“A Beginner’s Mindset”. My Reflections from the Apple Leadership Summit.

January saw the annual Apple Leadership Summit return to London and was attended by school leaders across Europe. Held at Kings Place alongside BETT in the same week, the event had a great buzz surrounding technology’s place in education, across all age groups and school types.

Primary schools were well represented this year, with guest speakers from the Stephen Perce Foundation and Flitch Green Academy. Apple Distinguished Educators gave spotlights, workshops and break-out sessions throughout the day, offering real examples of how iPad enhances the lessons and objectives that we all teach. Participation was key and workshops were practical.

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As well as teacher, Apple Distinguished Educator and school spotlights, the Summit included workshops and keynotes focusing on leading change, sharing vision and project management.

“Open Minds”

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Nottinghamshire County Council iPad Networks

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This academic year is already shaping up to be a great one with many exciting projects planned for my class already. Some of these I have blogged about already but today I want to write about the iPad Networks for Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC) schools.

During the Summer Term last year I began talks with consultants at NCC about the possibility of running a specific training program for schools in the district with iPads. I have worked closely with the ICT team over the last 2 years, delivering workshops, presentations and drop-in sessions around my use of iPad in school.

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Back to Blogging – sharing the vision and seeing the impact.

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When starting my new school in September, the mission was to turn the school around and promote the great things that happen inside our school. We are half way through the school year now and the work that we done so far has been incredible. Rapid progress is being made and the school feels like a completely different place than it did when I went to look around nearly a year ago.

We are very proud of what we have achieved so far.

Back in November I shared my vision for developing class blogs with head teachers and deputies at a school leadership conference in Nottinghamshire. My presentation was all about what could be achieved by blogging- I had only just started when I ran this workshop. I explained the upcoming requirements of the new computing curriculum and that e-safety and responsible internet use needs to be taught from Year 1. I suggested that blogs embeds this in the school ethos and regular blogging promotes responsible online behaviour.

This week everything fell in to place neatly, and the impact blogs have had on our learning environment and parental involvement has been phenomenal. It has only been 5 days.

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TeachMeet Nottingham has launched! #tmnott

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Following the success of Tom Barrett’s TeachMeets for the Midlands and Nottingham, I am pleased to be hosting a follow up TeachMeet event for Nottingham and the East Midlands.

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Sign up for Tickets here

Tom Barrett has been working hard to secure a new home for TeachMeet Nottingham, and has found a venue at The University of Nottingham’s Jubilee Campus (Learning Sciences Research Institute). Tom’s vision for TeachMeet Nottingham is a smaller scale, more manageable event which doesn’t rely on sponsorship or equipment hire. This partnership with LSRI is perfect, and the venue is resourced with state of the art facilities, such as the capability to stream online coverage of the event.

Pete and I are very excited about organising this event and we look forward to welcoming as many teachers and students as possible on the night. If you are a TeachMeet regular, we are challenging you to bring a TeachMeet Newbie with you. This will help to promote TeachMeet as an alternative to Continual Professional Development. Those of you will be attending for the first time will be overwhelmed by the variety of resources, ideas and strategies shared by real teachers in classrooms around the Midlands.

We advise you to bring your smart phone, iPad, tablet, NetBook or laptop along in order to record all of the ideas shared. TeachMeets are rapid and topics move fast with the 7 minute and 2 minute presentations from attendees, so be ready to take lots of notes. If you are on Twitter, you can follow our TeachMeet hashtag before, during and after the event (#tmnott). As the event is streamed live online, you can interact with viewers from around the world and also those in the room with you! Lots of interesting discussion occurs during and after the event so will want to be involved in this, it’s when the best learning happens!

Both Pete and myself understand that in our profession there is a blurred line between work/life balance, and we are aware that this event takes place on a Friday night until 9pm. Please, don’t let this put you off! TeachMeets are now are crucial aspect of our continual professional development and with challenges faced with budgets and workload in school, it is essential that we build our own professional learning networks so that best practises can be shared outside of our Local Authorities and schools.

“After attending, and being inspired at, a number of TeachMeets over the past year, I’ve decided to take part in the organising and running of TeachMeet Nottingham. TeachMeet offers ‘those in the field’ chance to share and evaluate ideas with like minded people in a friendly and relaxed environment. The content of peoples’ presentations are so varied that there will always be something relevant to your own practice. I’ve never left a TeachMeet without my head being filled with ideas and resources to try out with my class.”

 Peter Bevington (@PeteBevington)

Tom Barrett also started the first TeachMeet 100 at the last TeachMeet Nottingham. We will continue this format of sharing. During the event you will be asked to write down simple ideas, advice or resources which have been successful to you as a teacher. This can be anything you have enjoyed using in your class!  These will be gathered on post-it notes and displayed in the room for us all to share at the end (it’s like Twitter, but with paper and pen!)

Please visit our TeachMeet Nottingham wiki to sign up for tickets and we will see you on the night!

Jan Dubiel’s Lecture "A New Landscape? Exploring the Implications of the Early Years Review

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On Saturday 10th March, the same day as the NAACE TeachMeet in Leicester, Derbyshire County Council also held a big event for their Derbyshire Early Years settings at the University of Derby. I was lucky enough to be invited to attend this with Tiny Tots Day Nursery to showcase a range of ICT equipment and demonstrate the appropriateness of Games Based Learning in Early Years settings. This blog post is one of two, here I will reflect on the Keynote Lecture given by Jan Dubiel which focuses on Curriculum change in Early Years. My second blog will provide links and advice based on the discusses I had with visitors to the workshop I featured in.

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Thinking Outside of the X Box

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My partnership with European Electronique has encouraged a lot discussion and research in to the possibilities of using game console hardware beyond the box they come in. I have seen Raymond Chambers (@lanky_boi_ray) speak and followed his blog for a year or so. Ray uses the Kinect Camera with a laptop and creates his own apps for secondary students to use in his ICT lessons. After many chats with Ray he has kindly produced a spelling app based on Letters and Sounds for my class.

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Poster: Starting a Twitter Account

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Using Twitter has become one of the most valuable tools I use for planning and learning. I have ‘met’ so many inspirational teachers through Twitter who have impacted on my classroom by debating educational issues with me, providing other strategies for teaching and through commenting on my Class Blog.

Teachers on Twitter have given me confidence in my NQT year when I’ve had those moments that start with a thought like ‘Am I doing this right…?’.

What has also been brillliant about Twitter and networking is it’s usefulness in promoting TeachMeet. Before and after a TeachMeet, teachers on Twitter share their ideas and reflections. TeachMeet has also allowed me to meet up with the teachers who I tweet with.

Twitter has also filled that gap that university and teacher training left behind. I have missed those conversations with lecturers and other students about what they are doing in school. Twitter has provided me with even richer debates and discussions through #ukedchat. There are so many people who I could have added to the ‘Folks to Follow First’ text on the poster, there just isn’t enough space!

(@ideas_factory, @peter_obrien1, @kvnmcl, @johnmclear, @NoTosh should all be on the poster too)

For me, the question isn’t ‘Why do I need to be on Twitter?’. It’s more like ‘Why are you not on Twitter?’.

Sent from my iPad