Repton Abu Dhabi, part of the prestigious Repton Family of Schools in the UAE, recently hosted its annual Digital Summit, phased in two editions: The teacher summit and the student summit. The virtual event invited UAE teachers and students from Year 5 and Year 6 to creatively collaborate on environmental awareness initiatives and create an open dialogue for strategies to implement the purposeful use of technology within school curricula.
Themed ‘Rethinking Education’, the teacher summitexplored the innovations and technologies in the education sector, showcasing seven informative webinars presented by Apple Distinguished teachers from Repton Abu Dhabi, as well as Professional Learning Specialists from other UAE schools.
Gillian Hammond, Principal of Repton Abu Dhabi says, “As educators, we must continuously create relevant and innovative teaching methodologies to create exciting learning experiences for our students, and technology enables us to enhance these experiences. At Repton Abu Dhabi, technology is a crucial part of our core curriculum and we are delighted to share our research and best practice solutions with the wider UAE school community.”
The first webinar, Creativity Through Technology, focused on developing EYFS learners’ creative thought processes by exploring the applications of tools such as camera devices, mark-up tools, Sketches School, and QuiverVision, designed to implement the use of augmented reality (AR) in the classroom to sharpen students’ critical thinking through drawing, videography, photography, and music.
The Using Greenscreen in Nursery session showcased the introduction of applications such as iMovie features to enhance EYFS students’ retention levels by creatively incorporating visual cues, and using the greenscreen and layering features to spark interest in young minds. The session also highlighted tips and tricks for teachers to create easy DIY green screens during remote learning sessions.
100 teachers and 70 students across UAE schools participated in the Apple Distinguished School’s annual Digital Summit
Digitalisation: The Impact on the Literacy Learning Journey emphasised the need for key drivers such as student engagement and formative assessments for positive learning outcomes, and how technology allows teachers to adopt a ‘flipped classroom’ approach. This methodology strengthens pupil’s understanding and cognitive thinking through peer interaction facilitated by class teachers. Teachers can use interactive internet-based educational applications, including Showbie and Nearpod, to effectively customise their teaching to each pupil’s individual needs, thereby offering an enhanced and personalised curriculum that is ideal for EAL, SEN learners.
Teachers from the participating UAE schools gained valuable insights from the Structuring Digital CPD session, which discussed the internal and external barriers preventing the successful integration of EdTech. The intuitive webinar also showcased the findings of Repton Abu Dhabi’s teacher-case study, providing efficient digital CPD strategies that schools and teachers can easily implement within the curriculum. These include adoption of practical and department-specific training, low-stakes peer observations for teachers, creating a network of digital leaders or distributed leadership teams to support teaching staff in understanding new EdTech tools, and embedding useful collaboration in departmental meetings to discuss the performance of implemented technology and innovations in EdTech.
Creative use of Music Technology in Teaching showcased musicas an effective teaching tool and its various cross-curricula benefits. Students can use online applications such as iMovie, Clips, and Garage Band, which provide a better understanding of STEAM subjects.
In the Creating Digital Resources session, teachers were given a detailed tutorial to easily create their online resources, such as online textbooks using the Pages application on Apple iPads, enabling them to customise their teaching.
Lastly, the Making a Difference with Technology webinar highlighted simple yet ingenious techniques teachers can implement in their coursework to enhance students’ learning experiences by designing targeted classroom interventions. The integrated approach addresses classroom challenges either in subject areas or student behaviours, using EdTech applications and classroom-specific management strategies such as conducting mini-quizzes and designing observation checklists on iPads to record certain student behaviours and skills
In addition to the teacher summit, a dedicated pupil summit was held to challenge young minds to use the coding applications to design and present concept computer games based on one of the following topics: Ocean Pollution, Litter on our beaches, and Air Pollution. The interactive session encapsulated students’ creative and collaborative skills to produce fun and exciting concept games and 3-minute video presentations, outlining how their game raised awareness for their chosen environmental issue. All students received a certificate of participation for their creative collaboration with the top three entries winningvouchers and the top prize of a games design workshop hosted by our head judge Ali Hassan, Lead Game Developer and Chief Technology Officer at Hybrid Human Games Studio.
The 2021 edition of the Digital Summit showcased the purposeful use of EdTech, enhancing teaching skills and raising awareness on environmental issues
“This year our Digital Summit used an innovative platform to successfully engage with EdTech best practices and the positive impact it has on young minds. At Repton Abu Dhabi, we strive to invoke innovative forward-thinking amongst our teachers and students, and aim to continue sharing our insights and findings with the UAE education community to further drive the use of EdTech with the classroom,” concludes Alexander Kelly, an Apple Distinguished teacher and Digital Lead at Repton Abu Dhabi’s Fry campus.