Guilherme Santa Rosa, an entrepreneur from São Paulo, spent 30 minutes talking to Priestley College’s ICT students via a webcam.
Tutor Tom Heaton said Priestley had contacted Guilherme – a world leader on app development – through the organisation Apps for Good.
On Wednesday he discussed the students’ ideas for apps including one that allows users to remotely manage security on their PCs.
“It creates a real buzz in the classroom to be linked to a world expert in Brazil and it wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t embrace the technology that is now available to us,” said Tom.
“We review the units we teach every year to meet what’s current and what the students will benefit from most when they move on from Priestley. This exercise is just another example of how we engage young people with the subject.”
Apps for Good is aiming to transform the way technology is taught in schools to ‘empower students from all backgrounds to seize the opportunities of our digital age.’
Priestley’s ICT students have entered the Apps for Good competition which, if they win, will see their app developed into a prototype.
Priestley’s Deputy Principal Matthew Grant said technology was now playing a growing part in education both in terms of teaching and learning.
“We tap into the wealth of opportunities new technology presents and are keen to open the minds of all teachers and students to the benefits it brings,” he said.
Priestley uses a Virtual Learning Environment that gives students access to learning materials – including past papers and instructive videos – anywhere and anytime.
There is also a college app that allows learners to access their timetables and track their own performance on their phones.
Politics students are encouraged to engage with national journalists via twitter and classes take part in online history debates.
“Technology is helping us to create a real culture of independent learning amongst students and also increase their passion for the subject,” said History Tutor David Cartwright.
In science tutors are using the website Socrative to set online challenges the students complete in teams or individually.
They can then enjoy ‘Space Races’ against one another in class or answer in their own time depending on the challenge.
“When you go into a lesson where there is this competitive spirit you can really feel the buzz,” said Science Tutor Wendy Winnard.