If Carlsberg made primary schools…

It is Carlsberg that do that “if…” adverts, isn’t it? I’m advertising’s worst target. I can never remember what company goes with what slogan.

Anyway. If some company who thinks they’re great made primary schools then I give you their end result (based on a 3-hour visit): Woodhill Primary in Bishopbriggs. As part of my PGDE, I requested a visit to a local school and this was the one selected for me. I’m teaching Computing and the school had been informed of this so focussed my visit on the IT side of things.

Ordinarily this would have been a suite and a few whiteboards. Instead, I was treated to a school with a small bundle of PCs and a “laptop safe” on wheels which allows a class of 30 pupils to share one between two. Each room has a network point to which a wireless hub is attached so all of the machines have wifi access.

The kids were unbelievable. One teacher – a confessed technophobe – told me of the start of term. “Over the next few weeks,” she said, “we’ll be studying the Romans.”

A hand goes up. “Miss – can we do a PowerPoint about them?”

“A Power-what?”

She asked the other staff and was told to just hand the laptops over once they’d done a bit of research and let the kids loose. These children are in P5 (arounf 11 years old) and I can tell you right now that their ability to produce a half-decent presentation exceeds that of some lecturers who’ve made me suffer for an hour or more at university.

Another thing that hugely impressed me was the school’s use of their web page. Very well put together, up to date and regularly added to. I gather the teaching assistants have a large part to play in this and their work is a great advert for the school. Bright, simple to navigate, and chock full of stuff the kids have done – much of it written and produced by them.

It’s a superb way of being able to say “look what I did today, mum” while allowing parents to feed back and comment on work that would otherwise be difficult for them to appreciate.

I am still mulling over doing a PGDE(P) when I finish this Secondary course, and my experience at Woodhill certainly hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm. If anything, it’s buoyed me further.

A quick “thank you” to the staff and kids for making my brief visit interesting, educational, worthwhile and fun!

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