By Joshua Button, Digital Technology Facilitator
Last week the the Royal Docks played host to one of the biggest, internationally acclaimed, educational conventions. January 22nd-25th saw the 2020 rendition of the BETT show which attracted 35,000 visitors from 135 different countries. Read the articles below to find out how our learners were involved in employer engagement on the show floor. But whilst our learners were conducting employer engagement at the excel centre, we also had multiple groups from many nations visiting our college. Each nations visit centred around learning from our implementation and good practices of employer led learning, and possible collaborations between their respective schools and ours in assisting the implementation of what we do best. Many of these visits were conducted in assistance with our partners Promethean, who again you can read about in the articles below or in the numerous posts on any of our social media channels. (links are at the bottom of the page)
Monday we hosted 30 teachers and students from 4 different schools in Hong Kong. As aforementioned mentioned the purpose of their visit was to learn from our practices in employer led learning, but also our honouring of traditional hand on learning techniques. They specifically commented on the use of traditional hand tools in our metal and wood working fabrication labs; "We threw away our saws and planes a few years ago." Whilst comparing our use of technology at LDE to that of the schools in Hong Kong there are many similarities, a greater focus on next-generation simulation, modelling, and control systems at our college was interesting to hear. Though it was the hands on relationships between the engineer/craftsman and their materials, the learning pathway, and preservation of hands on skill in the workshop that stood out as a key for our learners who asked questions to the visiting teachers and students. This visit will be followed up with future online collaboration between staff and learners at LDE with staff and students in Hong Kong.
Next, on Tuesday we were visited by CEO's of Apisec, a EdTech provider to schools and universities in Mexico. We have worked with Apisec in the past, last year our LEGO Education lead travelled to the two biggest Universities in Latin America to speak at Apisec's conferences on LDE's implementation of employer led education and hands on learning mainly around the use of LEGO Education products in the classroom. They were so impressed with Shafina's talk they had to come and see how we do it first hand. Specifically they were interested in employer engagement inside and outside the classroom. The 2 CEO's had the opportunity to interact with some of our learners in the classroom, and were "amazed" at the level of knowledge in technology and understanding of industry displayed by our learners.The result of this meeting is LDE assisting Apisec in connecting employers and education providers across Mexico at a university level and school level. This will involve teachers from LDE having the opportunity to travel to Mexico and educate teachers there on their practices, providing our staff with a great insight into international education. Whilst also talks of possible learner exchanges between top private institutions in Mexico and LDE.
On Thursday morning we hosted the EdTech Conversations along with the EdTech Foundation UK, Intel and the ISC Digital Group. This event hosted in our main hall all morning was visited by over 150+ guests from CEO's of tech startups, heads of massive tech companies, educators, principals, and managers from all over the UK and even some international. Our learners were given the opportunity to listen to talks and network throughout the event with a Year 13 Learner Theo Vasiloiu conducting an introductory talk to very large appraise from the visiting audience. Though we were hosting the event our involvement through learners talks tours of the college, and networking throughout the event has resulted in more interest. These new contacts are currently being communicated with and will result with even more employer engagement for our learners over the coming years. Stayed tuned to our news feed and social media in the coming weeks to see some of our new partners popping up.
Finally on Friday we had a very big day. In the morning we were visited by a large delegation of ministers and companies from Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Turkey. They were interested in the implementation of technology across the curriculum especially the use of robotic control systems, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence societies, and interactive displays. The group were blown away with the learners grasp on technology in the classroom and the knowledge of our teachers. This has resulted in several companies and education boards requesting our teachers visit their premises for a few days to train their staff. This also offers the opportunity for our learners to interact with students and teachers from around the world, collaborating digitally and potentially physically in their countries. Also several EdTech providers have expressed interest in having learners do overseas internships based off of the skills they have seen displayed in our classrooms. As I stated before stay tuned for more about this in the coming weeks. Lastly, but not least. Friday afternoon we were more then happy to host 2 separate High Schools from Moscow, Russia. The groups of students were especially intrigued in how our learners were learning through experience and hand on education. Our learners had a great time asking them questions about their education system as well. After their visit we received some lovely feedback from Promethean who was contacted by their head teacher: "2 weeks in London, and the thing that impressed our students the most wasn't the Tower of London or the Shard, but the tour of LDE UTC and interacting with the staff and learners ." To this day our staff and learners are still sharing correspondence with the learners and staff of High School No 576 in south Moscow. We are looking forward to collaborating on some space oriented projects in the near future through another recent partner and more possible exchange programs. As well they were accompanied by a large Educational News Outlet reporter who was "blown away" by the teaching styles, equipment, and passion exhibited by our staff and learners.
All in all, it was a very busy week for out learners and staff. But the friendships, knowledge, and partnerships we have finished with made the week all the more worth it. Next is to continue developing and communicating with all of our new found global friends. As I have mentioned throughout this article stay tuned to our social media, and here on our News Feed to find out more about LDE's global reach in the coming weeks and months.
Special thanks to Promethean for arranging the tours on Monday and Friday. Ayeesha Bhamji, Apprenticeships Assitant, here at LDE for her organisation of the LDE timetable around the BETT show and making sure everything ran smoothly. James Culley, Assistant Principal, for his amazing presentations at BETT and engaging tours of our college. Theo Vasiloiu, Year 13 learner, for his fantastic talk at the EdTech conversations. Biggest thanks of all to the other LDE learners. You represented your college with prestige and pride, the feedback we received from many parties at BETT and our visitors to the college was impeccable.