Archive for March, 2011

An Amazing Start to the Year!

March 6, 2011

What a busy six weeks it has been since the beginning of 2011… and what an incredible number of learning adventures I have experienced!

SUNDAY 9th January
The Sunday Service @ Learning without Frontiers was the first amazing event I attended. It was part of the LWF festival and was free to attend. It was even better this year as many people brought their children with them and there was a real buzz in the air!

I started the day watching a presentation by Dr Jo Armitage, Adviser for E-Learning in Hounslow and Sarah Hoyle – Creative Director of Together We Create talking about the Hounslow ‘Hold on to Sports’ Wii project which my class took part in last year and are again this year.

I then had the pleasure to meet and listen to a real hero of mine in the world of iPods, Jenny Ashby @jjash from Victoria, Australia. If you’re interested in using iPod Touches and/or iPads in the classroom then I highly recommend you read her blog.

Next on my list of must sees was Tony Vincent, another guru in the world of iPods, leading There’s an App for That. Anybody can present their favorite App but they have just twenty slides displayed for 20 seconds each for a total time of 6 minutes and 40 seconds. That’s the formula for Pecha Kucha! Fast and Furious app sharing! It was truly an amazing two and a half hours!

It was then time for TeachMeet LWF2011 where it was brilliant to listen to truly inspirational teachers such as @DeputyMitchell, @oliverquinlan, @grumbledook and @dawnhallybone (with a virtual presentation from @bevevans22) talking about what they are doing in their classrooms. I was lucky to be able to do a presentation about how we used iPod touches to write Lune poems. (see previous post).

The day (or night!) had not ended yet… it was now time for the Sunday Social and the opportunity to relax and enjoy the company of many of my Twitter buddies as well as wishing Graham Brown-Martin (founder of Learning Without Frontiers) a Happy Birthday! It was great having the chance to sit and chat and have conversations of more than 140 characters! One of the best chats I had was with fabulous Tim Rylands and Sarah Neild but more of that in another post!
Finally it was time for home, bed and a day at work!

MONDAY 10th January
Monday night brought another trip to London to attend The LWF Awards for Hero Innovators & Innovations for Learning. I was incredibly honoured (and shocked!!) to have been shortlisted in the Inclusion category. A huge, huge thank you to everyone who took the time to cast a vote for me! Here is the shortlist of finalists and the a list of the winners. Though I did not win on the night I agree 100% with @tonyparkin…’Getting shortlisted IS success – it’s like the Oscars!’

It really was like an Oscars ceremony… Maggie Phibin, of Tomorrow’s World fame, was the presenter for the evening and entertained us with questions and clips from the show. (How great if it could be brought back – repeats would be great!) One of my dearest friends-Valerie, my headteacher and Jo Armitage came to celebrate with me and made it an evening that I’ll always remember.

THURSDAY 13th January
Thursday night brought my first visit to BETT2011 to attend Collabor8 4Change the brainchild of Dave Smith and Terry Freedman. It was 20 minute table sessions which showed examples of how ICT is used to develop classroom practice. I was thrilled to be invited by @andreacarr1, head of Rising Stars, to talk about how I am using eBooks in my class and the positive impact they are having on the children’s attitude towards reading.

FRIDAY 14th January
Friday started with a BETTMeetBreakfast where a group of us met up for breakfast before heading back to Olympia for another full on day. If you’ve never been…BETT is HUGE and, at least for me, impossible to ever find where you want to be. After spending far too long looking for a seminar about using iPads to create ebooks and missing it :o( I did manage to get to @DeputyMitchell seminar where he talked about how blogging transformed writing at his school. As brilliant as it was to hear him the best part for me was listening to the pupils talking about their experiences. Even more exciting and fascinating was watching one particular boy prior to speaking looking nervous and then confidently standing up in front of a crowed room of adults and in an extremely articulate manner explaining why all children should have the chance to blog. Seriously brilliant!

The rest of the day was spent having a good look round BETT and even more useful was catching up with and having great talks with people from Twitter and PTRC.

The evening ended with TMBETT2011 and a yummy dinner at Pizza Express. An incredible busy but fabulous day!

Sathurday 15th January
Back up to BETT again for a last look around and more people to catch up with and another Pizza Express visit for lunch.

The rest of January reverted back to normal….phew needed the rest :o)

February
@lismiss
mentioned my name to Computers in Education Society of Ireland CESI and I was invited to Ireland to present at their Irish TeachMeet…what a great honour and experience. THANK YOU!!!!
On the 1st Friday in February I flew to Dublin to attend the CESI Meet 2011 in Portlaoise (the Irish version of TeachMeet) and to then go to the CESI conference on the Saturday where Tom Barrett @tombarrett made the opening keynote presentation – you can read about it here on his blog. What an unbelievable weekend!!

I talked about some of the ways my class have been using iPod Touches and what an incredible motivator they are and how they are impacting on the children’s learning.

What a brilliant opportunity to meet with Irish educators and share and exchange ideas. If you have a chance to attend this engaging conference I highly recommend it! I hope to blog about some of the ideas I heard about in the near future. (My Evernote notes from the weekend seem to have been deleted so I am searching to find the names and links I collected over the weekend)

and just to draw this most incredible time to a close I spent last Monday in Cardiff at the 1st ever BESD2BEST conference which brought together 7 EBD schools from Cardiff and South Wales. What a brilliant day!!! and how fabulous to spend time with other people working in similar settings as mine. I don’t get this opportunity very often.

The conference was the brain child of Peter Owen from The Court School and I was introduced to him by @karencymru. It was great having the chance to run a workshop and share some of the ways I have found iPod touches have impacted on my class’s engagement and outcomes particularly in Literacy. I look forward to returning for the 2012 event.

What a truly brilliant start to 2011!!!!

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