EdSmart is thrilled to announce Co-Founder and Business Development Manager, Fiona Boyd, has been named an inaugural Ambassador for Upschool – a purposeful, online learning platform for making education accessible and meaningful for more children around the world.
Gavin McCormack, the Co-Founder of Upschool, says that appointing Fiona an Upschool Ambassador was “a decision made with both heart and mind”.
“Fiona stands out as an educational leader who not only excels in her field but does so with remarkable kindness and inclusivity,” he continues. “Her commitment to supporting everyone in the educational sphere, coupled with her extensive work, makes her an invaluable asset to our mission.”
According to Gavin, the appointment of ambassadors is about uniting “extraordinary individuals” who live Upschool’s mission to make the world a better place in their everyday lives. “Our ambassadors, like Fiona, represent the best of what we aspire to be – dedicated, inspiring and relentlessly committed to leveraging education as a force for good. It’s about creating a global network of change-makers, each bringing unique strengths and perspectives to champion our cause.”
For Fiona, the Upschool Ambassadorship is a source of great pride. As she states, “A strong education, and a strong education system really helps set up a person’s future – a child’s future. It gives them options, It enables them to understand the world they’re in, and enables them to power up their own journey.”
“Being a Global Ambassador for Upschool means a lot to me because that whole mission of helping children who aren’t getting rich, deep learning solves so many problems,” she continues. “If you’ve got kids who’ve had a good education, [are] well-rounded, know how to think, can learn how to learn – so they know the mechanics of learning and how to learn beyond school, beyond university, with confidence – it’s got to be good for humanity. We’ve got to make better decisions as a human species, and quality, widespread education is key to that.”
A little bit about Upschool's vision
As designed by Gavin and his Co-founder Richard Mills, all Upschool’s courses, content and resources are aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, meaning both the learning and outcomes achieved by interacting with Upschool’s courses directly address one or more of the 17 goals.
Upschool’s curriculum also supports global citizenship by guiding students in developing an awareness of issues at both a global and local community level, and designing solutions to address them. For example, some of the courses include ‘Build a Library and Change the World’, ‘How to Start a School Newspaper’, ‘The Amazing World of Plants’, ‘How to be a Geologist’ and ‘Write a Book to Change the World’.
Furthermore, teachers are equipped with a range of resources to help them enhance the learning experience. Support materials, such as videos for teachers to watch and orient themselves to the content, help augment their effectiveness in a classroom. This leads to highly engaged teachers and deeper, richer lessons for their students.
Where the EdSmart + Upschool relationship began
Fiona has long been inspired by Gavin’s passion for making the world a better place through education: “I’d been noticing a lot of his posts on LinkedIn over several years when he was Principal at Farmhouse Montessori. I really loved the way he put the learning journey, and the child and how they learn, at the centre of everything he does. Often Gavin would do a post where he’s teaching something and you could just see the intense involvement of the children.”
When interviewing Gavin as part of EduTECH, he shared his vision with Fiona for World Educational Empathy Week – run by his not-for-profit venture, Education Influence – where teachers from around the world were invited to submit 45-minute lesson plans. A number of these lesson plans were then chosen for delivery to a global audience over a 24-hour window covering every time zone. It was World Educational Empathy Week that then laid the foundations for Upschool.
“It’s something that Gavin had been working on for a long time, and he’s got some other co-founders who’d been really playing with this vision with him,” Fiona explains. “There are schools in Nepal where, literally, they’ll join Upschool on the teacher’s mobile phone and they’ll do the lesson from there. Just think about that: we do curriculum, we teach things in a really efficient way in the west — in Australia, in Canada, New Zealand, the UK, the United States — but, if your education system isn’t really well-resourced, isn’t solidly grounded in curriculum, then how do you know if the kids are learning the content they need to skill themselves up?
The collaboration between Gavin and Fiona created a meeting of the minds and, as they say in the classics, the rest is history. This recent Upschool Ambassador appointment is just another instance of their professional relationship bearing fruit.
“Fiona embodies the qualities we hope to see in future leaders – kindness, consideration and passion,” concludes Gavin. “Collaborating with her, we aim to amplify our impact and bring about meaningful change in the world of education.”
For more information about Upschool, visit their website: upschool.co.