Well a busy couple of days down at Loughborough University- a superb conference venue for all sorts of reasons. Day one was the ICT Register Focus Schools meeting, always a great meeting- I don't go to another meeting where there so many movers and shakers from schools who 'walk the walk' not just 'talk the talk' like so many at 'policy makers' meetings do (who if they ever did teach in a school it was pre-internet if not pre ICT!)
The Focus Schools represent all phases, primary, secondary, special schools, CLCs and there's so much expertise in one room its quite inspiring, certainly a big part of my network for where I get my ideas and support from.
The SSAT ICT team presented bold and ambitious plans for the future, which were great to see- the influence the community of practitioners will have to inspire and support other schools is set to increase and this model of school to school support,certainly one of SSAT's original key planks, in a post-quango environment really has the potential to have the influence is should have. Watch our for developments via SSAT's new iCPD brand.
The Showcase the day after is a great little event, perhaps hampered this year a little by the clash with NAACE. I know its a good event by how much I write. I tend to lapse to my old rationale I had a university; namely I'll start writing when the speaker says something worth listening to and grumpily I look forward to walking out with an empty sheet. I feel like I'm challenging the speaker to make me write.
Even more of a challenge I went to Dominic Tester's workshop on Parental Engagement which is something we've allegedly cracked with our Real Time Reporting system and I was expecting to find he was doing the same as us but I took a full page of notes there with lots of ideas to move our system on, which is just what you need when you've got a system bedded in and are starting to think what next?
Dominic (@dtester) and Costello Technology College are certainly ones to watch and have the likes of us and Simon Thompson from Monkseaton as 'old hands' on our toes! Dominic's is a SIMS school using Frog VLE to share the data and get the web2.0 tools going, a great solution- many SIMS schools look at our Serco Facility system with home-made Joomla portal and Moodle integration and say that's all very good but SIMS isn't like that and we don't have your techies.
My presentation on Next Generation Learning went down well. I did a rather fast paced tour of our 'Virtual School' including our own Parental Engagement, some of our nice work with Moodle, Joomla and Mahara- quite a few hadn't realised how good Open Source tools are. Thanks to Becta for making the film on our Moodle work that makes my presentations look good now
I had a bit of fun about 'the mobile phone debacle' (Showing some of the 'readers' rants' on the Daily Mail website after I was dragged through the press for having the audacity to suggest students own devices have untapped potential is the easiest way to get laughs) and some serious thoughts about how we've got to get over ourselves and start exploiting the mobile devices sat in kids bags. This article in the TES is where to go for a balance view of the story and some more informed readers' opinions like that from @bobharrisonset.
I didn't have time to go into detail on one thing, but by trying to give a holistic over-view of school improvement through ICT was the aim with the offer to follow up with anyone who contacts me later- and already I've been answering emails from people on things I hadn't thought were crucial, like our on-line IT support desk, so the idea of covering as much as you can and let the audience decide what's relevant to them was a good one.
To view my presentation (showcase 3) and others from the day click here .