Unfortunately I was not about to attend the Naace Conference due to the expensive nature of it when my school would not pay for may, however, I was pleased to be able to attend the Teachmeet part of it. The turn out for the event was good and lots of interesting ideas were shared.
The first presentation that I was particularly fond of was one using a Kindle in schools. I have found an aversion to Kindles from a variety of people in and out of education; they all share one worry ‘Children need to love books’. What I have also seen is when they do decide to take the plunge and try a Kindle they realise it is not the end of the book; merely a more convenient way to read at times. This was similar to the experience of the presenter and then they mentioned taking the Kindle into the classroom. If had never really occurred to me the freedom you give a child to automatically look up words they do not know; without interrupting the flow of reading or finding out the dictionary they’re using does not have that word. As well as this being able to make notes, or highlight sections of the text for later use with no worry of spoiling beloved books.
As well as this, a governor from a school showed a GoogleSite which he had created and explained that he had put a ‘TV’ in the staffroom, it was actually a monitor but with not wanting to scare some staff it was referred to as the ‘TV’. On this screen he was able to show a range of things but the majority of the time was spent displaying a split screen with the school calendar and a Twitter feed. Now, the Twitter feed only had a few carefully selected people to ensure nothing contained any jargon or anything that made it look like Twitter but this was essentially what it was. He then reported how he would see all manner of staff looking at it and even sometimes noting the ideas down on pieces of paper. I couldn’t help thinking whilst listening that this was a fantastic idea, breaking down the barriers that can spring up at the mention of ‘modern’ ideas. We spend so much time and effort trying to break down the barriers between children and learning why does it never occur to us to break down the barriers between fellow staff and learning.
Finally, we were also show the etwinning website as a platform for arranging projects with schools across the world. The website already has around 10,000 schools signed up to it and there are a range of projects going on. You can log into the website and browse people who are looking to pair with a school or you can suggest a project you might like someone to join you on. Examples of projects were anything from spending 10 minutes of a French lesson each week reading a page or 2 of the ‘Hungry Caterpillar’ in French via video conferencing and then listening as the French school read the same book back to you but this time in English. To one project which was a school version of the Eurovision song contest with 20 countries live streaming performances from their school and then voting on what they thought was the best act. How amazing could the opportunities be? How much would the children learn from just spending a short amount of time a week speaking to a group of children in another country?
After another successful Teachmeet I am officially hooked, there are so many things to find out about and learning together with others is great. The discussions that follow during and after are also brilliant and it’s got to be the easiest way to meet Teachers outside of your own school. I have not yet been brave enough to share anything, although the atmosphere is incredibly informal and friends I don’t feel that I have anything to share! All of my fabulous ideas have come from listening to others and I feel like I’ll be telling people what they already know. We’ll see what the future holds.