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8

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Secondary school pupils

developing e-learning for

disadvantaged

communities

In 2003, I decided to train as a secondary

school IT teacher, excited by the possibilities

technology held for engaging students who

may not otherwise be interested in education.

The reality of the bureaucratic school system

soon kicked in, however, and I found myself

consumed by target-setting, lesson

observations and behaviour management

issues.

A pivotal moment came when I started

teaching at a tough London academy. I was

covering a Yr 11 lesson and the boys simply

didn't want to work - they were all watching

something on one of their phones. It's not

easy to argue with a bunch of big streetwise

16-year olds, so I gave up disciplining and

asked what it was.

It turned out to be a video of the school play

that one of them had filmed, edited, added

special effects and uploaded to YouTube.

And we were teaching them PowerPoint! No

wonder they weren't engaged.

I realised back then that the curriculum was

simply too constricting to allow the type of

creativity students are capable of, so started

running computer clubs to try and offer them

something different.

My current school is Ark Helenswood

Academy, a girls' secondary school in

Hastings, UK - an area with a high level of

deprivation and unemployment. In October I

asked Wes Atkinson at software company

Appitierre, if he could give me some Evolve

logins for students to work with in an elearning club I was setting up. I'd been using

Evolve myself for a while and felt they would

pick it up quickly.

Muhammad Daniel

Computer Science and Maths

Teacher

Ark Helenswood Academy

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Index

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