STUDENTS from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David have recently returned from the annual Bett Conference, which was held in ExCel in London last weekend.
The conference, which is hosted by the global organisation Bett (British Educational Training and Technology), was held over four days and gave students and teachers the opportunity to keep up to date with the latest innovations in education resources and technology.
Students from UWTSD’s Faculty of Education and Communities were given the opportunity to listen to talks on creativity, innovation and education from influential figures such as Heston Blumenthal, Tony Robinson and Grammy-award winning artist Imogen Heap. It also featured a keynote speech from the author and international advisor to the arts and education, Sir Ken Robinson, who gave UWTSD students a special mention.
Carys Richards is a Senior Lecturer on the BA Education course. She said: “The show introduced a whole host of new, innovative and exciting technologies that we can incorporate within our programmes in order to enhance teaching and learning and drive the digital competence agenda forward.”
Georgina Whitlow is in her third year studying BA Education with QTS. She attended the conference and said: “Bett 2017 offered an insight into the types of educational changes currently being made by awe-inspiring technology. The vast range of international exhibitors, be it those delving into the new world of virtual reality or those delivering information with regards to online assessments, meant there was something for everyone. A personal highlight of the day for many was listening to guest speakers such as Imogen Heap and her ground-breaking MiMu gloves, Heston Blumenthal’s take on how cooking can unleash creativity and, most notably, Sir Ken Robinson, who as always managed to leave the audience with a sense of great admiration and inspiration for the future of education. If there was one resounding message to take away from the day it would be to embrace the changes surrounding education and dare to be innovative.”
Chris Gibbs (3rd Year BA Education with QTS), who also attended the conference, said: “Attending the Bett Educational Conference was an eye-opening experience, the variety and quantity of teaching resources that are available was outstanding. The technology available ranged from virtual reality headsets and interactive projectors to complete education programmes that included tracking information and methods to communicate directly and individually with parents.
“The highlight of the day was attending the seminar by Sir Ken Robinson; his presentation was a wonderfully inspiring talk about how education requires us, teachers and students to be bold and creative when we are in the classroom. It was a privilege to listen to him discuss serious issues in a funny, simple and selfless way.”
Ms Richards added: “It was an inspirational keynote speech filled with all the elements we have grown accustomed to expect from Sir Ken – humour, compassion, wisdom, and a nagging anxiety over the future of education. Staff and students alike were struck by his candid view of the potential damage education systems can have on children’s futures. Rest assured we do have options and the capacity to change how things are, armed with knowledge and understanding all children can benefit from a wholesome curriculum that recognises the potential and uniqueness of each individual child.”
The trip was organised by Mathew Jones, who is BA Education Programme Lead.
He said: “We have been coming to BETT with students for many years as we have always placed an importance on being aware of the emerging technologies and software that are being developed within education. We feel that students need to be aware of how their pedagogy and teaching could be enhanced with these technologies and how that can enrich the learning for the pupils in their future classrooms”
Josephine wins Welsh carpentry title
A COLEG SIR GÂR carpentry student has won the Welsh regional title of the Institute of Carpenters Carpenters’ craft competition.
Josephine Jones, from Saron, is in her first year of studying a City and Guilds diploma in carpentry and joinery at Coleg Sir Gâr’s Ammanford campus where she is also signed-up to the college’s shared apprentice scheme.
Following a specification set-out by Institute of Carpenters, Josephine set-about responding to the brief.
“The spec was quite complicated at first,” she said. “It involved intricate work which meant that creating strong joints was a challenge but I enjoyed it.”
Josephine also says that her first year of study helped prepare her for the competition where she learned about joinery, joints and the best tools to carry out the work. “Since I was a young girl I’ve always wanted to do a trade job,” she said. “But I was encouraged not to and guided into other careers.”
Finally pursuing her passion, Josephine added: “I love working with wood, I like working outdoors and doing something physical and I’m doing something different every day.”
The Carpenters’ Craft Competition is the only national competition open to students of carpentry, joinery and shop fitting. It gives outstanding students the chance to showcase their work and have it judged by leaders in the field.
Winners are presented with their prizes at a special ceremony held at Carpenters’ Hall
WIAV graduate wins Elizabeth Connell prize
UWTSD has offered its congratulations to Katie Lowe, who has won the prestigious Elizabeth Connell prize.
Katie, who is a graduate of the university’s Wales International Academy of Voice, was awarded the prize at a special ceremony held in Sydney, Australia. The prize includes AUS $30, 000 and an audition at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.
Katie said: “Nothing prepared me for the shock of actually winning the ECP award. This is a life-changing experience and I intend to fulfill the promise that the esteemed judges have placed in me. It is a privilege to begin my dramatic soprano journey in Elizabeth Connell’s footsteps and I hope to do her memory proud.”
Katie is an English soprano who studied at the Wales International Academy of Voice under the tutelage of Dennis O’Neill. She graduated in 2014 and since then, she has gone on to receive numerous awards including the Ian Fleming Award MBF, Sybil Tutton Award MBF, Countess of Munster Award, Les Azurieles Young Artist Award, Dennis O’Neill Foundation Award and the Josephine Baker Trust. In 2016, she was awarded the Independent Opera Postgraduate Voice Fellowship at the Royal Northern College of Music.
Dennis O’Neill, Director of WIAV, said: “I was delighted to hear of Katie Lowe’s huge success in this very important competition and have sent her our congratulations on behalf of WIAV. It was always a joy to teach her and equally so to see yet another of our singers joining the profession at such a high level.”
The Elizabeth Connell is an annual prize-giving awarded to aspiring dramatic soprano. Finalists were chosen from auditions in Sydney, Melbourne, Moscow, Berlin, London, Zurich, Paris, and New York. For her winning performance, Katie performed the ‘Immolation Scene’ from Wagner’s Götterdämmerung and ‘Suicidio’ from La Gioconda by Ponchiello.
The Wales International Academy of Voice was founded by Internationally renowned Tenor Dennis O’Neill, and now part of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s, students will benefit from the expertise of a Master of his field and a world leading Educational Institution to prepare them for the ever changing pace of the Operatic Performance Industry.
The Academy provides a highly specialised and unique environment for a small number of exceptional singers and accompanists at the early stage of their professional career and recruits young artists globally. Students work with the best vocal technicians, coaches, visiting eminent conductors and international stars from the operatic world in order to develop their talent to the highest professional standards.
21st Century Schools’ £2.3b boost
THE WELSH Government has earmarked a further £2.3b to modernise education infrastructure, Education Secretary Kirsty Williams announced last Friday (Nov 10).
The money will allow the flagship 21st Century Schools and Education Programme – a major, long-term and strategic capital investment programme – to continue for a second wave of investment.
Band A of the programme will conclude in 2019 after a £1.4bn spend over 5 years. This second wave of investment, Band B, will comprise 2 funding streams; one using traditional capital, and one using revenue funding, via a new form of Public Private Partnership called the Mutual Investment Model (MIM).
Local authorities and further education institutions have proposed £2.3bn of projects, which meet the investment objectives of Band B of the programme including:
- Addressing growth in demand for Welsh medium education
- Reductions of surplus capacity and inefficiency in the system
- Expansion of schools and colleges in areas of increased demand for educational services
- Address condition of educational assets
- Making assets available for community use where demand exists
The Welsh Government is committed to supporting all of these projects, subject to approval of business cases.
Speaking at the opening of Ysgol Cybi, a new 540 place Welsh medium primary school in Holyhead delivered by £9.7m of Band A funding, Kirsty Williams said: “I am committed to raising standards, reducing the attainment gap and delivering an education system from the ground up that is a source of national pride and confidence. The 21st Century Schools and Education Programme is one of the means to achieve this ambition and represents the largest investment in our schools and colleges since the 1960s.
“The first wave of funding provided though the programme will see investment of more than £1.4b over the five-year period ending 2019, supporting the rebuild and refurbishment of more than 150 schools and colleges across the Wales.
“This is why I am delighted to announce a second wave of investment for the programme, which will begin in April 2019.
“We will work closely with our partners to agree the pace of delivery and put in place investment plans that are affordable and meet our shared ambition to create sustainable learning environments that meet the needs of our communities.”
Announcements on individual Band B projects will be made in conjunction with local authorities in due course.
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