Former teacher and Gogglebox star Baasit Siddiqui has seen the importance digital learning plays in children’s education following a visit to the forward-thinking Parkdale Primary School which has been recognised by Apple for its commitment to “continuous innovation using technology”.
Mr Siddiqui, who previously worked as an IT teacher, visited the school to see first-hand the innovative technology championed by the Parkdale community, which has led to its status as an ‘Apple Distinguished School’.
The school, part of the Transform Trust family, has been recognised by Apple as “one of the most innovative schools in the world” for its commitment to continuous innovation in education through its digital practice and whole-school integration of products, such as iPads, to create exemplary learning for its pupils at school and at home.
Mr Siddiqui said: “It is super exciting to see digital technology being used in such an innovative way, but it is not a flash in the pan. There is a lot of thought and effort going into it and at the heart of it is ‘how does this benefit the children and the teaching team?”
“It is encouraging to see so much effort has gone into this, not just from the school, but from the wider trust as well, giving teachers that autonomy to experiment with technology, see what works, celebrate successes, and this ultimately benefits the children.
“The children take pride in championing the cool stuff they are doing using digital technology and that makes them well-rounded, confident young people and the fact that Parkdale provides that environment is lovely to see.”
Apple Distinguished Schools are recognised as centres of leadership and educational excellence, with a clear vision for how technology-rich environments support learning goals.
As an Apple Distinguished School, Parkdale invited educators across the country to visit and experience the benefits of digital learning and how technology allows pupils to let their creativity flow using platforms, such as Chatterpix and Sketchers School, designed to educate and inspire.
This ties in perfectly with Transform Trust’s vision to raise aspirations and provide equitable life chances for every child, while its values (Respect, Kindness, Equity and Creativity)- underpin every aspect of school life, inside and outside of the classroom.
Visitors heard informative talks from Jenny Hinton, Parkdale’s digital lead, and Abdul Chohan, vice president of Showbie, an innovative app helping teachers create and manage assignments, give feedback, and communicate with pupils in one place.
Mr Chohan said: “Transform Trust has been working with the Showbie team to embed research-based practices with assessment and feedback as a day-to-day practice. This is enabling the Trust to ensure that every child has equitable access to learning.
“Showbie works with schools, Multi Academy Trusts in the UK and with schools globally to embed a digital strategy that empowers teachers to provide the best possible learning experience for their students.
“I have seen the amazing and engaging work the children at Parkdale have been able to experience through their digital learning.
“We are moving from translation to transformation. Teachers explain their concepts to their children, and we want children to become independent learners. We are moving the scaffolding, providing support initially but then we want the children to speak, explain, talk and show how they’ve understood something. They can use this on different platforms such Showbie and Chatterpix. It is essentially children demonstrating they have understood something.”
Apple Authorised Education Specialist and Apple Services Provider, Jigsaw24 has worked alongside Parkdale and Terri Stockton (Education Business Manager at Jigsaw24) was integral to the smooth running of the day.
Terri said: “As Apple Professional Learning Specialists, Jigsaw24 is really proud to be working with Parkdale and this amazing trust.
“Jenny’s relentless passion and hard work to empower the school is inspiring to see and we’re proud to be behind this, supporting the great work at school and trust level.
“We have seen first-hand their continual progress and how confident the children are with this digital empowerment.”
Peter Hillier, Parkdale head teacher, said: “We are delighted to be recognised as an Apple Distinguished School for 2023-26. Our digital progression has been a long-term objective for us since we first rolled out one-to-one iPads for our pupils at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Following this, our staff and children have been on a continual journey of discovery; supporting, enhancing, and extending their teaching and learning through technology. Our children are fully engaged in these learning opportunities and have really embraced the way that technology enables them to interact with, and understand, the wider world in a meaningful, impactful way.
“Our children engage with the technology with real enthusiasm, learning very sophisticated digital skills, and making good choices on how to use the technology to support their learning.”
Transform Trust CEO Rebecca Meredith commented: “We are so proud of the way our staff and children have embraced technology to support their creative curriculum and extracurricular activities inside and outside of the classroom.
“Our digital trust lead and executive head teacher Phil Herd has been instrumental and innovative in building our knowledge across the trust. Pete, Jenny and the team at Parkdale have literally sparked magic at this school and you can see it in the children’s faces as they proudly share their digital know-how with their peers, teachers and visitors.
“We are delighted that they have all been recognised for their innovation and digital excellence. Digital progression is a trust-wide focus for us, and we are equally delighted to see how far all of our schools have come on their journeys of discovery.”
This accolade coincides with Transform Trust’s acceptance to become an Apple Regional Training Centre for 2023. This further highlights the Trust’s commitment to facilitating training for all staff to develop skills and build confidence to improve the way they use technology effectively at school and online.
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