‘RiskIT Week’ saw teachers faced with the challenge of trying a new piece of ICT for the first time during their lessons. The idea, taken from the book of the same name by Abderrahmane Benjeddi, was to encourage teachers to step outside their comfort zone and take a risk with using Information Technology. As author, Christy Raedeke once said, “No risk, no reward”, a quote adopted by the Headmaster as his ‘phrase of the year’ for 2017-2018.
Deputy Academic Head, Paul Jones commented: “Just as we encourage our pupils to discover new approaches, for the week before half term many teachers have tried new hardware or software for the first time in order to enhance the learning of our pupils.
“Colleagues have embraced the challenge and the pupils' lessons have been enhanced through the use of technology such as webcams (to Skype a guest), VR headsets and through the use of online platforms, such as Padlet, Kahoot and Flipgrid.
“This is another great example of our forward-thinking approach in the use of ICT to enhance learning. It is also another example of our staff embodying the Shiplake Seven in their willingness to be open-minded and creative.”
All year groups had the chance to experience different ICT platforms; Year 12 and 13 teachers incorporated new approaches to their revision lessons and Years 7 and 8 had more interactive lessons. In Art, Year 7 has been learning about and drawing Machu Picchu. By using VR headsets, the boys were virtually transported to Peru and able to experience what Machu Picchu is like. G Forsyth said: “In our art lesson it was amazing to be in Machu Picchu, it added a lot of excitement to the lesson. It also helped as I didn't know what Machu Picchu looked like but as the headset makes it more realistic, now I can edit my work based on this.”
Webcams were used to Skype people who were unable to come to school to talk to pupils. This was seen in an English lesson to Year 8 pupils when former staff member Mike Edwards called the class to tell them all about his new line of work in travel writing. J Scanlon took part in this particular lesson and said: “It was fun because we were interacting with things that at the start of the year we didn't think we would be doing or able to. Using Skype enabled us to do so. We then followed it up in the next lesson with looking at some of the points Mr Edwards told us about travel writing.”
These new and different platforms of ICT will now be looked at more closely to see which were the most effective in terms of learning, and teachers will be encouraged to use more widely and regularly in the new academic year.