Most schools begin the term with INSET, a day when the pupils are not in school but which gives staff time together to learn.
They look at new teaching strategies, are updated on new legislation, work with outside speakers, explore new technologies and share good practice. Schools are learning communities and to me it is vital that teachers are given time to continue to learn and to review their pedagogy, to ensure that our teaching practices are always relevant to the 21st century learner.
Over the summer as teachers prepare their lessons for the term ahead, they first think about what content and skills do they need to impart to the pupils. Then, they consider what will be the most effective teaching pedagogy to use to deliver the content, to ensure that the pupils really understand and develop the right skills.
It is the latter that has enabled teachers to become truly innovative in their teaching and for the pupils to become more engaged in their learning. Mishra and Koehler (2006) called it TPACK – technological, pedagogical and content knowledge, teachers thinking more and more about how we can integrate technology in our teaching to ensure our pupils understand the skills and content they are learning.
With this in mind, BGS began the term working with world renowned lecturer Joe Dale, a recognised expert on educational technology and language learning. Dale has worked with a range of organisations such as the BBC, Skype, Microsoft and The Guardian. He has spoken at conferences and run training courses around the globe and last week he added Bedford Girls’ School to his list.
He spent time with our staff demonstrating ways technology can transform the girls’ learning. He reiterated that technology is not a substitute for teaching, instead, used appropriately, it allows teachers to bring to their lessons a new dimension that can redefine the way we teach. He left us with a wide range of new and existing tools to explore.
Our INSET allowed us time, working alongside Joe Dale, to develop the knowledge to ensure we stay at the forefront of integrating technology into the 21st century classroom.