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Writing without words: Schools gather in London for immersive storytelling day

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Stratford event explored how technology and creativity can boost literacy

Teachers from schools across the UK gathered at Stratford’s Discover Centre this week to explore new ways of using technology to boost literacy and maintain creativity in the classroom.

View photos of the day on Facebook »

Hosted by Discovery Education, the fast-paced event saw 80 educators come together at East London’s award-winning storytelling museum for a ‘Day of Discovery’, where they shared the latest ideas and tech tools for inspiring a love of stories, language and reading.

Joined by children’s author and illustrator Paul Stickland – Dinosaur Roar, Swamp Stomp – and leading Canadian tech blogger Dean Shareski, the teachers discovered how new media and technology can trigger children’s interest in story-making, and improve learning outcomes for EAL and SEN pupils.

Showcasing some of the latest classroom technologies – including green screening, augmented reality (AR) and story-building apps – the one-day event showed how dynamic digital resources can transform literacy lessons, unlocking language and literature for pupils of all abilities.

One of the teachers attending was Sarah Baker from Elfrida Primary School in Lewisham. Early Years teacher Sarah said:

“I really enjoyed the event today! I learnt lots of ideas for movie-making using Virtual Reality (VR) and AR along with tools I can take back to my school and share. I teach a number of children who struggle to communicate and they respond well to technology. Today has really opened my eyes to how we all need to make things more accessible for EAL pupils.”

Schools also shared ideas for inspiring pupils to invent stories of their own, using creative activities such as video-making, sound recording and model-making as a starting point. Paul Stickland led a practical and highly popular pop-up craft workshop in which the visiting teachers created colourful pop-up creatures of their own – a fun and engaging activity to take back to their classrooms and kick-start hundreds of pupils’ storytelling journeys into improved literacy.

As author and illustrator Paul explained, “Pop-up paper models have a magic all of their own. They are a fantastic interactive tool which can lead children into different realms of storytelling.”

Discovery Education’s Head of Community, Chris Nash, said:

“We’re delighted that so many schools were able to join us on our Day of Discovery, and immerse themselves in wonderful, creative activities related to literacy. We’ve enjoyed virtual reality, model making, film making and news reporting to name just a few, giving teachers the tools and confidence to make ‘Writing Without Words’ part of their everyday lessons.”

Speaking after the event Teaching Assistant Kelly Sewell from St Richard’s Church of England Primary School in Hamworth said:

“I’m just in awe of all the amazing things I‘ve seen today. I can’t wait to get back to school and implement them.”

‘Day of Discovery’ is Discovery Education’s flagship community-led conference, which will visit more than 20 cities across the UK, US and Canada this year.

The Discovery Education Community, which reaches over 2 million teachers worldwide, is one of the fastest growing networks for teachers in the UK. The Community connects members in their own school, across the country and around the world through in-person and online events, networking, idea sharing and inspiration.

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