Top 10 Best Bits of Summer Boot-up Camp

Author: Laura Martin, Comms & Programme Manager

Yesterday, we delivered our annual Summer Boot-up Camp to new and experienced lead teachers ahead of the new academic year 2021-22 and what a year (or two) it's been! Needless to say, our Schoolhouses continue to stagger us with their achievements in spite of a very challenging time for the world over. The Digital Schoolhouse team always come away from the training & CPD days buzzing. Here's my Top 10 Best Bits...

10. Banana-Pokémon robots 🍌

Creativity is a big part of Digital Schoolhouse’s pedagogy, and we’ve always got a creative task up our sleeves. This year’s creative challenge included a virtual Scavenger Hunt which challenged teachers to find an item that ‘they could model with’ in just 2 minutes from their immediate surroundings. Among Blue Tack, Lego and paper, a Pokéball plushy and a banana found it’s way into the mix and one teacher presented a fruity contribution in the form of a robot!

9. Zooming our lead teachers 💻

Little did we know that when lockdown hit last year, we'd still be delivering virtual events, but here we are! Now that the world's used to Zoom and so are we, we think we've nailed the balance of screen time + activities = happy and inspired teachers! It was so great to see everyone - new and experienced - and a pure joy to be part of such a passionate and inspiring community of people.

Lead teachers and the Digital Schoolhouse team on Zoom
Lead teachers and the Digital Schoolhouse team on Zoom

8. Playing Spaceteam ☄️

We always play a game at our training events. Not only is it a great way to socialise and break the ice with new peers through play, it literally demonstrates the power of games in an educational setting - for a variety of reasons. Spaceteam was recommended to us by a teacher as a great icebreaker for new A-level students - a quick and fun way to get them talking (or shouting) in this chaotic cooperative. Where else do you have to turn up your gigitackler to 2?

7. Regional breakout rooms 🗺️

You may not know this, but Digital Schoolhouse has a team of highly qualified Regional Academic Leads (RAL) on the programme to provide on-the-ground support to teachers in their local vicinity.  Our cluster breakout sessions are a really nice event in the agenda which allow lead teachers to meet their 'RAL' and fellow Schoolhouses in their area of the UK. RAL cluster meetings often spark fruitful discussion, ideas and help to troubleshoot any challenges that individuals are experiencing.

6. Virtual wink murder 😉

It's the perfect icebreaker challenge to kickstart a fresh day of learning with a new cohort of teachers. You can play this virtually, with a group of any size. Once the ‘detective’ is chosen, and the ‘murderer’ appointed by private message, the game is afoot! Each victim is DM’d ‘wink’ to seal the deal. All that’s left is a dramatic fake death (some award-winning performances) and some highly entertained spectators.

5. Creativity session with the Arts Council 🎨

Led by Senior Manager of CYP Keisha Thompson, teachers participated in an interactive session underpinned by findings from the Durham Commission and Creativity Exchange. Breakout sessions challenged our lead teachers to think about the interconnection of creativity, teaching your subject and using digital tools. It was a really nice session that invited everyone to take a fresh look at the year gone by and to identify changes that they've had to make in virtual classroom delivery in relation to these three themes.

4. Game Builder Garage demo by Nintendo 🎮

We were lucky enough to experience a Game Builder Garage demo from team Nintendo UK themselves. Teachers got to experience the new game which teaches the basics of programming logic in a fun and interactive game. Further to this, Digital Schoolhouse is hosting an exclusive Game Builder Garage focus group with our lead teachers. Here, they'll have a chance to play test the game and explore inclusive learning opportunities.

3. Meeting our new teachers 👋🏻

Every year, applicants go through a rigorous selection process in order to become a Certified Schoolhouse and Lead Teacher. It's no easy feat, but passion for Computer Science and a strong want to help young people near and far always gives way to the crème de la crème of educators which we're lucky enough to welcome aboard!

2. Our first Schoolhouse in Scotland 🥇 

We are delighted to welcome Tinderbox Collective as a new Schoolhouse this academic year. It's our first Schoolhouse in Scotland and we couldn't be happier that the Tinderbox team applied to join the Digital Schoolhouse network.

1. Lead Teacher Awards 🏆

This year we delivered four awards to six brilliant winners to recognise their mammoth achievements in the recent school year. It's such a pleasure to be able to recognise the work they do and going forwards, we'll also introduce a brand new Innovation Award in the mix, to recognise the most innovative among our community. I'd say this will be a really tough decision as each and every one of our lead teacher community is creative to their very bones! Thank goodness we aren't judging.

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