I was recently invited by Becta to a round table discussion about the use of technology. (Becta is the agency that is responsible for implementing the educational ICT strategy in England and Wales.)
It was nice to be invited to that, but what especially caught my attention was the information that the primary (elementary) school in which the meeting was due to take place is using 3D technology in its ICT suite. That sounded fascinating, so I asked if I'd be able to interview some of the children and their teacher afterwards. Nina House of Shiny Red, Becta's PR company, asked on my behalf, and Ophelia Vanderpuye, the school's ICT Co-ordinator and Advanced Skills Teacher for ICT agreed.
In terms of technology, there is much to talk about: the computers that rise out of the desks at the touch of a button, the enormous interactive whiteboard which doubles as a movie screen, the natural air conditioning, the low-heat computers. And, of course, the 3D films for which you need special glasses -- unless you watch them on the smaller interactive whiteboard at the back of the room, in which case you don't.
But I think what is even more interesting as you listen to Ophelia and the children talking are the vision and planning that lies behind all of these developments.
Oakington Manor welcomes visits from educators. I said in a recent article that to be an innovative teacher you need to see what other schools are doing. If at all possible, I should add Oakington to your 'must visit' list. To arrange a visit, phone the school on +44 (0) 208 902 2871.
The discussion with Ophelia lasts around 15 minutes, and that's followed by a chat with the children of around the same length of time.
Thanks to Ophelia, the children and the school, Becta for inviting me, and Nina Howse for expediting my interview request and for chatting to the children with me.
The music is Simple Soulman by the Groovechasers, and is podsafe music. Listen to the full version on the GarageBand website.
The photos were taken by myself and may be viewed on Flickr.