What innovative ideas should your classroom not go without?
In January, team TT returned to the BETT show to explore all the education technology wonders Excel London had to offer. 2019 is the first year the The Education Show was also conveniently situated just across the hall, so we were truly spoilt for choice when it came to innovative and interesting ideas for the classroom.
Here are my highlights from walking around the two shows and talking to exhibitors whose stands caught my eye.
1. Rethink Food Futures
‘The Tower Garden’ caught my eye at BETT for obvious reasons, resembling a space ship loaded with courgettes, chard and lettuce. It’s futuristic design is just the tip of the iceberg (no pun intended). This brilliant piece of technology grows plants and vegetables without any soil whatsoever, can be wheeled around the classroom and can be used all year round thanks to it’s integrated light system. Not only does this product tackle hunger as a barrier to learning, which is unfortunately a sad reality of our current socioeconomic climate in the UK, it offers an exciting introduction to cultivation, especially for schools in urban of settings with students who are unlikely to have a garden or have planted anything themselves before. Claiming to be able to ‘increase yields by up to 30% and triple the speed of growth, while using only 10% of the water and space’, the possibilities of this product are endless.
Encouraging children to associate healthy eating with fun and a sense of achievement. What’s not to love? Let’s rethink food together.
2. Coram: Life Education
The Coram children’s charity can be traced back up to 280 years. Yet, their Belonging Toolkit was one of the ideas most indicative of the challenges facing 2019 that I was lucky enough to see at The Excel London. Coram’s ambassador programme, ‘Young Citizens’ centres around 16-25 year olds from migrant/refugee backgrounds. These ‘Young Citizens’ played an integral role in co-producing ‘The Belonging Toolkit’ – a free Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 resource pack of both lesson and assembly plans to explore the concepts of belonging, respect and inclusion. Encouraging cultural cohesion and integration through video, story telling and interactive activities, the resources help to develop empathy and understanding of the difficulties faced by refugees and migrants.
A marvellous resource to help adapt to the increasingly relevant challenges facing the 2019 classroom. Get your hands on your free resources now
3. Amazing People Schools
By teachers, for teachers, Amazing People Schools is a brilliant online resource that uses historical figures to combine both history and PSHE content to enrich students in an original and engaging way. Both the friendly and accessible interface, combined with beautiful graphic illustrations and narratives allow the multimedia story collections to develop students’ understanding of the personal characteristics possessed by the scientists, politicians, humanitarians, writers (and more) that enabled them to change the world. The subscription includes: ‘40 assembly plans, 40 ten minute lesson ideas and 20 extended lesson plans and more.
Refreshing, motivational and truly enjoyable, Amazing People School is offering a free trial that is not to be missed. Start your free trial now.
4. Noise Academy
Offering a refreshing approach to music education, Noise Academy offers DJ, music production and beat box workshops that help engage students in a new and exciting way, whilst working to gain qualifications including GCSE, BTEC and accreditations such as the Duke of Edinburgh award. Run by two passionate young DJs, the programmes provide an outlet for creative students who have yet to have their passions fulfilled by the traditional curriculum. Case studies have proven that many children with behavioural needs find the workshops constructive, motivational and refreshing.
In keeping with the times and the interests of many young people, I think Noise Academy could be the injection of modernity the creative classroom needs. Start mixing it up with Noise Academy here.
Numberfit is an engaging physical approach to maths in the classroom with differentiated resources tailored specifically to primary and early years education. Not only does Numberfit combine maths with physical exercise, increasing fun and competitiveness, it also incorporates the ‘AnswersMat’, a visual marking tool that allows for teachers to identify which students are struggling without discussion or embarrassment, whilst saving up to 5 hours marking time per week.
Sounds amazing right? Explore Numberfit here.
6. Drone Kids School
This Drone education programme is just starting to roll out it’s extracurricular workshops in Britain after achieving huge success in Brazil. The proliferation of Drone technology has become almost impossible to ignore, which in itself serves as an argument for workshops such as these. Whereas there were multiple stands at BETT focussing on teaching children about operating Drones, Drone Kids School was the only programme I found to have a focus centred around the physics and theory routed in understanding how to operate a Drone.
A STEM coordinator’s dream, courses include first-hand flight experiences, the mechanics of drones, aerodynamics and flight theory, racing, practical physics exercises, troubleshooting and more. Find out more about Drone Kids School here.
7. Educate Against Hate
Educate Against Hate is a government initiative focussed around protecting children from the threat of extremist views. Sadly, the increasingly polarised political climate, coupled with the prominence of networked communication, renders children’s young and susceptible minds vulnerable to detrimental and harmful discourses.
Educate Against Hate provides advice and a multitude of resources including assembly plans, online and classroom resources, training and more, specifically for teachers, parents and school leaders to help safeguard our children from such threats. Claim your free resources now.
A wonderfully simple web filtering system for primary schools that facilitates outstanding safeguarding without creating a barrier to learning. It is a common complaint from teachers that they often find themselves printing out web pages as resources because they cannot access the page in class due to over-complicated filtering systems. To request a page to be unblocked can be time consuming and hinder access to countless fantastic online resources that could be perfect for your lesson.
This software allows you to unblock, for example, a specific YouTube video for a certain amount of time via the easily accessible and marvellously designed dashboard. Thus, allowing you to utilise a resource that would otherwise be blocked, bridging the gap between teachers and technicians. Learn more about simplifying safeguarding here.
As this was only my second visit to BETT and my very first shot at The Education Show I didn’t think 2019 could top last year, I was wrong. Beyond all the shiny gizmos and beeping gadgets that can be somewhat blinding at BETT, I believe I found eight classroom ideas that have the potential to significantly enrich your students’ learning experience. Each is reflective of the need to adapt to our learning environments with the ever developing world that consumes our kids, without a price tag that will make you weep over your budget report.