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UK teachers find inspiration at prestigious California teaching event

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6 tech-savvy primary school teachers will be inspiring their pupils this term after spending part of the summer break at a celebrated teaching event in California.

The Discovery Education Summer Institute is held annually in the US, and attracts educators from all over the world. The UK teachers – from schools in Birmingham, London and Hertfordshire – were chosen for their enthusiasm in using new technology in the classroom. They were flown to San Diego in late July, where they joined over 100 educators for a week of professional development at the University of California.

Chris Nash, Head of Community at Discovery Education UK, explained how they were chosen: “Through a video submission the teachers needed to demonstrate the desire to learn something new, connect with other educators and share their experiences.”

Now in its 12th year, the Discovery Education Summer Institute gives teachers new digital strategies and techniques to transform everyday lessons. Delegates gain entrance through a competitive application process, and the exciting summer programme is the flagship event of the Discovery Education Community – one of the world’s largest education networks with an audience of over 4.5 million members.

One of the UK teachers chosen was Melissa Chandler, from Abacus Belsize Primary School in North London. Speaking upon her return from the US, Year 2 teacher Melissa said:

“Attending the Summer Institute in California was an amazing opportunity. The professional development was like nothing I’ve experienced in the UK and I can’t wait to take some of the ideas, enthusiasm and exciting new technology back to my classroom.”

Fellow delegate Emma Wooldridge, a year 3 teacher from Christ Church C of E Primary School in Croydon said:

“The Discovery Education Summer Institute has given me a new lease of life for teaching! Not only did I learn new digital strategies to try with my class, but I made connections with other educators from all over the globe, from Canada to Egypt. I’m excited for the next year of teaching and looking forward to implementing some of the fantastic ideas and technology we heard about.”

Leon Blake, a teacher at Greet Primary School in Birmingham said:

“My time in California was a real adventure. Everyone was so welcoming, and I gained an abundance of knowledge to take back into my classroom. The professional development was completely different. It was a true celebration of teaching and so positive. I’ve got lots of new technology ideas which I’m looking forward to implementing in every lesson – and even in Sport!”

Joining Melissa Chandler, Leon Blake and Emma Wooldridge were: Emma’s colleague Julia Elfred, Nikhil Glazelle from West Lodge Primary in Harrow and Hayley Evans from Woolenwick Infant and Nursery School in Stevenage.

The 6 teachers returned to the UK in August, after an unforgettable week in California. The group explored the latest classroom technology, took part in interactive workshops and networked with colleagues from North America’s leading digital schools. Using digital content to boost learning and achievement was a key focus – particularly in relation to literacy and encouraging reluctant readers.

Lance Rougeux, Vice President of Learning Communities and Innovation at Discovery Education said:

“We were delighted to welcome 6 teachers from the UK to our 2017 Summer Institute in San Diego. Their commitment to using technology to help pupils reach their highest potential is amazing. I know that their schools will benefit even further from the new ideas, resources and energy they’ve taken away from this great professional learning opportunity.”

The Discovery Education Community is one of the fastest growing professional teaching networks in the UK – connecting teachers through events, social media and events, and providing a gateway to teaching advice and inspiration from around the world.

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