Lee Parkinson is a primary school teacher, Apple Distinguished Educator, Author, podcaster and blogger providing training nationwide & beyond on using technology to raise standards across the curriculum. He also delivers sessions on how to work smarter not harder! Mr P has been a classroom teacher for over 12 years and still works part-time in school. He also now works internationally with schools looking to embed technology to transform learning. He puts pedagogy at the heart of everything he does and is the most followed teacher on social media in the UK.
Lee originally wanted to be an actor and really enjoyed drama lessons at school. He was nearly a cast member of Hollyoaks, when he was called to audition for them. However, this did not work out so Lee was unsure what career path to take. His girlfriend at the time was going to be starting university to study teaching so Lee decided to apply for a four-year BA course and the rest is history.
Lee uses technology within his own school to support teaching and learning. It enables the pupils to access the learning and show their learning in a range of ways. The Euros inspired his pupils to create a range of multimedia projects including writing their own commentary for the Germany match and recording it over the top of the visuals. Using a photo shopped photo of Gareth Southgate talking to his younger self the pupils wrote the speech he would have said to himself. They also wrote thank you poems to the England team and recorded their performance and edited them over the top of shots of the England team. This approach covers all the English objectives in a fun and practical way and provides the pupils with a global audience for their writing.
Lee works with schools looking to embed technology to transform learning. He runs a range of professional development opportunities which enables school staff to interact with technology and learn how it can be embedded within the curriculum. Pedagogy is at the heart of everything he does to ensure staff understand how it can be used within their classrooms to support teaching and learning.
Lee’s website, www.mrpict.com, supports schools to creatively enhance the whole curriculum through technology. It is packed with inspiring ideas about how to creatively enhance the whole curriculum through technology. It includes a comprehensive progression of skills document and step-by-step videos to achieve objectives across the whole curriculum. It includes a section about how to use educational apps within the classroom. Through lockdown, the CPD videos supported staff to use ICT with videos that explained how to do a range of things including: masked reader, for World Book Day and adding filters when on a virtual call, etc. There are a range of resources to support ICT leads including a computing intent, implement, impact statement which is free to download.
Lee has created an innovative approach to teaching computing through his DARES projects for Primary ICT. D.A.R.E.S encourages pupils to be critical thinkers, problems solvers and computational thinkers while creating purposeful content to demonstrate how learning can be applied across the wider curriculum. The aim of this approach is to provide a scheme that deepens children’s knowledge of computing so they can creatively apply their learning across the curriculum in a personalised and accessible way. These may take place in computing lessons over a half term to then allow pupils to apply these creative ideas more regularly across the curriculum. He does not want to make these projects too prescriptive as he know some classes may need some more time to complete different elements.
The stages which can be adapted into lessons are as follows:
D – Design: Pupils start to discuss the desired outcome for their project and are given time to tinker with the software before planning what they will do to achieve their outcome.
A – Apply: Pupils are given the opportunity to create, make and produce content using the app or software explored in the Design lesson(s)
R – Refine: Pupils spend time considering ways to modify and improve their projects to get the best results possible.
E – Evaluate: Upon completing their desired outcome, pupils are given the opportunity to reflect and consider how effectively they have achieved their goal.
S – Share: Learners are given the opportunity to publish and exhibit their work to the world embedding skills from the Digital Literacy curriculum.
Lee’s top tips for remote learning are to stick to one platform to make it easier for staff, parents and pupils. It is important to not be hard on yourself and utilise content that is available including Oak Academy to enable you to work smarter, not harder.
Lee used to use blogging which can be an incredibly powerful tool to give children a real global audience for their learning. However, he has moved away from this now and utilises media and video to provide the pupils with a platform for their writing. Behind every good video is a well-written script with lots of planning and preparation.
Lee is a real advocate of social media and believes social media is a tool for good, but that unfortunately, some people make the wrong choices. We don’t have a choice about using social media, the choice we make is how well we use it. Schools should embrace and model safe and responsible social media use. Social media is going to be a part of the pupil’s lives so it is important we teach them how to use it responsibly and safely.
Lee is passionate about supporting school staff and has shared ideas for reducing workload. He states that teachers need two T’s to support their wellbeing – Trust and Time. If they are trusted to do their job and priority is given to tasks that have the highest impact, then wellbeing can be achieved. He is not a fan of wellbeing strategies like after-school yoga etc. because everyone will have something different that supports their wellbeing. Lee finds that getting home at a reasonable time to see his family and recording a podcast with his brother helps his wellbeing.
Lee’s funny videos have brought a smile to his followers during the pandemic. He gets his inspiration from current topics, conversations in the staffroom, TikTok trends, etc. His triplets get involved in the videos and his daughter has a particular talent at lip-sinking iconic scenes from television including Friends and Gavin and Stacey. The other thing that has helped people to laugh during lockdown has been Lee’s brilliant podcast with his brother, Adam. Adam is a teaching assistant within the school so the podcast, Two Mr P’s in a podcast, shares their funny stories from the classroom. The podcast has been the number one education podcast and amassed over 3 million listens. They have recorded 115 episodes and it came in the top 10 in the British podcast awards. The podcast has a number of features each week which include a range of stories that teachers send in which people in education will be able to relate to.
Lee and Adam have a book coming out on the 20th of August which has a well-known teacher saying as the title – ‘Put a wet paper towel on it’. It is a heart-warming and hilarious look at life in the classroom from the teachers who host the most popular UK education podcast, Two Mr Ps in a Pod(Cast). In this book, The Two Mr Ps will take you on a side-splittingly funny journey through the weird and wonderful world of primary schools. It also explores the pressures of modern-day teaching, revealing exactly what it takes to wrangle a chaotic classroom (or seven) on a weekly basis. From the absolute characters found in the staffroom to school-trip mishaps and everything else in between. They also have a live tour of the podcast starting in September, travelling all around the country. In the live show they share funny stories from the front line of teaching, this live show will see the Two Mr Ps reminiscing on their own school days and looking at the wonderful and hilarious world of education.