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Diary of a Lead Teacher by Emma Webster

Author: ejwebster
A positive look to the school year ahead

Crystal clear water, red sunsets and beautiful coastlines. These were the only thoughts running through my head as I walked out of school at the end of July and headed off for 16 nights in Italy.

I was leaving behind a tough term, a tough year perhaps, but I would be lying if it wasn’t full of promise for the next academic year.

Digital Schoolhouse (DSH) is one of those incredibly promising and exciting programmes to look forward to and my experience of the initial lead teacher training enabled me to identify that the way in which DSH are working and nurturing teachers is in parallel to what I am trying to achieve with the curriculum as a whole in my school.  

As I sat, listened and watched, I had to admit to myself that computer programming was not my strength. In fact, I became concerned that I was rather out of my depth here! However, the more I listened and understood, the more I realised that I really was meant to be sitting in that room. 

The support we, as teachers, were given to understand how to teach sessions in practical ways as well as how to deliver effective CPD, confirmed that guided exploration is appropriate to all learners and all learning, which is what I have badgered on about in school all year! Creative exploration of practical tasks as well as academic subjects is key to ensuring a solid understanding that leads to mastery and depth. 

Thoughts flew through my head about how the ‘unplugged’ approach can be used across the curriculum and has so much importance to the way in which we all learn. Identifying key skills within new concepts is vital in this constructivist approach to learning.

In terms of computational thinking, in a world that is becoming more and more dominated by AI and machine learning, it is perfect for understanding the real-life reasons and strategies behind using and working with advanced technologies. Curiosity, problem-solving and critical thinking are the reason we have such advanced technology, so it makes sense to embrace these skills to use it and improve it. 

We must never underestimate the human element of AI and computing and DSH is so aware of this. If we can’t maintain human creativity, freedom of choice and emotional reactions to machines, then all of those fictional, dystopian nightmares will come true! 

Throughout the first year in my role as Curriculum Co-ordinator as well as my initial EdD candidacy term, I have been finding my feet and trying to collate my interests and theories into practical plans. DSH didn’t just switch a light on for me, but a warm, nurturing fire that I could snuggle next to with a good (academically relevant!) book. 

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