UKEdMag: New Year, New Tech? By @SimonPridham123

The 21st century classroom by Simon Pridham

In 2010, the primary school I was Headteacher at, gained 7 grade ones in an ESTYN inspection. Additionally, several sector leading examples of practice at the school were highlighted after that inspection by ESTYN and the Welsh Government. Shortly after, I reflected on the previous twelve months (which had been hectic to say the least) and challenged myself to take the school to the next level. But how?

This is an extract from the March 2015 Edition of UKEdMagazine. You can freely read the online version by clicking here, or click here for details to order a printed edition.

FeaturePridhamArticleAfter talking to a group of eleven year old pupils something became very clear, very quickly. These pupils, using technology, peer support, networks of collaboration and mobile online resources were able to build an education for themselves anywhere and at anytime. A decade ago, outside the classroom walls, information for your average eleven year old was scarce. In 2015, this information can be found in abundance. Google, YouTube, online blogs, Google Hangouts, social media, the list goes on and on. Therefore, pupils need to see their teachers as modellers of learning, master learners, risk takers, facilitators, collaborators, creators and to top it off those teachers have to be tech savvy. We have to change as educators and you should be excited by that, embrace the challenge and reap the rewards.

In my opinion you need to have a love of learning, be able to model effective learning systems, to be brave enough to take risks, to be innovative, and most importantly, become a facilitator of learning. The 21st century classroom, where technology is as accessible as paper and pen, allows you to personalise the learning like never before, to develop independent and creative thinkers and allows your pupils to drive their educational journey with you as co-pilots, rather than passengers.

So a little while ago, when my young daughter wanted to make a paper aeroplane, she handed me my tablet device and asked me for help. Her instinct was such that she knew what to do when she didn’t know what to do. We ventured straight to YouTube where we had several videos to choose from on the first page of results, and she soon found one which she liked the look of. Within minutes she was pressing pause on the video, as we built the aeroplane together step by step. I taught her how to rewind or play the video as we progressed and an hour or so later we were testing her prototypes outside. Welcome to the world of the 21st century learner. The point I am trying to make here is that technology is allowing educators and learners to deliver pedagogy and ways of learning like never before! However, without the brilliance of the teacher allowing the right opportunity and in the right context within our classrooms, the magic never materialises.

In March 2014 I stepped aside from my Executive Headship, my Welsh Government Advisory roles and as manager of the international award winning LIFE Programme, which delivered transformational change across Wales, to set up an EdTech company called Aspire 2Be. The last ten months have been unbelievable and as a company we are now working with schools, local authorities and governments in helping with the vision, strategic planning and implementation of transformational technologies in learning environments.

The key component which is consistent with all the successful schools I have worked with and continue to work with is outstanding teachers and leaders. So when we ask the question, “New Year, New Tech?” for me it’s all about outstanding teachers and leaders having the vision and bravery to embrace 21st century learning.

Key stage three pupils today have access to more information through their smartphones than I did in my entire library in university as a student. Yet, a high percentage of secondary educators still ban pupils using smartphones in their classrooms. Talk about missing a trick, alienating a generation and turning pupils off school! What society needs today are people who can ask good questions, come up with creative solutions, critically examine those possibilities and then work out which creative solution is most likely to be effective before communicating their solution effectively enough to motivate others to action. As far back as the 1900s…

This is an extract from the March 2015 Edition of UKEdMagazine. You can freely read the online version by clicking here, or click here for details to order a printed edition.

View Simon’s book on Amazon at

Simon Pridham @Simonpridham123 is an ex-Naace and international e-learning award winning Headteacher who has also spent time as part of Welsh Government digital task forces and as the WG Professional Digital Advisor. Twelve months ago he formed Aspire 2Be – His book Freaked Out is the first interactive paperback on the market and has been short-listed in the Education Resource Awards with the winners announced in late March 2015.

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About UKEdChat Editorial 3167 Articles
The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.

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