Art, literacy skills and computing can all work hand-in-hand, says Rachel Vidler.
Rachel is the opening speaker in our CAS Inspire programme, leading the first two webinars in our exciting autumn line-up; Making the most of Technology in English on Tuesday 29 September and Top tips for combining Computing and Art on October 8.
Rachel, who Leader of CAS Lincolnshire Primary Community taught in primary schools in Lincolnshire for seven years and says she’s always been interested in tech, from when she was a NQT.
It was an enthusiasm she has been keen to share and, in her last teaching role, she divided her time between teaching and mentoring colleagues. Now she’s dedicating her time to finding innovative ways of embedding digital skills across the curriculum for young learners.
Rachel left full time teaching in 2019 and joined Ark ICT, which looks after 200 schools offering tech support, training and CPD.
“More recently I’ve been working for the NCCE,” said Rachel, who is a Subject Master Expert at the NCCE’s Computing Hub at Denbigh School, Milton Keynes and has been approached to be Primary lead at the hub, for Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire.
Recently she’s been working closely with the NCCE to support the launch of its new Teach Computing curriculum.
“The Teach Computing Curriculum is going to transform teaching. The resources are really good for schools to be able to simply pick up units and lessons off the shelf and run with them. It’s an amazing starting point having the curriculum covered, and all the SME’s have been very enthusiastic about promoting it.”
She’s also a Barefoot Ambassador, Seesaw Ambassador, is Raspberry Pi certified, as well as running a lively CAS community. As a young woman and a self-confessed tech obsessive she’s aware that she can be a role model to encourage girls to engage with computing.
“That engagement with girls and computing needs to start at primary school,” says Rachel.
Engagement is also about giving teachers the tools to make computing appealing to all ages.
“It’s about looking for the ideas, apps and tips to make teacher’s life easier,” she said.
“Often it’s simply making sure teachers know about the apps which are useful and how to find the best source of information. It’s about working smarter and not harder. Teacher’s time is precious.”
It’s this approach which she will be bringing to her first webinar, Making the most of Technology in English.
“We’ll be looking specifically at Reading Comprehension and SPAG, outlining apps and websites which show teachers how to use technology creatively to apply the pupils' understanding,” said Rachel.
“Apps can be used to support vocabulary and word classes in SPAG and we’ll also look at how such apps can link into wider topic-based lessons.”
Computing and creativity can also work together in art lessons, and Rachel’s Webinar on October 8, looking at Computing and Art, will also look at some of the best apps and resources to link in lessons and plan creative content.
“There are many free apps and websites that can link with the Art National Curriculum objectives. Children are often really inspired by combining technology and art, and I’ve seen some amazing creative work be produced. They all really love it. It’s often about knowing where to start with resources, and I’ll be helping to make that straightforward for teachers.”
Rachel will be continuing her CAS Inspire series with a third webinar later in October looking at teaching computing without computers.
“We’ll be looking at the pedagogy underpinning ‘unplugged’ lessons, highlighting where to find the best free resources for such sessions and look into some unplugged ‘concepts before coding’ lessons to support computational thinking.”
We’re thrilled to have Rachel in our CAS Inspire line-up!
Full details of her events are here:
Making the most of technology in English Wendy Piccinini / Rachel Vidler, Tues - 29 Sept 4pm – 5.15pm