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.

London Digital Leader Event

On Tuesday December 5th 2017, the Elliot Foundation held its first ever London Digital Leader event at Brunel University.

Digital Leaders are a special group of children within a school tasked with driving forward the use of technology. It’s an exciting time for education, with schools now using cloud technologies to provide a platform for collaboration between schools, and allow a link between the learning children complete at school and the learning they engage with at home. Now that information is freely available via the internet, we hope that by giving children more control over their learning will benefit their future.

The Elliot Foundation work with Google For Education. This provides each child with their own email account, and with this account comes a range of free apps such as Google Docs, Google Sites and Google Classroom. To help drive this forward, Digital Leaders have begun to be appointed in London-based schools, first at The Hyde in Hendon, and now at Hillingdon Primary School.

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The application process to become a Digital Leader is an excellent opportunity for children to develop real-life skills, as candidates first apply by completing an application form and, if selected for the next round, proceed with a formal interview. Whether candidates succeed or fail, they receive crucial experience which will benefit them when applying for roles in their adult lives.

To celebrate the growth of Digital Leaders in the Elliot Foundation, many of our London-based schools attended Brunel University in Uxbridge to enjoy an exciting day of activities. Six schools were present on the day: The Hyde, Parkfield Primary School, Claremont Primary School, John Locke Academy, Pinkwell Primary School and Hillingdon Primary School.

The day was opened by Mark House, Senior Product Manager at RM, who gave a keynote speech about the exciting possibilities now present to children at they move forward into the digital age. This was followed by a tour of the campus led by a range of Computer Science students, ranging from first year students developing their first real-world programs, to third year students working with artificial intelligence to develop drones that can enter fires to assess safety for firefighters.

Children enjoyed the opportunity to talk with such students and hear their thoughts on attending university and how technology is changing our future. They visited the on-campus student accommodation and the wide range of facilities available to students, such as the indoor 100m running track, frequented by Usain Bolt when training in London, and the Computer Labs which had been modelled on modern-day technology companies to promote collaboration between students and teacher.

After this, children from each school were invited to present their ideas and learning in a university lecture hall. It was exciting to see how each school had made use of Google to further their learning; The Hyde shared an interactive adventure story using Google Slides, John Locke showed how Google Sites can be used to present learning on foundation subjects, Pinkwell used the same app to create a Computing website to showcase each year group’s learning and Hillingdon Primary School presented an Online Portfolio for each child which showcased not only the learning in school, but also further learning and hobbies outside of school. For these children, the learning doesn’t stop when they leave the classroom.

After this Brunel University provided each child with a lunch voucher worth £6. The children were tasked to visit the university cafeteria and apply their mental maths skills to select a lunch that fell within the £6 limit. After lunch the Digital Leaders took part in a robotics workshop led by university students. Working with Ozobots, the children were challenged to think outside the box to solve a series of coding challenges in the fastest time possible.

The Elliot Foundation would like to thank Brunel University for being such hospitable hosts. We would also like to extend our thanks to Lesley Mortimer, Brunel’s Widening Participation Officer, and to Mr Jacobs, Head of Computing at Hillingdon Primary School, for their work in organising the event. We now look forward to further Digital Leader events later this academic year!

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