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Saturday, 16 February 2013

My Speech - Osprey Quay Opening

On Tuesday 12th February, 2013, Dorset County Council, Co-Sponsors of the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy (IPACA), handed over the new Osprey Quay Campus to the Academy at an official ceremony at the new site. The event was attended by the High Sheriff of Dorset, Jeremy Pope, Weymouth and Portland Town Councillors for Underhill Ward, County Councillor for Portland Harbour Tim Munro, the Chair of the Portland Community Partnership, Andy Matthews, local business leaders, students and teachers.
As part of the event I spoke about the importance of Digital Learning here at IPACA, a clip from this speech is included below:

For a full copy of my speech, please read below:
Good afternoon, my name is Gary Spracklen and I am Director of Digital Learning and Innovation here at the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy. It is a great honour to stand before you all today and share the importance of Digital Learning here at IPACA.

Technology is now an essential part of our everyday lives and has changed the way we behave, learn, communicate and fundamentally live. The rate and speed of change in technology is phenomenal and shows no signs of slowing down. This is replicated in the jobs market where the top ten jobs in 2012 did not even exist in 2004! The future for many of our students is therefore likely to be a job that does not even exist yet, using technology that hasn’t even been invented!

To prepare our students for this changing world, we are embedding digital technology in all we do at IPACA. Most powerfully we are doing this through the students themselves through a project called Digital Leaders.

Digital Leaders provides students with a real voice on the issues that matter to them. The project although still in infancy has proved incredibly popular with over 100 students involved across IPACA. Digital Leaders range in age from 3-16 and each bring something unique to our Online Discussion area which is proving a great hit.

Digital Leaders have already been involved in some excellent projects including working with Mozilla (the company behind the Firefox web-browser) to develop an online accreditation scheme. This project involved six IPACA students visiting the Mozilla head office in London to meet with peers and industry experts. The students aged between 6 and 14 each worked collaboratively and effectively to present their thoughts in a clear and concise way. My personal highlight of this project was seeing Finlay Short, who is running the Skype station today, speak completely independently in a room of about 50 people about his passion for Computer Science coding. This was a skill he had discovered only hours earlier while working with an older IPACA pupil.

Last Tuesday, I took a further 7 students to London for a meeting at the BT Tower. This was not a sight seeing visit but a further  opportunity for the students to talk about their vision for their Academy.

The journey forward is an exciting one for our whole community and what technology we will be using in even three years time is hard to say. However, what is clear is that whatever technology we use it will be for the inspiration, engagement and enjoyment of our students to deliver outstanding outcomes and a very bright future!

I encourage you all to visit the three areas in the hall today showcasing the technology we are already using here at IPACA to support learning.

The Skype station is currently taking a call from St. Mary’s First School in Charminster and I believe one of our Digital Leaders is hoping to speak to a relative there.

Our 65” plasma is also looking for testers to explore this touch-screen technology that will support our agile learning spaces.

Finally, if you haven’t seen our Augmented Reality display yet, please do not leave without having a student show you the power of blending virtual reality and actual reality. The results are magical!

Thank-you very much.