Last week Mr Westley Field accompanied two of our finest teachers, Charlotte Stephens and Luke Barbour, to an Apple Teacher event led by Apple’s Jim Hayden and Michelle Heath. It was a hands on exploration of the Apple Teacher program through the lens of “how do I make this happen at my school?”
The location was the very inspiring Mother Theresa Primary School located in the Parramatta Diocese at Westmead. The event was a great example of personalised yet targeted learning exploring the ‘Apple Teacher’ resource.
First a few words about Mother Theresa school. At Mother Theresa we saw incredible design for learning spaces with all the ingredients of contemporary schools including flexible environments, a seamless flow between outdoor and indoor spaces, contemporary furniture, collaborative teaching, great pedagogy including high expectations, student leadership, agency blended to make learning engaging, every wall with visible learning, every space colourful and welcoming, withdrawal rooms at the point of need, and teachers employed to develop, plan, review and teach in teams – including structures that allow collaboration to happen. If you have the chance to visit the school, get there if you can. There could not have been a better model of what schools should be like. Huge congratulations to Principal Gary Borg, his talented staff and the Parramatta Diocese for creating such amazing learning environments in their schools.
The tour of the school would have been enough for great learning but there was more. Jim and Michelle shared the resources behind Apple Teacher. After some ‘ ice breaking’ and meeting a range of motivated teachers, we dug straight in and were challenged to explore any tools that we were less familiar with. Non musicians took garage band, non mathematicians took Numbers (with design thinking integrated) but we were keen on exploring the coding to support our recent push into STEM here at Waverley.
The iPads worked a treat. We each picked our own learning pathway and the experts chimed in when needed making it a personalised and no pressure learning experience.
The resources were fantastic and best of all useful and applicable to our classrooms. Very simple step by step instructions that integrated enough resources to please the harshest critic. Perhaps the most pleasing aspect was how we all saw how it could be used to support what we were doing with our teachers here at Waverley. As Gary put it ‘Good educators make links to their learning spaces’ and that is exactly what happened. Certainly from my perspective I could see a thousand uses for both the staff and students at Waverley.
A big thanks to Apple for the invitation. Meeting other colleagues and sharing is such a refreshing experience at these events and certainly worth attending so that we can continue to grow our own innovation agenda.