Thursday, 9 July 2009

The Oxfordshire Harnessing Technologies Conference

What a wonderful day but sadly I did not see nearly enough! The exhibition hall was busy with lots of interesting things to see, try out and investigate. Pupils there for the Logo challenge final, a school radio station, showing off video work, showing off the Learning Platform and other pupils –sorry if I have missed your project – wandered around all of the stands playing with the ipod touch, netbooks, DSs, beebots, robots, trying to get into Second Life and wishing their lives away until they can join, and as one stand owner tweeted – “There's many kids here and they are utterly mercenary about grabbing free stuff as they can fit in their tiny fists”… that’s what kids do :-)

Preparing for the conference - mostly kids and toys :-)

On the ICT stand we had computers in Second Life showing where and how we teach our e-safety course, we had a Twitter board – first time ever – not really approved but by the same token not stopped!

There were loads of breakout sessions in three rooms upstairs at the Williams’ F1 conferencing centre at Grove but again I missed most of them hearing only the three that I was responsible for managing.

The first was Dawn Hallybone from Redbridge talking about game based learning with lots of ideas how to use games to improve children’s writing, maths, geography and far, far more by using games.
This was an inspiring talk, I wish every teacher in the county could have heard it! See Dawn’s slides on Slideshare:

Next came Shirish Patel from the E learning Foundation talking about the Becta’s Home Access Initiative. The trial in Oldham and Suffolk is coming to an end and anyone who wants to be a part of the process needs to start asking their parents and investigating what their schools wants it to do for them, now! A timely presentation!

There seem to be three ways in which a school could help their community, simply by making the information about the grant known, they could maybe facilitate the claiming of the grant and buying of the equipment, at best they could aggregate the home access initiative, getting contributions from parents who do not have access to the funding, buying the computers on masse so that all pupils have one - some schools have done it for all in this manner.

See the Becta page for loads of information

The last presentation that I was responsible for managing was one about Espresso. Tom from Deddington School and Chris from Espresso demonstrated what it can offer, the range of resources available etc. For more information contact Espreso directly or the county team.

The whole day seemed to be a very positive experience, teachers who I talked to and the tweets said that people enjoyed it and learned lots from it, several teachers meantioned brain overload - so hopefully after a day or two to think about it they will have rationalised all they they saw and heard :-) A good day!

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