21/05/2014

If you're going to San Francisco

(And also Know the Way to San Jose!)

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge

Scott Mckenzie and Dionne Warwick. Two Sixties classics. Enjoy...

 

But I wasn't looking back with nostalgia during my – literally – flying visit to California last weekend. This was about looking forward; looking forward to the future of learning at Park House.

Every minute of both ten and a half hour flights was worth it for three days of rapid fire inspiration gained from visits to a veritable 'who's who' of Silicon Valley innovation: Adobe, Evernote, Dropbox...

Adobe HQ

I was soaking up ideas on how new software and technologies can move learning into different dimensions when applied in a school context. And making links with schools that are already doing so in Silicon Valley.

Adobe lectures

Adobe interactive screens

Technology and gadgets for technology and gadgets sake have never excited me. I'm a historian after all!

But now I'm impatient for change.

Working with our new partners Ntegra and with the creative brilliance of our own ICT and Computing staff who have already positioned us as the Centre of Excellence of Learning for Computer Science in the South, we are on the cusp of something very special here at Park House.

By September our Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programme will be fully rolled out across all year groups. Our young people will be able to use mobile technology to enhance learning lesson by lesson, and I am especially interested in how we may now be able to develop our own Apps to capture lesson and revision content. I suppose I now have an emerging vision for a Park House school-based version of iTunes U – take a look at the app - it captures series of university lectures from around the world. Potential here, I think?

That's not to say that technology is the answer to everything in education. Great teachers forming fabulous relationships with children in real rather than virtual classrooms still rule!

So perhaps I am still just a little nostalgic after all. The latest phrase is, I believe, 'blended learning'; a fusion of the old and the new.

But, even in that context, I still didn't wear any flowers in my hair...!

Derek Peaple in San Francisco

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