Educational leadership & learning

#Techmeet

The power of collaborative professional learning through free sharing was to the fore again in Bournemouth on October the 15th, in the form of #Techmeet.

Two key points resonated for me throughout the whole session.

  1. The vital importance of carefully choosing the right technology to enhance learning (not just to be used as often as possible for its own sake)
  2. The need for staff to have time to play and trial different technologies. This was clear the night before at my Computing staff development meeting. Engagement and interest definitely increased when we had an APPtastic play with some new Apps

Organised by @blueprintteach and @JennaLucas81, ably supported by Agile ICT there were lots of teachers sharing ideas and resources. Below is a brief overview of some of the presentations.

First up Ryan Fletcher shared some uses of iPads. He talked about his preference for using them due to the speed and interactivity.
He demonstrated Air server which enables any iPad to be shown up on the IWB.
He then showed two Apps to use related to augmented reality (AR): Aurasma & Quiver.

Next there was a presentation about the benefits of training up Digital Leaders.
They are able to advise pupils and staff; trial new Apps and software, can be involved in real decisions re. technology in the school; save time and it builds their responsibility and confidence.
They develop their ability to communicate with others, need to be approachable and have personal/social qualities, be trustworthy and reliable.
In the most empowered form of the role they can help shape school IT policy: a great example of the impact of Pupil Voice.

Impero next spoke about E.safety, and how it is a key part of the Safeguarding umbrella of responsibilities.
They advocated not just blocking everything, but that it is key to educate pupils on risks and safe behaviours. This is becoming more and more important given the easy access younger children have to the internet through iPads and smartphones.
There need to be clear policies and procedures in place to promote the safe use of IT.
Classroom control / e.safety / network management.

The next speaker demonstrated how to make unique passwords through remembering a personal algorithm. If like me you have dozens of different passwords for different systems, how do you remember them all, how do you record them safely to refer to. With a personal algorithm it’s not necessary.
An example that was shared was:  first number of the date of your birth, followed by the second last letter of the site, then the initials of a favourite band/your family or a colour or house name, followed by the second letter of the site. Probably best not to use this exact algorithm, but by having a system that will be slightly different for each site, they should all be memorable and safe.

LEGO Education. I got very excited at this point, as I had been seeing some of the demonstrations at their stall.
LE provides active, collaborative, problem solving learning activities. Using Lego goes through the 4 C sequence: Connect Construct Contemplate Continue.
It helps develop creativity, that there is not one right answer (as demonstrated when we all had 30 seconds to make a duck using 6 bricks. (None were the same. To be fair, mine was probably not recognisable as a duck!)
Lego Education enables the learners to develop their understanding and use of robotics with motors and sensors. Creating magical moments when models they have built can be brought to life.
It has a similar display and is compatible with Scratch.
Finally the marvellous and enthusiastic @baggiepr demonstrated the possibilities of using a Crumble Control Board.
It links well to DT and you can literally make models out of anything. This is a cheap and creative option.
Phil would recommend using it towards the top end of KS2. You can find clips of Phil demonstrating its use on YouTube.
Www.4tronix.co.uk sell alternative cheap tough crumbs or you can order the Crumble Control Boards from Redfernelectronics.

Lots of great ideas. Lots of great new avenues to explore. But I still return to the two main points for me:

  1. The vital importance of carefully choosing the right technology to enhance learning (not just to be used as often as possible for its own sake)
  2. The need for staff to have time to play and trial different technologies. This was clear the night before at my Computing staff development meeting. Engagement and interest definitely increased when we had an APPtastic play with some new Apps

 

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