For the last two days I have had the pleasure of attending the Norfolk ICT conference – a two day event for teachers and leaders within the county with the themes of Aspiration, Inspiration and Collaboration. The day started with Sebastian Gasse outlining what is currently happening in Norfolk schools and presenting the challenges that lie ahead. It was great to hear from the children as well who spoke about how technology has aided their learning including home access with laptops, being free with their learning and finding things out for themselves by designing games and pr for companies as well as the varied wa
y that pupils engage with ICT within the school from radio, flips, animation, laptops to name a few.
The first Keynote of the day was from Ewan Mcintosh – whose theme was if you truly want to engage pupils, relinquish the reins – you can read about this on his blog once again Ewan challenged our thinking and has certainly given me a few wee things to ponder on!
Groups then moved on to workshops which covered a range of topics from e-safety, using social media, ICT in the early years, home access, the power of data to reveal stories and using games in schools. These were both informative and interesting – I attended Ewan’s workshop on using data, this included the amazing work of David MCCandless and his information is beautiful site, David’s talk at LWf was a highlight for me and you can watch his talk here . Ewan encouraged us to think about how data could help us tell stories and encouraged to think about the stories that we could tell using data and solutions that the children could themselves come up with and I will be looking to include some of these ideas in my teaching in the Summer Term.
Johannes Ahrenfelt also prompted me to think more about making the best use of social media within Junior schools, as he talked about the power that these have and how they can be used to bridge the gap between students expectations and the reality of 21st century education – the link from his talk and resources can be found on his blog here
I was presenting he second Keynote of the day in the afternoon looking at using games within the classroom and the power of collaboration. I started off by asking why we use games and explored the notion of play and ‘secret learning’ looking at the fact that games enabled children to be challenged, motivated, to set themselves goals and take risks. I spoke about some of the projects that we have undertaken at school.
I also looked at children as games creators and the importance of them having time to look at game development and design using Scratch, Kodu – @GeekyNicki has shared her scheme of work for using Kodu here and 2DIY I also mentioned the Video Games Ambassador scheme that was launched today by Stemnet and UKIE which looks like an exciting scheme to encourage children to work with the Games Development industry.
I moved on to the power of collaboration through networks and spoke about the work of the Redbridge Games Network what schools within the borough have been using and what we are looking to develop further in the future. Also, highlighting other networks across the country who have been set up to share ideas and work together.
Perhaps the two best tools I use for collaboration and CPD both turn 5 this year - twitter and teachmeet and I highlighted the benefit of these for finding things out and developing myself professionally as a teacher.
I finished with some small research that the Active Learning Network within the borough have been looking at to see impact of games on narrowing the gap, spelling scores and maths assessments. These small research projects are now being replicated within other schools to see if the results are replicable – I looked at spelling using word coach and my project and results can be seen below:
It was great to follow this with a workshop where work that is on going in two schools using the Wii and the DS was presented with time for questions and answers and a discussion on how to get games based learning into classrooms.
It has been a great two days and thanks must go to the Norfolk ICT team for their invitation to keynote as well as their warm welcome and hospitality.