The sheep was shorn March 12, 2013Posted by ianinsheffield in CPD, Resources, Teaching Idea.
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Had the great privilege to attend and present at the inaugural Derbyshire TeachMeet last night, organised and compèred most ably by Jim Smith (@jim1982) and hosted by the most accommodating Hope Valley College. I was impressed by the number of staff from HVC who attended and who also contributed some excellent, thought-provoking presentations. But coupled with them were others from near and far, many presenting at a TeachMeet for the first time who also provided stimulating and inspirational ideas. I needn’t name them individually since they’re all listed on the TeachMeet site.
Each and every presentation gave me food for thought, but one theme stood out. At many of the TeachMeets I’ve attended, IT was very much at the fore, often driving the content of the presentations or acting as the catalyst for the teaching idea that was being shared. Here it very much took a back seat and played no part in many presentations. In other cases it was simply the enabler of the activity, allowing the teaching idea to take centre stage. With such a large proportion of people attending their first TeachMeet, perhaps there was no imperative to live up to what had gone before, no preconceived idea of what might be appropriate so attendees therefore had the freedom to speak about absolutely anything. Which all made for an extremely eclectic mix and consequently meant there was something there for everyone.
Identifying one presentation which stood out amongst such riches is always a challenge, but for me Louise Hollis on Literacy in Languages claimed the Academy Award because she managed to squeeze such a wealth of great ideas into her few minutes. Simple and effective strategies which would be easy for anyone to apply in any subject. High quality, high concentration. Thanks Louise and thanks to everyone else too … especially Jim for getting the whole thing off the ground. Already looking forward to the next installment of TeachMeet Derbyshire.
Resources referred to in my preso can be found at
TeachMeet … Digital Leaders style June 29, 2012Posted by ianinsheffield in CPD, Inspiration, Teaching Idea.
Tags: #dlchat, #TtTMeet, Digital Leaders, teachmeet
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Thursday night saw me extend my TeachMeet experience thanks to the efforts of the Digital Leaders team and Nick Jackson (@largerama) at Fulford School. As you may well be aware, Teachmeets are gatherings of educators who share experiences and inspire each other. Thursday night was indeed a gathering of educators and was certainly inspirational, but for the first time(?), rather than the teachers organising the event themselves, the Digital Leaders student team conceived, planned, organised and delivered the whole shebang!
Piecing together the different elements of a TeachMeet is a demanding undertaking, so it is rare for the organiser(s) to also take to the stage and deliver presentations, but ably assisted by Lady Lumleys (plus a friend here or there) the Fulford team did exactly that. During the course of the evening we heard:
- Matt & Megan explain the skills & traits Dig Leaders need
- David describe how useful Youtube Edu can be 4 students & staff
- Sam & Jakub (Y7) outline how Skype can be used to connect peoples together in the classroom
- The Lady Lumleys teams explain how AND why DLs were set up and what they have achieved so far and what a marvellous communication and connection tool Edmodo is.
- Adam explain how effective learning requires authentic examples. Also using actionscript develops a logical mind
- Peter give us chapter & verse on the advantages of cloud computing by showing the game he created
- Ethan remind us of the foundations of computer science & the debt we owe to Alan Turing
- Mikey explain how technologies can help reintegrate those somehow distanced from learning opportunities
(Hope I didn’t miss anyone!)
And this all done from a stage in front of an audience of 150(?) attendees! I wonder what skills these capable people (I almost wrote ‘young,’ but is that even relevant?) have developed during the preparations for this event? And how they developed personally? To me *that’s* the value a school adds; not the number of points someone is shunted up some league table or other.
They’re thinking of organising another. Where do I sign up?!
Naacely does it. March 11, 2012Posted by ianinsheffield in CPD, Inspiration.
Tags: #naace12, conference, CPD, naace, teachmeet
Attended the Naace Conference for the first time today, albeit just the final day of what had been a three day conference. Have to say there was an enticingly extensive set of sessions from which to choose, so spoilt for choice, here’s what I experienced in chronological order:
“BYOD” – delivering ICT to students’ own devices reliably, securely and effectively. Given our plans for exploring the affordances of BYOD, it would have been remiss for me to miss this session. Well actually no! I neglected to spot it was a sponsored session and as such proved little more than a sales pitch for Meru Networks, but that was my fault (I’d forgotten my specs and was struggling to read the programme!)
Leon Cych (@eyebeams) provided some case studies of how social media are being used in schools and the strategies employed to enable the school to be comfortable in their use. In addition Leon introduced the Social Media for Schools service which aims to connect senior leaders across schools making use of social media and thereby enable interesting practice to be shared.
“A mobile in the classroom isn’t a distraction, it’s a teaching and learning tool.” Kevin McLaughlin (@kvnmcl) allowed us some hands on time with a variety of mobile devices as he extolled their virtues, suggesting the balance should tip in favour of potential that they offer to enhance student learning, rather than possible problems they may cause.
“Rethinking CPD – Exploring the Vital In-House PDP Model.” Peter Twining brought us up to date with the work Vital have been undertaking over the past couple of years, what factors make for good CPD and how their new model delivers that.
From there I was able to catch the tail end of the panel session discussing whether the fundamental model of school education which has been in place for decades, will still be relevant in twenty years’ time. I actually dropped in where the point was made that the formal examination system is driving much of what is done and that it has an unduly significant influence. Whilst agreeing with that general principle, Ollie Bray also observed that there are many schools succeeding in being innovative in their approach, thereby suggesting that exam culture needn’t drive all that we do. I wish I’d been there for the whole session and I guess that was part of the problem for me – an embarrassment of riches from which to choose.
The morning and conference proper closed, but we moved into the afternoon over lunch and a chat with some familiar and friendly faces, then on to TeachMeet Naace to enjoy an incredibly eclectic series of presentations:
- @theokk talking about scoop.it as a way of curating useful web content and offering invites for accounts
- @edintheclouds wanting to ‘engage the rest.’ i.e. those not at TeachMeet who perhaps don’t access PLNs.
- @lordlangley describing a collaborative Kindle project in which the devices were used to share and read student-written chapters of stories.
- @boydon1967 whizzed through how eTwinning enables teachers to collaborate across countries.
- @advisorymatters described the AdMission project and “ambient” advertising
- @grumbledook – how to plan your broadband provision using the toolkit developed by the Schools Broadband Working Group.
- @Teknoteacher explained how to fire up the minds of tomorrow’s coders through Hack to the Future.
- @milesberry asked his trainee teachers Why teach ICT? And the degree to which their findings correlated with those of dICTatEd.
- @digitalmaverick described how using ‘live’ data from the Fantasy league to made spreadsheet work more meaningful.
- @bevevans described how important it is to give SEN pupils (and any others!) choice in what they use to support their learning and using technology that is appropriate to their needs.
- @stevebunce showed us how to knit … and how similar that was to learning about computers.
- @kvnmcl exhorted us to throw out the 3 step teaching model and our lesson plans and try something new.
I learned during the morning that for CPD to be effective, it needs to be strategic, relevant, enquiry-based, sustainable, reflective, involve collaboration with peers and require findings to be shared.
I think the £50 my school spent of getting me to the conference was probably money well spent. All the morning sessions (and some of the TM presentations) were related to points in our school ICT development plans and school strategic plan. All the presentations were relevant for me; everything and anything related to ICT in school matters and informs my thinking one way or another. The morning sessions in particular were somewhat enquiry-based in that I could explore areas of interest with the presenters and indeed could extend that enquiry by discussing with my peers over coffee and lunch. And finally here I am sharing and being reflective.
What might I have changed? With hindsight I might have opted for different morning sessions in some cases and I’m sure I would have found the panel sessions challenge my thinking. As for the TeachMeet, my only criticism is one I and others have mentioned before and that’s that I’d welcome the opportunity to ask questions of the presenter immediately after their delivery. A couple of minutes extra perhaps? I know we have their contact details and can follow things up later, but sometimes things just pop into your head … and then a short while later are gone. Or perhaps that’s just my age?
ASETeachMeet … Back to the Future … and meeting a hero! November 23, 2011Posted by ianinsheffield in Inspiration, Teaching Idea.
Tags: ASE, Inspiration, professional development, science, teachmeet
Having taught Physics for 20 years, the majority in the days pre-Internet, the Association for Science Education (ASE) was one of the main ways in which I was able to draw inspiration and ideas from enthusiastic and knowledgeable colleagues. When the local regional group posted about a TeachMeet they were to hold in Sheffield, how could I turn down the opportunity to revisit my past, even if only for an evening?
A TeachMeet with a very different focus from previous ones I have enjoyed then; one where the theme was firmly in a curriculum area, rather than around ICT and its affordances … well apart from my contribution obviously! What would it be like? Well, neither micro- nor nano-presentations were the order of the day; the presentation length was set at 5 minutes (if memory serves, there isn’t a prefix between μ and n!). More PowerPoints than at other TeachMeets and no camel! But then the latter wasn’t needed since, being scientists, these folks aren’t given to flights of fancy and know all about time (and relative dimensions in space!).
What did I learn? As always – LOADS! Including, but not exclusively:
- Having not seen it (yet!), that there’s a whole terms work around the science to be found in the film “Avatar.”
- About the wealth of resources available through STEM, to turn our students on to science.
- About Darton College‘s mission into space … on a budget!
- The Science Without Walls professional development opportunities for science teachers, linking with research scientists at the cutting edge.
- A real demo. illustrating the usually difficult to envisage concept of earthing.
So in some ways, very different to a ‘conventional TeachMeet, if indeed there is such a thing. And that’s a good thing – evolution. But what it had in common with all the others was the warmth of welcome, the supportive and encouraging atmosphere and above all else, committed, passionate and enthusiastic practitioners.
I also go a bonus, finding out right at the end that I’d been sitting next to a hero I had for most of my teaching career. Someone I’d never met, but who’s work I’d read avidly in each copy of the School Science Review and from whom I drew much inspiration for my teaching – Geoff Auty, now editor of the SSR. Thanks Geoff for all the great ideas you gave me and doubtless many others.
And finally, in case anyone who was found anything of use in my humble offering, here is the presentation with links to the resources (bottom left of certain slides).
Resources for #tmeast February 5, 2011Posted by ianinsheffield in CPD, Resources, Teaching Idea.
Tags: #tmeast, bookr, CPD, livebinder, podcast, professional development, start.io, teachmeet
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A post simply to bring together the resources I’m looking forward to using at TeachMeet East in Norwich tomorrow (or if you’re reading this after the event, … at Teachmeet in Norwich yesterday/last week/last month … this could go on some while!)
7 minutes, 7 ideas, 7 tools for supporting student voice
LiveBinder of links, ideas and support materials
Hope you find something useful and if you have a question, by all means ask away in the comments below.
And if you are (were?) at #tmeast and didn’t get the chance to reply to the poll question, click here.