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Branksome Hall Asia’s innovation and technology showcased at BETT

By Terry McAdams, Director of Learning Technologies

On 22 January 2020, Dr. Terry McAdams, Director of Learning Technologies, was invited to be a panelist at the British Educational Training and Technology Show (BETT) to discuss how technology and innovation are integrated into the whole school culture of Branksome Hall Asia. The 40-minute question and answer session was scheduled between a representative from Microsoft and the esteemed physicist and television presenter, Brian Cox OBE. 

BETT is the world’s leading educational technology exhibition that brings together more than 800 leading companies and more than 34,000 attendees. ISC Research is an organization that provides data intelligence on the world’s international schools. These organizations were aware that Branksome Hall Asia is at the forefront of technological innovation in the International Schools section and so they invited us to share our expertise along with three other panelists. The panelists were from the UK, Sweden, and Malaysia so there was a wide range of cultures represented. 

Two days prior to this event, Branksome Hall Asia was awarded the International Schools Award for developing Future Thinking Innovators, so Terry was asked to describe the award-winning Grade 9 Wind Tunnel Interdisciplinary Unit (IDU), the brainchild of Aidan Hammond and John Gasparini. He explained that this particular IDU scaffolds skills such as research, time management, creativity, and problem-solving through the inquiry process where students synthesize knowledge from different areas and apply them to a new context. The content of the unit borrows heavily from the disciplines of Technology, Science, Design, and Mathematics curriculums at our school to create a unique learning experience. 

The second question from the host, Diane Glass, allowed Terry to explain that the Grade 9 IDU is just one initiative within Branksome Hall Asia’s large series of Sustainable Systems Design Units that run through the Junior School (IB PYP), Middle School Program (IB MYP) and Senior School (IB DP). He believes that many of our other signature programs are worthy of awards and intends to submit them for next year's International School Awards. 

The last question asked was related to how technology can be used to support mindfulness and wellness in International Schools. Having already run a workshop for parents on this very topic, Terry was able to explain that we have several new ideas in the pipeline and we hope to trial technological devices to support students’ emotional development and wellbeing. 

At the end of the session, members of the vast crowd came up to the stage to thank the panelists and ask questions. It was a great opportunity to share our knowledge and expertise but more importantly, showcase the wonderful work of the teachers at Branksome Hall Asia.