Success in (and out of) the Classroom

The necessity for using tech in the classroom has never been higher. Some questions arise as schools begin to explore their options to assist the daily routines of grading, delivery, assessment, planning etc:

  • What are the main objectives that must be identified before embarking? 
  • What is the entry point for teachers to begin using tech? 
  • Do schools have a planned vision or purpose in mind for tech in the staffroom, classroom and beyond? 
  • How is any of this useful to a teacher?

With purpose comes clarity and with this starting point any school and teacher can make decisions that not only fit their teaching style(s) but will scrutinize technology even further to ensure that it keeps the focus on learning.

At Aspire 2Be, we have been fortunate to learn from as well as assist teachers, whole schools, and business organisations to use technology for reaching their chosen vision in person and remotely. One of those teachers we have had the pleasure of working with is Barry Blears from Millbank Primary School in central Cardiff. Millbank Primary was a participant in and currently runs the CITB Wales funded Minecraft Go Construct Club which has seen the school interest in Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics (STEM) and construction related fields rise dramatically.

Barry has shared some insights based on real concerns about using technology in the classroom and ensuring that the tools his school chooses aligns to curriculum and professional objectives. He has also shared how the right tool has engaged the girls in his class to embrace STEM and construction related careers as a future path.

1. Where do you teach and what do you love about teaching?

I teach at Millbank Primary School in Cardiff and I love that not everyday is the same. I love mixing up the curriculum in order to inspire and engage children. I really enjoy making practical and creative tasks that can inspire and engage learners to prepare them for an uncertain future.

2. ‎Which app works for your style of teaching and learning?

I am a big fan of using iMovie to both create content and summarise learning. It provides great oracy opportunities but it also allows children to be creative in the way they present their ideas that help develop their skills in the producing strand of the Digital Competency Framework (DCF). I use this across the curriculum and it’s a great way of encouraging entrepreneurial ideas in rich task projects.

3. How has Aspire 2Be helped to make technology a part of your school’s culture?

Aspire 2Be’s training opportunities have been fantastic, particularly their Minecraft courses. I will be honest, I was cynical at first at using this, but the way they showed the possibilities of including the Literacy-Numeracy Framework (LNF) and the Digital Competency Framework (DCF) links have made using it a very creative and interesting experience. It has been more than just a tacked on task but a way of engaging pupils and making the curriculum more relevant to them. Linking this to real world experiences, my children have started to think of careers that they have not ever considered, particularly the girls are more interested in pursuing STEM careers because of the Go Construct Experience training using Minecraft Education Edition.