As it is British Council’s International Education Week 2020 (from 16th to 20th November), it seemed very apt to hold the first Connecting Classrooms Global Learning’s trainer webinar this afternoon.
Feedback from a recent trainer survey suggested that individuals would relish the opportunity to share practice and collaborate with colleagues from across the UK. Thus, Fiona Burns, in her role as a Consultant for Connecting Classrooms Global Learning and Cultural Engagement at the British Council, invited proposals for workshops based on a particular theme, topic or learning point. I offered to contribute to the first session by showcasing a virtual multi-schools event that I had coordinated and co-delivered recently, as well as discussing how I had managed to sustain, and even grow, Gloucestershire’s Primary Humanities Network through the ongoing pandemic.
After a formal welcome and introduction from Fiona, the afternoon’s workshops commenced (see below for titles and overviews).
Workshop 1 – The Geographical Association, England
Title: Going digital during Covid-19: the challenges and successes of delivering pupil workshops and CPD events for teachers online.
Overview: Implications posed by Covid-19 meant that a Geographical Association Initiatives Fund’s (GAIF) multi-schools event could no longer be delivered in situ/face-to-face. Find out how we overcame such obstacles and managed to successfully take over 250 pupils and staff from five schools across the Gloucestershire/South Gloucestershire/Bristol area on a ‘scintillating South American adventure’ virtually instead, achieving all that we set out to do, and more (https://create2inspire.co.uk/2020/10/15/lets-go-on-a-scintillating-south-american-adventure/). This workshop will also discuss the challenges of moving our Gloucestershire Primary Humanities Network meetings online and what has been learnt in the process (https://create2inspire.co.uk/2020/03/24/primary-humanities-network-meeting-term-4/, https://create2inspire.co.uk/2020/05/20/virtual-primary-humanities-network-meeting-term-5/, https://create2inspire.co.uk/2020/06/18/term-6s-primary-humanities-network-meeting-goes-virtual-once-again-and-well-beyond-gloucestershire/, https://create2inspire.co.uk/2020/07/15/virtual-primary-humanities-network-meeting-term-6-taking-learning-outside-the-classroom/ and https://create2inspire.co.uk/2020/09/25/not-quite-the-same-as-face-to-face-but-virtual-does-the-job-well-for-now/).
Workshop 2 – Think Learning Challenge! Wales
Title: Thinking & learning globally in Wales. What have we learned?
Overview: This short workshop will give an overview of the TLC journey delivering CCGL CPD for teachers throughout Wales. We will explore some of the successes we have had, problems we have encountered and some interesting learning experiences for us all!
Workshop 3 – The University of Edinburgh and Learning for Sustainability Scotland
Title: Creating productive teacher communities online.
Overview: One of the challenges of online learning is creating a sense of community and maintaining engagement over the duration of an online programme. In this workshop, we ask what are the most effective ways trainers find to support participants in sticking with it and encouraging engagement on a deeper level? We will share our own experiences gained through the delivery of our fully online facilitated programmes, give insights into the research and policy-backed approaches that we use and look at some of the successes and challenges we have encountered over the past five years of delivering online learning programmes in Scotland with the British Council.
It was great to have representation from three out of four of the countries within the UK; Northern Ireland, it is your turn next! The content was engaging and inspiring. It was reassuring to learn that others had encountered similar challenges, but, like myself, had found ways to overcome them. I picked up a couple of ideas/approaches to trial too; ones for our next virtual Primary Humanities Network meeting in mid-January, perhaps?
Many thanks for allowing me to play an active part in today’s webinar. I look forward to attending another session in the not too distant future.