London CLC’s co-director Christian Turton is an Apple Regional Training Centres (RTC) stalwart. Not only does he run one, as London CLC itself is an RTC, but he’s been going to RTC conferences on and off for 13 years. Here he shares what they are and how the RTC community support each other in delivering the regional training centre programme.
Apple Regional Training Centres is the name for schools that support other schools by running CPD courses on all things iPad and Apple. They apply to Apple to be part of the programme. Having proved their own expertise they help to build the skills and confidence of other educators to use Apple technology inside and outside the classroom to support teaching and learning.
The list of free courses on offer around the country – from ‘Amazing animations with iPad’ and ‘Be courageous with Keynote’ to ‘Everyone can code with Swift Playgrounds’ and ‘Reaching all learners – accessibility with iPads’ – is a rollcall of all that is creative and useful about this kind of education technology and it’s a great example of how educators can cascade their learning to each other.
More than that, though, RTCs feel like a community. We share best practice and inspire excellence, and nowhere more so than in the regular RTC conferences that I’ve been going to since 2006.
In recent times the emphasis has has firmly been on pedagogically sound, evidence-informed use of iPad and the benefits learners have gained from it, a shift that feels like a very positive and welcome development to me.
At the latest conference there were workshops on evidence-informed use of iPad and saving time and workload with technology. The session on accessibility features was especially useful for teachers as it covered those features not just for those who need them but also focused on how they can improve productivity for all of us. For example, there’s a new feature called Voice Command on iPad that lets you open apps, dictate into them and email the note to one of your contacts, all without touching the device. We also looked further into some of the everyone can create resources (we first blogged about them a year ago, here) as they now include an early years version. We also heard about the latest developments in Swift Playground, the apple app for teaching coding in primary and secondary schools, allowing children in upper KS2 to build AR-enabled apps using Swift.
One child, one story
However, for me the most powerful part of the conference was towards the end with ‘One child, one story’ as educators shared their stories of how using iPads in the classroom has increased accessibility to learning for a wide range of learners and enabled them to pursue their passions, highlighting the power of technology to bring people ‘out of their shell’ and create and communicate when they might not otherwise be confident in doing this in class.
We heard a moving story about a child who found traditional activities in school very challenging and, as a result, was disruptive but found themselves able to communicate and access learning through the iPad. Another was about a young girl who loved art and was able to take her art and photography to the next level using the ‘everyone can create’ resources. She now designs the school’s posters and those for local community events on her iPad.
Apple RTC Digital Leadership Academy
My story centred on the Apple RTC Digital Leadership Academy and its impact on teachers.
London CLC ran the first Apple RTC Digital Leadership Academy in March this year and we’ll be running it again at the end of October (Find out more here). Designed for senior leaders, deputy headteachers, assistant headteachers, IT directors and others responsible for leading technology strategies within their school, it’s a two-day comprehensive academy in which you’ll learn how to strategically lead the planning and implementation of an iPad one-to-one programme across a school. We’re excited that the University of Northampton have create a PGCert in digital leadership to complement it: https://www.northampton.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate-certificate-in-digital-leadership/
- Important! London CLC supports all devices and platforms. As well as being an Apple Regional Training Centre we are also a Google Partner and we support Microsoft products across the schools we work with. We always give independent and impartial advice to schools.
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