Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Our Last ICT Conference

Today was our annual conference - the last one! A really fantastic day even though my feet hurt so badly now :-)

We split the building into four areas:

The Virtual Zone - showing off Learning Platform work and the use of Second Life for e-safety sessions. Children shared what they have been doing, teachers shared resources, we had a spoof video clip on the difference between the learning platform and Facebook by 11 year olds ... hmmmm ;-) I was in the virtual room and I kept losing the children to the games and mobile zones - wonder why??? Once I got a group in ready for their preso I had to bribe them with my iPad and iPhone to keep them there!

The Mobile Zone - schools showing off and talking about the use of laptop trolleys, netbook trolleys, iPod sets, mobile phone work, iPad, tablets and more (actually there was a lot of control work with Probots and Lego in that room too) it was buzzing and lively, I just wondered why the teachers were playing with the ipod touches for up to 30 minutes at a time :-) We have a tiny SMS to develop reading skills project that has just started and the teacher was in the mobile zone to talk about it. Amazingly she said at the end that loads of secondary teachers were astounded and thought it might be a good idea to let pupils use their phones in class.... wow from tiny acorns...

The Creative Zone - where Apple have been demonstrating all of the wonderful capabilities of the Apple software and launching our creative trials of MacBooks for green screen video, podcasting etc., there was an Apple Distinguished educator there all days demonstrating what could be achieved - hands on - wish I could have been there all day! Also there were pupils demonstrating stop motion animation all day with a swap over of pupils at half time :-)

The Games Based Learning Zone where teachers could see pupils using DSis, Wiis, PSPs, Kinect etc and explore how they can be used to inspire classroom projects. It is frightening just how quickly the children learn new skills such as those needed for various games on the Kinect and just how poor the adults were on the same learning curve.

Both an inspiring and sad day!  Inspiring as there was so much creativity that was being shared by children and teachers in all of the different zones but also a wide range of  great resources on show in the exhibition hall.

All of the Oxfordshire schools that attended had their evaluation forms put into a hat and a grand raffle will be drawn tomorrow to complete the event. The prizes - some 50 or more lots - is all of the kit that we have been using for years as a LA ICT team. Netbooks trolleys, laptop trolleys, ipods, cameras, sets of cameras, control kit, data sensing kit, flip cams, IWBs, projectors, wiis, DSis all sorts!

I not sure how I feel about it all - very sad obviously, glad the kit is going into schools not into a skip like so much unwanted county kit but the big county consultation document shows that my job is going, the building we use closes on the 31st July, and still two of us have not been informed about anything yet so could be expected to turn up to teach on the 1st August with no training room or facilities :-)

It was very touching to realise how many teachers are concerned for us, everyone asked what is happening and if we have heard anything yet. One of the big companies said that if I go independent to let them know and they will try to send some training my way - aren't people lovely?

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