The EdTech series of blog posts are focusing on the “Great Teaching and Learning” framework from Sandringham and in this blog post we explore some of the opportunities to signpost online resources that can enable students to broaden their horizons, pursue their interests and develop cross curricula workplace related skills. The blog post relates to the “Opportunities” area of the framework, specifically:

3.3 [Sandringham teachers]: Are able to broaden their student’ horizons by signposting social, moral, spiritual and cultural issues, extra curricular activities, the super curriculum and cross curricular links.

Sandringham teachers already provide a wide range of opportunities through the super curriculum to take study further, the super curriculum booklets are found on the school website here

In this blog post we will explore specifically a range of websites and web apps that can give students the opportunity to explore interests, often in a way that links to the world outside of school, the world of work and are cross-curricula. In this “part 1” we will share a range of websites that schools we’ve worked with have enjoyed using, and for part 2 I invite you to contribute some of the websites, apps and web apps that you have found most useful in supporting students to explore interests further related to your subject, to do this get in touch via email.

1. Google Arts and Culture

There’s nothing to replace the cultural experience of visiting an art gallery physically, but for many students this isn’t practically possible. Google Arts and Culture provides a wealth of opportunities to explore and interact with the arts and culture. For example there is a virtual gallery looking at Gustav Klimt currently complete with audio guide talking us through the various artworks. An interactive version of The Water-Lily Pond by Monet allows you to zoom in on the fine detail of the painting and explore the techniques used. The opportunities are endless with tours through nature reserves, museums and interactive apps such as the “blob opera” AI powered opera creator that makes use of machine learning.

Link: https://artsandculture.google.com

2. Layers of London

Layers of London is a website that lets you explore the rich history of London through maps and collections of artefacts. Not only that but if you do your own research and find something to add you can contribute yourself. The collections bring together a range of resources and include topics such as the “WW2 Bombing Map”, “Punk London” and “Black History”. In addition you can add layers such as Tudor maps, Medieval London, The London of Charles Dickens or Charles Booth’s Poverty Map (1886-1903).

Link: https://www.layersoflondon.org

3. Explore the UN sustainability goals through coding

The Microbit is a small computer with LEDs, buttons, sensors and bluetooth and can be picked up for about £10. In these set of online projects, students are encourage to create computer programs that tackle some of the UN sustainability goals and encourages young people to see the link between innovative thinking, technology and the challenges we face in the wider world. Even if students don’t have the Microbit they can try their code out using the online simulator.

Link: https://microbit.org/projects/do-your-bit/

4. Get creative with Tinkercad

Nesta’s report “Creativity and the future of skills” concluded that “Creativity is likely to be even more important in the future job market.” and that “Creativity is not confined to the list of creative occupations compiled by the DCMS. Education and skills policymakers, should look beyond sectoral boundaries when formulating policies to invest in the workforce’s creativity.”

Design thinking is an important skill for the future and students can realise their designs virtually using the free online version of Tinkercad. The best place to start is with the “Tinkecad Basic Skills” section.

5. iDEA – Develop Digital, Enterprise and Employability Skills

The Mayor of London office research future skills required in the workplace and found there were a wide range of skills required that have a digital element from Data Analytics to Cyber Security to Video Games and VFX (Video Effects).

Mayor of London – future digital skills

iDEA or “Inspiring Digital Enterprise Awards” are a bit like the “Duke of Edinburgh” awards for digital skills. The website allows you to work for industry recognised awards and work towards a Bronze or Silver badge gaining award in various categories from Blockchain, to Coding to Digital Artwork.

Link: https://idea.org.uk/

6. The British Council Great Languages Challenge

The British Council keep a school and teacher resources section which currently has the Great Languages Challenge, a great challenge to extend someone’s interest and love of language, these can be found here.

7. The Black Cultural Archives Online

Although this one is linked to our first resource it deserves a post of it’s own. The Black Cultural Archives is the only national heritage centre dedicated to collecting, preserving and celebrating the histories of African and Caribbean people in Britain. It’s based at Windrush Square in London, but now thanks to Google Arts and Culture has a virtual presence online where you can explore some of the key resources. The online resources can be found here.