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209: Nurture Resilience, Empathy & Global Citizenship with Lyfta

Lyfta is an award-winning immersive learning platform where teachers can easily build or curate powerful, interactive and curriculum-aligned lessons that bring learning to life.

Lyfta helps educators to engage and inspire digitally-native children and young people; foster critical skills and values for navigating our changing world; and broaden horizons by giving children and young people opportunities to see beyond their everyday realities.

Lyfta offers a series of immersive learning environments called storyworlds, where students can explore real life human stories through stunning 360° environments, high quality films and digital content.

The interactivity and immersive nature of the content, the powerful human stories, and the carefully designed tasks and activities, combine to create truly unique, compelling and impactful learning experiences.

Serdar Ferit Co-CEO and Co-Founder is a filmmaker, digital experience designer, and teacher who has won numerous awards and worked in over 20 countries on film, new media and education projects. As an early adopter of 360 degree storytelling and Virtual Reality (VR), in 2010 Serdar learned how to take and construct 360 degree film and images and has been working on immersive stories using this medium ever since.


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Leanne Millingen is a year 4 teacher at Manor Park Primary, part of the LEO Academy Trust.

Leanne explains the numerous ways she uses Lyfta with her school and LEO Trust. This ranges from immersive themed activities to the ongoing nurturing of the global citizens of tomorrow.

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208: Digital Strategy for Schools with Al Kingsley

Al has spent the last 30 years in the EdTech space and 20 of those as a school trustee and governor.

He is Group CEO of NetSupport Ltd, an internationally acclaimed EdTech vendor, and has lived and worked in both the UK and US. He is Chair of 2 Academy Trusts and Chair of an alternative provision Academy, all in the East of England.

Alongside these roles, Al also sits on the Regional Schools Commissioner’s Head Teachers board for the East of England and North-East London and is an independent Chair of the county’s SEND board.

As a firm supporter of lifelong learning, he is also a regional Apprenticeship Ambassador and Chair of the Employment & Skills board for his region’s combined authority.

An active writer about all things EdTech, Al is a member of the Forbes Technology Council and sits on the advisory council for the Foundation for Education Development.

As schools around the country continue to grapple with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, all eyes are on the education sector as yet another cohort of children risks being left behind due to learning loss. With some form of blended learning set to stay in place for the foreseeable future even after the vaccination programme concludes, Al discusses what role EdTech might play in addressing these issues going forward – specifically the shifting role played by teachers in an increasingly digital world, and how we can best equip our educators with the tools they need to navigate the ‘new normal’.

NetSupport recently announced the launch of, an enhanced international, cloud-based classroom management and teaching platform, which will help improve teacher workloads, wellbeing and student engagement. enables teachers and learners to move seamlessly between in-class and remote schooling, having been developed in partnership with teachers and education professionals across the globe – ensuring it is designed to specifically fit the various needs of teachers and students.

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Resource Mentioned

My Secret #EdTech Diary

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The National Association for Primary Education speaks for young children and all who live and work with them. Get a FREE e-copy of their professional journal at

207: 5 Wellbeing principles with Maria Brosnan

Maria Brosnan is an educational leadership and wellbeing specialist, author, coach, speaker.

Over a 30-year period, Maria has worked in a variety of wellbeing capacities; from counselling end-stage cancer patients to whole school wellbeing training.

She created Pursuit Wellbeing as a platform to offer information, inspiration and support to promote the wellbeing of teachers, leaders and all school staff.

She hosts the podcast ‘Pursuit of Wellbeing’, and is author of the book ‘Pursuit of Sleep’ for teachers.

Maria takes us through 5 wellbeing principles:

  1. Small everyday choices matter
  2. Wellbeing requires action
  3. Your wellbeing is your responsibility
  4. Wellbeing is journey
  5. Your wellbeing affects others

To get a FREE pass to Maria’s Instant Calm session please visit


Social Media Information

Twitter @MariaBrosnan

LinkedIn – Maria Brosnan

Instagram – @pursuitwellbeing

Resources Mentioned

The Untethered Soul – Michael A. Singer

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The National Association for Primary Education speaks for young children and all who live and work with them. Get a FREE e-copy of their professional journal at

206: Independent Thinking with Ian Gilbert

Mark Taylor chats to Ian Gilbert, a patron of National Association for Primary Education.

Since founding Independent Thinking in 1994, Ian has built a global reputation as an educational thinker, innovator, entrepreneur, speaker and award-winning editor and writer. He was listed by the IB magazine as one of their top 15 ‘educational visionaries’.

Never happier than when he is making children’s brains hurt, he has a unique first-hand perspective on the world of education having lived and worked in schools and universities in the UK, the Middle East, South America and Asia.

He is now sharing his time between Rotterdam, where his wife is an international school principal, and their home in the middle of nowhere deep in West Wales.

He wasn’t always interested in exotic foreign travel and meeting interesting people from different countries, as he started off his educational career teaching French in Northampton. He didn’t really want to be a French teacher and, while you would think not wanting to teach French to people who didn’t want to learn it might be a match made in heaven, it was only ever really a stepping stone. His main ambition was to work with young people in the areas that most fascinated him then and in which he has become such an important figure today – thinking, learning, motivation, creativity and helping all members of the school community be the best they can be.

Through his many books including the ever-popular Thunks collection, his ongoing classroom work with children and young people, his keynotes and workshops at conferences around the world and his continuous work with teachers and leaders in schools, Ian has shown a whole generation of educators that there is always another way.

Following a chance meeting in the staff room, Ian was encouraged to set up Independent Thinking in 1994 and, since then, has built up a unique educational organisation that acts as a platform for some of the UK’s leading innovative educators and school leaders as well as serving as a ‘lighthouse’ for so many practitioners who might otherwise fall prey to the idea that silence is respect, obedience is behaviour, grades measure education and teaching and learning are the same thing.


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independentthinkingworldwide on Instagram

You can listen to all NAPE podcasts on their website or any podcast platform. Links available here

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205: Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize

Maddy Kavanagh, Education and Skills Programme Manager at Nesta Challenges and Gordon Taylor, a STEM technician at Walton Priory Middle School are talking to me about the The Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize.

The Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize, delivered by Nesta Challenges, calls on young bright minds to put their passion for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to the test, to create and develop technological innovations to help solve some of the biggest issues of our time.

Young people aged 11-16 are encouraged to apply their creativity and ingenuity in four key areas: supporting people living independently in old age, helping people lead healthier lives, tackling climate change and pollution, and helping people stay better connected.

Now in its fourth year, and supported by Amazon for the first time, the Longitude Explorer Prize pairs classroom STEM learning with valuable entrepreneurial skills to help young innovators make their great ideas a reality. The Prize helps teachers easily incorporate the programme into lesson plans by providing an array of free online resources aligned with the school STEM and citizenship curriculum – adapted to the Covid-19 classroom restrictions schools currently face.

Teams are asked to create solutions based on one of four prize themes:

• Living Longer – technological solutions to support an ageing population

• Living Healthier – technological solutions that help people live happier and healthier lives

• Living Greener – technological solutions that tackle pollution and climate change; and

• Living Together – technological solutions that help people stay better connected in a way that is easy, safe and environmentally friendly as well as solutions to deliver more sustainable transport.

The top 40 teams will be selected as finalists, where Amazon will provide expert mentoring on topics ranging from data analytics, software engineering, robotics, and app development to create prototypes of their concepts to determine the winner in July 2021. The winners will be awarded £20,000 for their school or youth group, and three teams of runners up will be awarded £5,000 each for their school or youth group.

The Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize aims to reach students across the UK and address the lack of diversity in STEM industries by providing young people from all backgrounds with an introduction to the possibilities of entrepreneurship in STEM and becoming the disruptors of the future. According to a report from EngineeringUK earlier this year, only 12% of engineers in the UK are women and, according to the Intellectual Property Office, fewer than 13% of patents are made by women. More than half (55%) of entrants to the 2020 Longitude Explorer Prize were girls.

About Nesta and Nesta Challenges

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society. We’ve spent over 20 years working out the best ways to make change happen through research and experimenting, and we’ve applied that to our work in innovation policy, health, education, government innovation and the creative economy and arts.

Within Nesta, Nesta Challenges exists to design and run challenge prizes that help solve pressing problems that lack solutions. We shine a spotlight where it matters and incentivise people to solve these issues. We are independent supporters of change to help communities thrive and inspire the best placed, most diverse groups of people around the world to take action.

We support the boldest and bravest ideas to become real, and seed long term change to advance society and build a better future for everyone. We are part of the innovation foundation, Nesta. We are challengers. We are innovators. We are game changers.

About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion or invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalised recommendations, Prime, Fulfilment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit and follow @AmazonNewsUK.

About Amazon in the Community

Amazon has long been committed to communities where our employees live and work and we focus on building long-term, innovative, and high impact programmes that leverage Amazon’s unique assets and culture. We want all children and young adults to have the resources and skills to build their best future. We concentrate on “right now needs” – via programmes that address hunger, homelessness, and disaster relief efforts – as well as programmes like Amazon Future Engineer, designed to inspire and excite children and young adults from underrepresented communities to pursue careers in the rapidly growing field of computer science. We are committed to inspiring and educating students across the UK to try computer science and coding, and pursue a career in this field.


Social Media Information

Twitter: @NestaChallenges

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The National Association for Primary Education speaks for young children and all who live and work with them. Get a FREE e-copy of their professional journal at

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