Wednesday, 1 February 2017

UK Video Conference Awards 2017

The UK VC Partnerships Group working alongside JISC (UK) held their National Awards Ceremony from the Bett Show at the Excel Exhibition centre in London on Wednesday 25th January.
The winners from across the education sector showcased what they have done for teaching and learning using video conferencing to win their national accolade. Richard Sedding, Chair of the group, alongside other members from all over the UK joined the ceremony to see the winners awarded with their trophies from former minister for education, Lord Jim Knight, Chief education adviser for 

The three winners are listed below with their award submissions:

Higher Education winner: Reading University
Professor Jo Doak, University of Reading and Lord Knight
This nomination for UK VC Partnerships 2017 award reflects the Henley Business School’s (University of Reading) ongoing commitment to innovative outreach with schools and universities through interactive videoconferencing. Supporting this nomination, two examples are cited.
On 13th and 20th October 2016, Dr Simone Varotto led two highly participatory videoconferences challenging sixth form business students to consider the implications of Brexit for the UK Financial Sector. Assuming the role of the CEO of a large bank with operations in the UK, each of the schools attending was asked to consider important issues currently facing the British economy at large and the UK banking sector, and to present their Brexit strategy.

In another excellent example of Henley’s innovative practice with videoconferencing, on 30th November 2016 Associate Professor Joe Doak and Professor Gavin Parker shared their enthusiasm and knowledge of planning with undergraduate students at Southampton and Exeter. The interactive event supported students in their career planning, helping them feel more confident in making the right career choices by offering an understanding of the career and study opportunities for geography graduates in the built environment. Comments from participating students included: ‘I found the question and answer section particularly helpful, but the entirety of the session was very informative,’ and ‘I am more likely to apply for a Masters at the Henley Business School.’
The programme of events is tirelessly organised by Jacqui Fletcher, Programme Area Manager, at Henley in collaboration with Channel Talent and using JISC’s Vscene platform.

Primary School winner: Mayespark Primary School

Anne De Asha, MayesPark Primary School and Lord Knight

This award submission showcases the expert visitors from Croatia, Australia, Sweden, Borneo, and New York who have connected with Mayespark to enrich our learning about other cultures, environments and develop new skills. We have invited in museums, authors, other schools, local councillors and inspirational speakers. Our VC strategy has enhanced our classroom practice across our whole school.

Cost savings
As many opportunities give us experiences that we wouldn’t have access to, the real cost is unquantifiable. We meet international experts without leaving the school. Through the Redbridge VC Network we share video conferences, so experts are able to talk to several schools at once.

(Estimated savings: £ saved in making virtual visits: £5640; miles travelled 68,400).

Junior School winner: Churchfields Junior School

Pupils, Rachael Cooper of CJS and Lord Knight

This award submission reflects how Churchfields Junior School through the Redbridge VC network makes links both nationally and internationally, enriching our geography and science curriculums and forging relations with schools around the world. 
Perhaps our most exciting project so far has been with a school in Brazil during their hosting of the Olympic Games. Year six pupils from Churchfields ran their own project supporting the teaching of English to Brazilian children. This project was run by the children and they prepared detailed lessons in their own time. As a whole school, we were also able to share song (in native and foreign language) and dance with this school and to benefit from the same display from them.
Elsewhere in the school we have been able to connect with the National Space Centre, allowing pupils to find out new facts about planets in our solar system. This enriched the science curriculum in year five, allowing children to interact personally with members of staff at the space station. Children also had a conference about Salt Lake City looking at archaeology and fossils and about another about rivers, complementing learning in geography.  
We have also benefited from our school choir connecting with Manhattan School in New York to exchange the singing of Christmas songs.
Junior Travel Ambassadors at the school have also benefited from video conferencing. This elected pupil voice group delivered a presentation to Keith Prince (the Havering & Redbridge Conservative member for the London Assembly). 
In year four, children are currently using a link with a Brazilian school to present a lesson each week on life in our country and vice versa. This complements their learning in geography which is about this South American country. 
We are very proud that Churchfields has travelled a total of 317,000 miles in the last year. Meaning that as a school, we have travelled around the world over 12 times in the last 12 months.

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