It’s been a crazy 10 days or so since the Teacher2Teacher conference in Canada and I’ve only now had a chance to sit down and put down some thoughts about the event.
I landed in Calgary on the Tuesday evening after a 9 hour flight from London. I spent the evening with an old friend who lives in downtown Calgary. She also happens to be a kickass dance teacher and choreographer, so if you have any contacts in the dance world, go visit her site! I found out that three pints of Alexander Keiths IPA and half a bottle of red wine don’t help counter the dehydration from a 9 hour flight! Oopps.
On Wednesday I drove down to Lethbridge, making a detour to see the Okotoks Big Rock – a glacial erratic. We meant to see this in the Summer when we came over, but forgot. It’s leant it’s name to the Big Rock Brewery who made some very fine beers. It was a very big rock. I wouldnt have made a special journey to see it.. but as a 20 min detour it was OK.
As a brit I am not used to looooong straight roads….. especially not with so little traffic on it. Makes the drive much easier A far cry from the M25 around London which I seem to spend most of my time on back home.
I never tired of seeing the mountains…
In Lethbridge I met with two groups of teachers at the School District Office. One of the companies I train for in the UK – Espresso Education, are trialling their resources in the Prairie Rose District plus a few other schools in the locality. As a Espresso trainer, I was asked to deliver an introductory session in what Espresso is and how it can be used. The session went very well and it was great to meet such a nice bunch of staff. I forgot St Patricks day was such a big deal in N. America, and I was the only person not wearing green it seemed. I was in my purple Espresso top.. I looked like I hadn’t recieved the memo. (In England we rarely do anything for our own patron saint St George…)
Espresso session out of the way, it was time to make the short (ish) drive across to Medicine Hat to meet the other trainers who would be at the conference. Was a fantastic meal that evening – I don’t think I’ve ever seen steaks that big (and that well cooked!)
Thursday morning was the first day of the conference. What impressed me the most was the sheer number of teachers who were attending. I had no idea just how big the conference was, I think I had imagined something a little smaller – but there were apparently over 400 teachers on day one, and a similar number on day 2.
My first session was Smartboards and High School Science, which was a slight niche market, so I only had about 10-15 people attending. But after that, every session was totally full, which was very pleasing. Some people even came to more than one of my sessions, which was very nice to see. I obviously hadn’t put them off in the first session. I did have to apologise that a lot of the jokes would be the same! I also only once called the eraser a rubber by accident.. which was good.
It was great to meet so many of the trainers who I had corresponded and bounced ideas via blogs and twitter over the last 18 months or so. There were so many great people running training sessions it was hard to keep up.
A few photographic highlights:
I also need to make a special mention for Pinto McBean, the giant bean who stands in the heart of Bow Island. It’s not every day I include a giant Pinto bean in my driving directions…
Apologies to the Techchicks for making them sit through Eddie Izzard on the long drive back to Calgary But there must have been a DeathStar canteen right? Glad you had a good time up the Calgary Tower!
I was also able to grab a few days in Calgary before the flight home. This gave me a chance to visit Flames Central and watch a hockey game (Flames lost), and head out to Banff for the day to see some mountains It was interesting to see the places that I had visited in the Summer, but all frozen – such as Lake Minnewanka and Lac Des Arcs. I really need to get back to Canada again and this time bring my skis.
You can find the presentation for the Digital resources copied here for users of any whiteboard.
I had a great time at the conference – and it was wonderful to see so many enthusiastic educators giving up their time to learn more ways to teach using new technology. Kudos to Dave Blemings and his team for putting on such a great conference, and for making myself and the other speakers feel so welcome. Thanks Dave, and I hope to see everyone again next March.
I had an absolute blast at the Teacher2Teacher conference in Bow Island, Alberta this week. It was fantastic to meet so many great educators who up until now I had only contacted via Twitter. There was such a great buzz around the school – it was brilliant.
I’ll write more about the conference soon – but for now, I just want to put this post up quickly because I told the delegates I would.
(EDIT – I’ve taken these files down for now…. If you attended the conference you can still get them via the Prairie Rose file area)
Links to the websites I mentioned in the sessions were all tagged with the T2T tag on delicious, so you can find them all here : http://delicious.com/dannynic/t2t
Thanks to the everyone involved in the conference for making me feel so welcome! Hope to see you next year too!Read More
The first few weeks of January are always conference season for me. I start with the Association for Science Education (ASE) Conference and then its BETT, the ICT conference. It’s very interesting to compare the two different approaches.
At the ASE the main focus is on the free workshops and seminars running over the few days. It’s held at a university and there are hundreds of different talks going on every day. Anyone can give a talk – you just need to sign up in advance to get put into the conference guide. You can sign up for some courses, but on the whole you just look through the booklet on the morning of the conference, see who’s on, and just turn up and listen.
There is also a trade tent where companies exhibit – but the main focus of the conference is to go and listen/take part in the lectures and seminars. I learn some great stuff every year that I pass on to my students and colleagues.
When I worked at Cornwallis School, we used to take the whole Science dept to the ASE as our main CPD fix for the year. We’d fund it through running an INSET day for teachers in other schools – and use the money to fund Friday cover (and give up our Saturday) so we could attend. We’d hit as many workshops as we could and then share everything back to each other at the next staff meeting. It was great.
At BETT the main focus is on the trade fair, (or at least it has been up to now). There are a few “keynote” seminars and talks going on – but I have never been compelled to attend any of them. There are also talks going on at many of the big stands – with salespeople talking about X or Y that their product can do. I tended to go to BETT to see what was new – to network with old friends who work on various stands and to try and get demo disks of useful software.
The focus of the ASE was really about learning and sharing. The focus of BETT is about selling. Now I don’t blame them for that – the companies attending BETT are charged an arm and a leg for attending. Even the tiny stands cost thousands, and extra if you want things such as power or internet.. So yes they have to maximise their bang for their buck. But there are some expensive things on show, that aren’t really what’s needed right now. Yes it looks flashy – but do we really need a 3D screen?
But there’s a shift happening. The Teachmeet model has begun to change what BETT was all about for me and with the three big fringe events on the evenings of BETT plus Teachmeet Takeover, there was a real shift of focus. It felt a little more like a conference, and less like a trade fair.
Teachmeet Takeover was a brilliant idea. Companies would agree to give up part of their stand time to teachers and educators to share some of the excellent things that were going on actually in their classrooms. Totally unrelated to the product on sale on that particular stand (most of the time). I caught a few of the talks going on through Thursday and Friday, and it was great to see how well-attended they were, despite the difficulty in promoting it to the masses – most of which had no idea these events were taking place.
The speakers at TEDxOrenda were inspiring. The talk that went on at AmplifiED was excellent. And the evening Teachmeet event on the Friday was amazing as always. I nagged a couple of friends to make the time to attend and they were amazed at the buzz in the room. It was packed with over 200 people. And the vibe of educators teaching educators, sharing what they’ve done and getting new ideas from others, was excellent. There wasn’t a sales pitch all night – the sponsors logos were there (and many thanks to them for supporting the three nights) but there was no hard sell.
It was all about what any education show should be about – Teaching and Learning.
This year, the Fringe was where it’s at. They were something I looked forward to attending – and I learnt stuff too. Thanks to everyone who took part in organising it – Tom Barrett, Drew Buddie, Leon Cych amongst many others. To the sponsors such as EMAP and others (see list here) for funding it – and to everyone who spoke and attended. It was a blast.
Here’s hoping for more of the same next year – maybe bigger and better!
On similar lines, also read :
- I was wrong last year. BETT is where it’s at, but not where you think
- My Reflections on Teachmeet Takeover
BrainPopUK made a great video which explains what a TeachMeet is:
This video was shown at last night’s TEDxOrenda event at BETT last night. I thought it was pretty inspirational. Kiran Bir Sethi shows how her groundbreaking Riverside School in India teaches kids life’s most valuable lesson: “I can.” Watch her students take local issues into their own hands, lead other young people, even educate their parents.
And if they can do it… you can do it!Read More
I’m just back from a very snowy Nottingham having attended the ASE (Association for Science Education) Conference.
I gave a talk about Blogs and Wikis in Science Teaching and wanted to share the presentation, and resources here, so that they can be found all in one place.
The presentation is here on Slideshare if you want to download your own version. All the links to the various blogs and wikis that I showed should work straight from the slides if you click on them.
The Wiki that I set up for the course, with all the links to everything else, is here. There are lots of other guides and helpsheets I didn’t mention, which you can find on the wiki.
In addition, if you want to set up your own blog or wiki then follow these step by step guides:
It was great to see everyone who attended the talk. Apologies if it was a little rushed, but there is a lot to cram into an hour. I usually do this in a one-day course. If you would like a longer course, run at your own school, then please get in touch.Read More
It is alomst that time of year again when London Olympia plays host to the annual ICT in education event that is the BETT Show. And jike last year TeachMeet BETT is taking place again this year on the Friday night, between 6.00pm and 9.00pm, in the APEX room.
We have been very fortunate that the organising body behind BETT – EMAP – offered the TeachMeet community 3 consecutive nights for free in the APEX room. The proposed events are as follows:
- Wednesday 13th January 2010 - TedX Orenda (Independently organised TED event)
- Thursday 14th January 2010 – AmpEd (Amplified event)
- Friday 15th January 2010 – TeachMeet
More details on the Wednesday and Thursday events to follow, but from what I have heard from talking to one of the guys involved in organising them, they will be quite special and a different format to the Teachmeet concept.
Teachmeet, of course, will be on the Friday night and you can sign up now at the TeachMeet wiki here. I’ll be going along as an enthusiastic lurker. If you have been doing good stuff in your classroom, then why not sign up for a mini-talk? We’d love to hear what you are doing.Read More
If you are a teacher in the Kent/Sussex regions then you really should consider attending TeachMeet SuKe early next term.
It’s taking place in Tonbridge, Kent on Friday 18th September from 7pm.
Like other Teachmeets it’s the usual mix of short presentations by teachers using technology in their classrooms. It’s a great chance to see what other teachers are doing – and maybe even share what you have done too!
You can find out more, and sign up, at the TeachMeet Wiki here.
Hope to see you there!Read More
Just a little bit of advance notice, and some exciting news for me! If you are in or near Alberta, Canada next March then I will be speaking at the Teacher2Teacher conference on 18th and 19th March 2010.
I’m very excited about it since I don’t get to do too many conferences abroad plus I have a real soft spot to Canada (I’m actually heading to Calgary for my Summer holidays later this year). My Canadian friends have advised me to bring my thermals as it may be rather chilly in March.
I haven’t decided what talks I will be giving yet, but they will definitely be IWB-related (and more likely Smartboards).
If you are interested in the conference, you can find out more here: www.teacher2teacher.ca plus you can pre-register.
Hope to see some of you next March!Read More
If you are in London on 19th June, and have an interest in teacher blogging, then the MirandaMod Blogging conference may well be something you should attend.
It’s a free event held at the Institute of Education in London.
There are three parts to this participative CPD experience. Participants can attend all three to gain a wide overview of blogging, or just one or two of the sessions. The aim is to conclude with a collaborative resource that will help other teachers to understand the blogging landscape.