When I found out I had got a place at the recent NAACE Hothouse thingy I was pretty excited, but I really did not know what to expect. I thought we might be collaborating on curriculum documents, preparing materials and/or listening to some great speakers. I am not sure it was any of those, it was just a lot of great learning squeezed into a short space of time.
From the outset let me say that I am not going to do justice to the event in one blog post, so this will form an introduction and I’ll add separate posts about other aspects over the coming days. The event itself was an intense back to back series of workshops/masterclasses and lectures for those like myself who love ICT. Alongside the formal bits there were lots of opportunities for informal learning and sharing from some brilliant people. It was great to finally meet some of the supportive colleague who I had engaged with on twitter for so long, along with some old friends too. I think these informal bits impacted me as much as the main programme, if nothing else I learned that some of the quietest people on twitter have some of the deepest banks of knowledge and ideas.
Here are just some of the people who I chatted to and learned from in some way:-
Jan Webb – Jan had built this conference from scratch (no pun intended) and along with the building of the new ICT framework, these sort of events are the direction NAACE needs to go in. This felt cutting edge for NAACE as many of the resources we had looked at were fresh and new, many of the people were emerging (but not big) names either. If NAACE is a person then this event shows him/her to be a clued up and quite maverick NQT , though many of us will have experienced it before as being closer to a rather cosy uncle in slippers and a pipe.
Cherise Duxbury – a very supportive, humble and yet inspiring teacher who shared with us about how she has been using Cover it Live to engage her class in writing. And lets face it anyone who says I look younger in real life than my avatar is worthy of a blog mention!
Sheli Blackburn – Sheli shared with me a list of apps that I had not seen before including some that would address control and programming. Sheli has been on the Ipad journey for some time and has a site full of tried and tested apps, click here to see it . I was also really inspired by her talk with Chris Mayoh and Nick Jackson on how they had furthered the Digital Leaders Movement. Sheli also blogged about the event and you can read her thoughts and some other inspiring stuff here.
Tim Handley – I have known Tim for a while and it was great to spend time with him and to learn about his school blog. On his class Blog he shares a piece of art and a piece of music each week with his readers, this has proved very successful in engaging parents and others with the school online presence.
Chris Mayoh – one of the most entertaining people I have ever met in the edtech world and one of the most interesting. He has us hanging on his every word when he talked about his experiences in the flooded town of Hepden Bridge. Chris is another teacher who has pushed the Digital leaders model further and rolled out the programme right across Bradford.
Emma Dawson – Emma or the Squiggle, took the opportunity of the evening Teachmeet to share how she had been using some quite neglected Kindles to inspire writing in her school. The kids created ebooks using Google Docs and exported these to PDFS and both they and their parents were able to read these on a Kindle. Emma always has great understated ideas like these and I look forward to what she comes up with when she gets going with Appshed.
Nick Jackson – Nick talked with massive energy and enthusiasm about how he had taken the digital leader model into a secondary environment, you began to see how crucial this approach really is. He also took us through how to use Robomind, after he had tried it out successfully with pupils in Key Stage 2.
Throughout the two days there were perhaps two key themes that were woven into the discussions and talks, though not phrased in the way I have below:
- How can we teach children to code/ programme in an engaging and accessible way?
In order to address this we looked and listened to presentations on a range of applications, notably Scratch, Python, Robomind to name but a few.
- What does a third millennium school look like ( i.e. one that successfully fuses good to outstanding teaching with appropriate technology).
It was good to see presentations and videos from schools who had successfully received a Third Millenium award for their work with ICT and one such school was Redbridge’s own Gearies Infants. My former colleague Val Barker was there to talk about her work with Dan Lea on their ground breaking work with younger learners. You can see their video below:
Overall an excellent couple of days and as part of the remit for attending was to demonstrate impact I will do my best to share both with my school and readers of this blog all that have learned. It might just take a while!
- The Future of ICT in Schools [RadioWaves Interview] #Naace12 (olliebray.typepad.com)
- Best web resources for coding/programming newbies (eskills4future.wordpress.com)