We are pleased to announce that Nick Bury has been appointed to be our Head of Education Technology. As the first education technology head at Huili, Nick will foster and coordinate the development of education technology across all departments within the school. He will drive the effective integration of education technology into teaching and learning to support and enhance pupils’ learning, and further, provide guidance to the school’s senior leadership team for continuous innovation and teaching excellence in technology-driven pedagogy and respective methodologies. Here he is in his own words.
1 Tell us a little about yourself. I have been teaching for 11 years now, and I have always had a passion for improving children’s learning experiences through technology. My previous role as Head of Computing entailed working across two different schools, creating and delivering a computing curriculum to children aged 5-13. This role then expanded to facilitating the implementation of educational technology across both schools as well as developing pastoral management. I also trained teachers across Southwest England on how to implement technology in their schools.
2 What attracted you to Huili? I worked at a bilingual school in Vietnam, and I really appreciated the idea of being a global citizen with an awareness of national values too. From my experience, both Western and Eastern educational practices have their own individual strengths.
Huili attracted me because it combines these strengths. Another draw for me was the Huili identity and values – I could see the school shares my belief in inspiring children and encouraging them to fully achieve their potential. 3 This is a new position at Huili, what challenges and opportunities do you see on the horizon? This is a completely new role at Huili, so it will be a very exciting challenge. Unlike my previous roles, my main focus at Huili will be wholly devoted to finding, implementing and developing technology that provides pupils with the best education possible. I can already see there is fantastic potential at Huili, and my role will help to realise this. 4 What impact do you think technology decisions will have on teaching and learning? No one knows what technology there will be in the future, but that is the brilliant thing about it. There is so much opportunity we do not even know about yet. My job is to make sure Huili is as future-ready as possible and to seek out new and improved education technology as it emerges. Some technology will be more effective than others, so I will have to decide what to implement and why.
What we do know, however, is that technology will allow for increased and improved collaboration between teachers and pupils. This will undoubtedly improve pupils’ educational experience. McKinsey and Company conducted a study earlier this year that found that teachers currently spend less than half of their working time on direct interaction with pupils. They also found that technology can help teachers reallocate up to 30% of their time towards activities that support pupil learning. This is a percentage I aim to beat! 5 What do you think is the best way to integrate technology with education? From the beginning, we need to have a vision, a strategic goal. We cannot simply put technology in a classroom and see what happens. Before introducing any education technology, I will seek the opinions of staff, research how other institutions have used it successfully and monitor its progress throughout. The foremost reason for introducing any educational technology is to enhance the pupils’ learning experience, so they should have a voice in this process too. 6 How does digital capability empower pupils? Being digitally capable will soon be as important as learning to read and write. The jobs our pupils will have in the future may not even exist yet, so the earlier we learn about technology and use it in education, the better equipped pupils will be for their future.
Digital capability also means examining how we approach any problems that may arise with technology – using technology has been and will always involve a range of problem-solving skills. 7 How will you help staff to become more technologically competent? Enabling staff to share experiences and ideas will be at the forefront of my support efforts. I will also spend a lot of time supporting and observing teachers in their classrooms, so I can find ways to help them develop their skills further. Education technology does not just stop as soon as you leave the classroom, so I will also work closely with other areas of the school, such as the pastoral team, HR, facilities management and the marketing team. I want to provide hold professional development sessions as well. This will help our staff to build their confidence and comfort with using technology. If our staff are excited about technology, this excitement will surely be reflected in the pupils too. 8 What is your main focus in your first year at Huili? I have already developed some ideas from conversations I have had with colleagues and the senior leadership team. By the end of this academic year, I hope to implement technology that enhances collaboration, improves assessment and feedback, connects us with other schools and facilitates seamless learning between home and school. I would also like to introduce a BYOD (bring your own device) initiative for our older pupils. These are just a few of my ideas. However, I expect to adapt and build upon these ideas once I get better acquainted with the school.
To that end, I will consult with all stakeholders, from pupils and parents to colleagues and the wider school community to determine what our objectives are. 9 How do you stay informed and up-to-date on the latest developments in educational technology? Over the years, I have built up a wide network of professionals and enthusiasts in various areas of technology and education. This, in addition to conducting my own research, really helps to keep me informed about new developments in the industry. Having worked in a variety of schools, I realise every school is different, and while certain technology may enhance education in one school, it may not work in another. So I am always on the lookout for new ideas and initiatives that will benefit Huili. 10 In what ways can technology encourage parents' involvement in their children's education? Parents and carers are extremely important to their children’s learning and maintaining an open line of communication with them essential. This provides a way for parents and carers to stay informed and for our pupils to know that we are all working together.
This ensures the child feels and knows their hard work is recognised, motivating them further. In order for this to be a success, however, parents also need to understand how this educational technology works and why we are using it. Therefore, I want to provide training sessions either virtually or on site, and make myself available to answer any questions they may have.