Teachers from schools in the Midlands, Hertfordshire, London and Devon recently flew to Chicago this summer to take part in the Discovery Education Summer Institute, an exclusive professional development and networking summit for education’s ‘digital leaders’.
The group were hand-picked to make the trip after taking part in a competitive application process, and impressing judges with their enthusiasm for using digital technology to boost pupil achievement.
Hosted at Chicago’s Loyola University, the six-day event brought together educators from some of North America’s most advanced digital schools. With interactive workshops on STEM learning, green screening, coding and virtual reality and the opportunity to explore the latest tech gadgets, the week provided plenty of inspiration for the UK teachers. The group have returned to their classrooms ready to share new ideas and resources with pupils and staff alike.
One of the teachers chosen to attend was Julia Elfred from Christ Church C of E School in Croydon. Speaking at the start of the new school term, Julia said: “It would not be an exaggeration to say that participating in the Summer Institute has been a life changing experience. I came home from Chicago armed with exciting, innovative ideas to use with the children at school; a global network of amazing like-minded people who love to share; and, more importantly, a renewed passion for the job that I have been doing for many years.”
Christopher Goymer, a Year 5 teacher at Wandsworth’s West Hill Primary School, who made the trip with Julia said: “The Summer Institute was quite simply the most rewarding and inspirational form of professional development that I’ve ever been to in my life. It was a week bursting to the brim with teaching ideas to bring back to my school in London.”
It would not be an exaggeration to say that participating in the Summer Institute has been a life changing experience
Welcoming over 170 teachers from across the globe, and now in its 11th year, the Summer Institute is the annual flagship event of the Discovery Education Community: the largest professional learning network of its kind in the US. With a growing membership in the UK, the DE Community connects teachers who are passionate about ed-tech through social media, virtual conferences and in-person events.
Catherine Howard, Director of Educational Partnerships at Discovery Education UK said: “Professional learning communities play a vital role in supporting teachers, and we were delighted to give eight UK teachers the opportunity to attend this prestigious event. Bringing together talented teachers from around the world, the Discovery Education Summer Institute is a unique professional development opportunity which will have a lasting impact on the schools involved.”
The 8 teachers who attended the Discovery Education Summer Institute were : Julia Elfred from Christ Church C of E School in Croydon, Christopher Goymer from West Hill Primary School in Wandsworth, Dan Ferry from St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Islington, Claire Trebilcock from Boringdon Primary School in Plymouth, Rachael Coultart from St. Nicholas Church of England Primary School in Hertfordshire, Stacey Trow from Delves Infant and Nursery School in Walsall, Matthew Haydon from Greet Primary School in Birmingham and Gemma Clarke from Grangehurst Primary School in Coventry.