Wizards of the whiteboard

24th January 2003 at 00:00
GLASGOW teachers have excelled themselves this year, winning two out of 13 ICT in Practice awards from the British agency for educational communications and technology (BECTA).

Heidi Fawcett, headteacher of St Mary's primary in Maryhill, and Aileen Monaghan, a music teacher at King's Park Secondary, were presented with awards for leadership and teaching at this month's BETT educational technology show in London.

Another teacher from St Mary's, Maureen Balloch, came third in the primary teaching category.

St Mary's has served as a test bed for new technology under Ms Fawcett. It has won a pound;4,500 Scottish Executive innovation award for its pioneering work with electronic writing tablets and handheld computers (TESS, September 20) and has piloted the city's first wireless school network.

The judges stated: "Thanks to her vision and the implementation of that vision, the school is achieving very highly, and in difficult circumstances."

Maureen Balloch, as ICT co-ordinator, was "clearly at the heart of the school's ICT policy and a key component of the management team", not only training teachers but also valued by pupils as a teacher in the classroom.

She was "a critical thinker" and "a role model", well prepared and reflective. To develop ways of using an interactive whiteboard, Ms Balloch encouraged pupils to explore its potential. Her class ended up using it to research and share ideas, stories and texts. They then published their work and discussed it with a range of audiences, including local media.

Aileen Monaghan is principal teacher of music at King's Park Secondary.

With the help of colleagues, she has been instrumental in attracting strong financial support from the city council for her work with music technology.

One judge was bowled over by her "whirlwind" performance in the classroom, where she played keyboards with her hands on an interactive whiteboard. "We have never seen ICT impact so intensively on a subject," the panel commented.

Mrs Monaghan was praised for her energy, commitment and depth of knowledge, which attracted and retained the attention of students. She made room for children who had been rejected by most other teachers and has few problems with discipline.

From basic bedroom software which uses sound samples not sheet music to online African drumming workshops and electronic keyboard composition, her curriculum was "incredibly flexible" and took account of pupils' interests, so that numbers taking music to exam level have increased considerably.

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