Hillingdon Children Present on Google stage at BETT

On Friday 26th January, the Digital Leaders of Hillingdon Primary School visited the British Educational Training and Technology Show (BETT) at the Excel Centre in East London. The show is an opportunity for technological businesses to share new ideas and information with educators. After an excellent presentation at the Elliot Foundation Digital Leader Event at Brunel University, Hillingdon’s Digital Leaders were excited to have been invited by Google to deliver a presentation at their Google Training Centre at BETT.

In the weeks building up to the event, the eight Digital Leaders met with Mr Jacobs, Head of Computing at Hillingdon Primary School, to decide on exactly what they wanted to say. All children agreed they loved using Google both in the classroom and at home, and hoped for a future where such cloud technologies were a core part of everyday schooling. Together they decided to call their presentation: A Vision of the Future; Imagined by Children.

The children began writing, editing and redrafting what they wanted to say, and started practicing how they wanted to say it. By performing their presentation at school assemblies, they gained confidence in talking to an audience, and by the morning of the 26th, they were ready.

The Digital Leaders met at Hillingdon train station and travelled up with staff from their school. The BETT show runs from Wednesday to Saturday, but Friday is known to be the busiest day. By the time the children went on at 11am a large crowd had gathered. In the audience were school leaders, business managers, Google employees, computing teachers and other members of the general public.

If the children were nervous, they didn’t show it. They delivered their presentation with confidence and enthusiasm well above their years. Maddie, Hillingdon’s School Representative, introduced the Digital Leaders and explained who they were, and why their voices should be heard. Luana opened the presentation by describing a future that is both uncertain and exciting. Chiddi spoke of his brother Kodi, now in Nursery, and pondered on what kind of world he will inherit when he turns 18 in the year 2031.

Sara demonstrated how new technology has made huge changes in the way we travel and how we communicate, and how she feels there is still a way to go until schools fully incorporate new technology into the classroom. Kaaya spoke of her frustration when the learning ended at the end of a lesson and she wanted to learn more, and how she worked around this by doing her own research at home. She hoped for a future where school learning and home learning were united.

Shruthi spoke about how using Google Docs for her writing meant work doesn’t stay in books at school and instead lives on the ‘cloud’, meaning her family can share in her school work whenever they want. Neil spoke about how he wished more writing could be completed on Google to avoid using so much paper. Thomas shared how he loves learning things from YouTube where he can learn at his own pace, and how he wished this approach can happen in school. Heshni told him it can, if teachers use videos stored on Google Sites to deliver lessons. Finally, Chiddi and Luana closed the presentation by stating that instead of being taught knowledge, they want to be taught the skills to learn knowledge.

The response to the presentation was outstanding. Many teachers and school staff wanted to learn more about the children’s ideas and made requests for visits to the school. Google staff commented on how powerful it was to have the children speak independently without any adult supporting. Hillingdon Primary School are very proud of the children. They truly are Digital Leaders.

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