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Digital Schoolhouse's 2018 highlights

Author: Laura.Martin

2018 has been a landmark year for Digital Schoolhouse (DSH) and one with many firsts! We've reached over 15,000 students, featured on Twitch's homepage, hobnobbed with royalty and acquired a new team member (and we're looking for one more!). Here's our best bits from 2018, so grab a mug of something festive and join us in reflecting on what I'm sure you can agree, has been a pivotal year for Digital Schoolhouse and for computing education. 

With special thanks to our sponsors, Lead Teacher community, friends of the programme and everyone else who has made 2018 a fantastic year for DSH.


2018 began with the brilliant BETT show and naturally, an imaginary cat and mouse… Lead Teacher Tony Gilbert (New College Swindon) took to the stage to talk about tackling the curriculum with computational thinking. Delegates were immersed in a live demonstration of Playniac’s Cat on Yer Head and then the YMCA (of course!).


DSH stayed close to home for the London CAS Conference at Gladesmore School in Tottenham, where we met an incredible bunch of like-minded teachers who are as passionate as we are about computing. DSH  also made its podcast debut, which saw Shahneila talk to Joe Hills & Space Ape Game's Deborah Mensah-Bonsu on tackling diversity in esports.


The team travelled the length & breadth of the country during the esports tournament knockouts. Whilst our regional champs were decided, we achieved a victory of our own with our tournament stream featured on Twitch’s homepage! Back in London, our Lead Teachers experienced a very exclusive Ingenuity Day full of unique teacher training & CPD at SEGA Europe’s HQ!


April was jam-packed! Cryptonite were crowned UK Esports Champions 2018 and the educational impact of our Grand Final was covered by the Mail Online. Later, we swapped the bright lights of the arena for the beach-themed interiors of Google Academy. Lead Teacher Mark Ward taught ‘Get with the Algo-rhythm’ to delegates as part of the Tes Learning Lab.


After an eventful April full of tournament triumphs and teaching endeavours, the team celebrated another win, with TeacherGaming (TG) joining Digital Schoolhouse as a red tier supporter. TG is a Finnish game-based learning brand that seeks to elevate learning by bringing the power of blockbuster games to classrooms. 


We welcomed new and experienced DSH Lead Teachers into our 2018-2019 cohort of Schoolhouses at the DSH Summer Boot-up Camp. Guests included Paul Curzon (CS4FN) who demo'd a variety of innovative unplugged computing activities. DSH also made EdTech50 ‘Ones to note’ and marvelled MPs with computing magic at Ukie’s Westminster Reception.


The team made their way up to Sheffield for the Children’s Media Conference 2018. We introduced delegates to the world of esports with our Esports: Ready to Play? session, including panellists from ESL UK and Riot Games. Shoutcasting duo Ketchup and Mustard then set the scene with an onsite tournament which transformed the local university hub to a small scale arena!


Whilst our Schoolhouses were taking a well-deserved break, the team launched our online safety survey with no less than 2304 respondents. In time for kick-starting the new academic year, we launched the insightful and somewhat surprising report: 'Online Safety: A Pupil’s Perspective' in which only 2% of pupils said they had no confidence at all in their ability to stay safe.


This academic year started with a bang: Ubisoft joined DSH as a brand new programme sponsor, first-of-its-kind report ‘Esports: Engaging Education’ hit headlines and our Annual Launch saw a panel debut including SEGA Europe, The Guardian and DSH pupils who discussed whether our tech industry could do more to facilitate a safer online experience.


This was a month of many firsts: DSH opened up the esports tournament to UK schools & colleges across the country, the first-ever Schoolhouse esports partnership came to fruition at St John Fisher's, and finally the DSH team attended Ukie’s esports parliamentary event in the Palace of Westminster to explain the power of esports in education.


DSH landed at Shakespeare’s Schoolhouse, King Edward VI to celebrate the start of a series of unplugged workshops from our Warwickshire cluster of schools. Special guests included Warwick Town Councillor, Rich Eddy. DSH were also thrilled to receive an additional member to the team, Sophia, and visit St James’s Palace for HRH The Duke of York!


The end of 2018 finishes as this academic year began - with a bang! This month we are incredibly excited to welcome yet another DSH sponsor, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Their government funding will aid the acceleration of the programme across the country, reaching an additional 7000 pupils in the next year alone. Bring on 2019!


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