairly recent newcomer to the education sector offering personalisation through AI at secondary and upper primary.

Lovely also to hear from a fellow Apple regional training centre with refreshing insight on how to cut teacher workload. For example, does every member of staff physically need to attend every item of every staff meeting; how can collaborative planning and tools help (with Google docs or other platforms); and what about marking? Thanks Rory (@rjmgteach).

Last but definitely not least, in fact first, the whole event got an inspiring lift-off keynote from Dr Jess Wade – check out her extensive online activity (including 300 Wikipedia articles to start to redress the balance for female/male ‘famous scientist’ known at large).

I, for one, will be delighted if this event is repeated, and hope that it becomes an annual occurrence – we’d like to be there at the next one showcasing our unique London CLC blend, perhaps with our partner schools too.

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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.

- 15:30
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.


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.

- 11:30
KS1, KS2
Subject leaders, Teachers...

Upcoming Special projects

The News Project
- 14:25

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

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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