I have been very fortunate to be inspired by so many great people and events. November has been a busy month for me and I have presented at many different events.
The first was at the Association of Secondary Heads in Essex conference on 8th November. It was a great pleasure to walk with so many educational leaders in one place and to share. I spoke about collaboration with colleagues within the school and how this enriches the learning experience for everyone. Most schools have little idea about the level of expertise they have on their staff and ‘in-house’ training in a wonderfully motivating and rewarding experience for both the presenter and the audience.
I also spoke about providing students with the opportunity to help staff and follow students improve their skills and raise achievement. The example I gave was to employ Digital Leaders. I will discuss Digital Leaders in more detail below, but essentially they are students who learn and explore advanced ICT and computing techniques and tools and then support teachers and students to develop digital skills and troubleshoot problems.
I also discussed how educators collaborate using a range of social networks, but especially on Twitter. The last section was devoted to showing the conference a collection of tools that can help collaborative learning and teaching.
See the ASHE presentation at http://prezi.com/ev51nr0wnr6h/collaborating-sharing-with-the-ashe
The next event was the London Festival of Education on the 17th November. I was invited to the festival to discuss my work with UKedchat, which I administrate along with its creator, Colin Hill. It was my great pleasure to present with Tim Rylands, an absolute educational legend and a truly inspiration speaker. The day began with an interesting, but worrying interview with Michael Gove by David Aaronovitch. For most of the morning I was in the Green Room with Tim and Sarah Neild. I learnt lots about how to present and how to prepare for speaking. I also had a chance to meet Nigel Canin of 2Simple, Tony Parkin, Angela Angeli and Mary Farmer face to face for the first time and also spoke with many other educators I know from Twitter. For this reason alone, the festival was wonderful. My workshop about UKedchat and Social Media went well and the experimental live UKedchat about ‘Could social media an effective method of CPD for teaching staff?’ was low-key, but interesting. I really enjoyed listening to Michael Rosen and Anthony Horowitz discussion the important of reading and other topics. Both were so inspiring!
A huge event that I had been looking forward to for a long time was TeachMeet Essex on 19th November. Tom Sherrington, Andy Knill and I had been planning this for months and the evening didn’t disappoint. I had a wonderful time and I thought it was one of the best TeachMeets I had been to, although I am completed bias as I was hosting the event. I had two presentations. The first was a two-minute rant about why teachers should be on Twitter and should take part in UKedchat. In the second presentation I explored a few of my favourite educational digital resources at the moment. There were so many wonderful presentations. They will be uploaded to http://teachmeetessex.co.uk when I can find the time!
The final two events both happened at the headquarters of the Night Zoo Keeper in London. I was lucky enough to attend the first ever Digital Leaders KidsMeet on the 23rd November. It was an amazing day of exploration and fun for four of my Digital Leaders and many other teachers and pupils from schools around the country. Each school presented to the group and share ideas and what they are doing in their school. There were also workshops on blogging, Raspberry Pi programming and much more. See all the details on the live blog at http://digitalleadernetwork.wordpress.com
The last event was on 30th November – TeachMeet Twist. There were the usual great presentations that you would expect at a big TeachMeet, but the twist was that there were discussion sessions on a range of topics. See the videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/teachmeettwist. Thanks to Jodie Lopez-Collins, Paul Hutson and Oliver Quinlan for organising such a great event.
This has been a superb month and I feel inspired and ready to teach some amazing lesson. Once again, my PLN has reinvigorated my teaching and I am full of ideas and excitement. Roll on December…