Thursday, October 27, 2011

Microsoft Partners in Learning Opportunities for Teachers

o There are  rich learning opportunities available from the private sector . Through the DIVA Partnership we've been lucky to work with a lot of innovative organisations that genuinely want to make the learning experience better for teachers and learners. In last three weeks  I've been pushing this event and the broader Partners in Learning activities through our corporate channels and out to our partner organisations  -it is  hard to believe that it is eight years since we started working with many of our vendor partners. Through  this and other programmes ;  there are on-line  communities,  competitions that give  classroom teachers  the  opportunity to get fantastic staff development and to work with a global peer group.  In 2009 staff from Calderglen High School among others got all the  way to Brazil 

      I  sometimes get a bid fed up with some of the nae sayers who frankly treat development opportunities like this with an  unjustified contempt.  There is a challenge and that is getting all the teachers in Scotland to know about these superb opportunities and not just those on twitter.  Folks should know about this opportunity and those from a host of other organisations. 

Partners in Learning Forum UK 2011

The 8th Microsoft UK Partners in Learning Forum is a one-day conference, free of charge to all teachers and educators who wish to attend. The workshops and keynotes this year have a STEM ‘flavour’ and address the theme of ‘Teach more, learn more, inspire more.’
This year the Forum is being held at the Microsoft Headquarters, Thames Valley Park in Reading on the 24th Nov 2011.


We have a rich agenda that includes as Keynote speakers, the world renowned Ian Livingstone OBE, Life President ofEidos , Alex Bellos, the author of the popular science bookAlex's Adventures in Numberland and Ollie Bray, the National Adviser for Emerging Technologies at Education Scotland
In addition, delegates will be able to choose from a range of workshops. I would suggest that you sign up as soon as possible as places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

Using the Kinect SDK/Kodu in the classroom
clip_image004Classroom Teachers Ray Chambers from Lodge Park Technology College & Nicki Maddams fromHartsdown College, give hands-on practical guidance on how to programme and create games in the classroom
clip_image006Everyone is a Maths genius, can computer science/technology prove it?
Dr Chris Imafidon – is one of the “World’s foremost scholars on leveraging informatics for learning and exceptional achievement. This workshop will discuss how computer science/technology exposed the myths of natural Intelligence, genes, gender, IQ, age, background, post-code.
Computing: The Science of Nearly Everything?
clip_image008Dr Tom Crick, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC), looks at the big question: How are we developing and encouraging the next generation of technology innovators in the UK?
clip_image010Be a Maker: learn to build gadgets with .NET Gadgeteer
Dr Scarlet Schwiderski-Grosche from Microsoft Research.Do you like computer gadgets? Would you like to learn how to build and program gadgets to your own design? Then this workshop is for you!
Medicines and innovation – the missing link
Kandarp Thakkar - STEM Ambassador Programme - This workshop will introduce the STEM programme and give some ‘real-life’ case studies of successful use of this programme in delivering high quality university admissions.
clip_image014Guerrilla Teaching & Learning
Daniel Raven-Ellison is a guerrilla educator, co-founder of The Geography Collective and creative director of Mission:Explore. Join this workshop to receive initial training in how to be a guerrilla teacher and learner.
Who’s afraid of the big bad ‘network’
Dan Roberts from community school, presents light-hearted perspective and interactive & engaging discussion which considers the challenges & issues of schools using social networking, how these can be overcome?
Also, find out who are the recipients of this year’s Microsoft UK Partners in Learning Teacher Awards.The awards will be presented to Teachers who have submitted projects that illustrate the innovative use of technology to enhance teaching and learning. Not only will they receive award recognition, but have the chance to be invited to the next Partners in Learning Forum and win a Xbox 360 and Kinectpackage for their school. These projects will be on display at the event.
Don’t miss out, register today – Registration now open

Sunday, October 23, 2011

#EduScotICT What more to debate about Wifi in Schools ?

Just catching up with blogs and posts just  had a great week off with family around Scotland.

Surprised and rather disappointed that no-one picked up on first speakers real point about wi-fi
Even the TES Article "Give us Some Coffee Shop Technology " missed main point.

I tuned in and heard a very erudite Rhys McKenna state that even foreign campsites now have wifi.

Starbucks have had  free Wifi in UK since 2009.
The offices I left in 2002 had guest wifi available on request.
There is not a city centre I've been too in last few years without a wifi hotspot of some kind, nor usually a conference , you can sometimes even do it on a train.

If you just read this sort of coverage - you can  hear the nae sayers  being very understanding about schools struggling to compete with global corporates even if they are  - Coffee Chains.

But campsites now do wifi  ( our camp-site had it as well  last summer ) - even some Scottish ones do  - and lots of homes have wifi too - so for goodness sake why not schools. What more is there to talk about?  or should we set up temporary under canvas learning centres with wifi  ?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

#dob11 The Connected Educator - I like learner better

Sometimes I hear the cynic in me - "Over the last 7 or 8 years one way or another I 've seen every slide in this presentation - delivered in different ways." I 've even pinched a few of these concepts too

But on reflection and with some evaluation - the interesting thing is really- that in the best networked way , in the way that folklore and other good stories spread and get better with the re-telling all around the world - it is fundamentally the same story that is being told - the same signposts to the future. Learning around the world is on the same journey.

The challenge is making the jump to this place - where we can point to user generated content and global networks of educators and better still global;ly networked  learners .. and we still haven't quite figured out the levers for this.

Thanks Shelly Nussbaum Beach and to Ewan McIntosh over in frozen Norway for highlighting this presentation at whatever #dob11 is.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Oldhall Scouts Celebrate 100 years

Thanks to my friend Alasdair Marsden for photo

I spent last weekend celebrating 30 years since I left school - I had in reality kept up with many of the folk there through keeping up my interest in Rugby both on and off the park.

Folks who know me well know too of my passion for all things out doors and I'm looking forward to the centenary celebrations of my Scout Group Oldhalll in November.

It is good that society generally has become more appreciative of the potential of things like sport and voluntary organisations for developing leadership , team players and a host of qualities that make people happy and productive. It is not an understatement to say you learn more about people on a muddy rugby pitch or under canvas for a week than you ever can in the conservative confines of some institution.

Rugby and Scouts work too because of all the great people  who give up their own time and put something back in.

There is a fair crowd of Scottish diaspora heading north for this event - and great to see it mentioned in the Evening Times this week..

           Scouts celebrate
One of Paisley’s oldest Scout Troops is about to celebrate a very special birthday.
The 5th Paisley (Oldhall) group, based at the old Barshaw House stables, is celebrating its centenary year this year and wants as many former members and friends to join in.
A centenary dinner is to be held at the Glynhill Hotel, Renfrew, on November 19. We are also appealing for any old pictures of the troop.
Tickets for the dinner, £25, are available from Moira Marsh, 5th Paisley, Oldhall Road, Paisley, PA1 3HN or e-mail for more information.