Let Teachers SHINE winner 2022: Jonny Foster – Prodigy

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A Middlesbrough secondary school teacher has received a grant of £3,000 to help him develop his idea to raise attainment in maths and science.

Jonny Foster, who teaches both subjects at Macmillan Academy says students – particularly those from deprived backgrounds – can struggle to transfer knowledge and skills between maths and science and to make connections between their lessons and the real world.

Although it is a well-known issue, Jonny says there are little or no solutions available to teachers.

Now Jonny has received a development grant from education funding competition Let Teachers SHINE which will allow him to develop his idea to help students transfer skills between subjects.

“I’m starting off with links between maths and physics lessons because I’m in the lucky position of teaching both subjects, so I can see what is being taught in one and in the other.

“I am going to create animated lessons that students can access online. And to keep them engaged, my idea is to build a profile of the students’ interests and their likes, and then deliver questions that are relatable to them.”

The new site, named Prodigy, will include a bank of questions linked to his students’ most popular interests, such as football, gaming, and hair and beauty.

Jonny also plans to include game elements, allowing students to create an avatar, collect coins, and compete against their classmates.

If it proves successful, Jonny believes Prodigy could be extended to other subjects which share similarities, such as geography and science.

Jonny says he was “absolutely thrilled” to receive the Let Teachers SHINE award from education charity SHINE.

“To have someone telling you that you have a good idea that is worth developing is really positive and it has pushed me on to take it to the next stage.”