SSAT 17th Day 1 – Could do better

November 25, 2009 § Leave a comment

Day 1 started with Thomas L Freidman. I was reassured that this was not merely going to be a prequel to his later address keynote in the main hall, otherwise why would I have got up early? I was pleased to hear his views and the Q/A session at the end provided some much needed personal input.There were one or two gems to take a away but generally narrative,

‘give me a student with CQ and PQ over IQ any day. Curiosity quotient plus passion quotient will overcome intelligence quotient.

So, to the main hall, two impressive student performances, one choral and one contemporary dance/drama before Thomas L. Friedman took to the stage for his second appearance. In truth, I needn’t have got up early for breakfast as he merely recited the same keynote, the same gags and the same message .

‘In a flat world, everything that can be done, will be done.’

Very disappointing and poor form on his part, even when you except his reason for not attending the conference in person (lunch at the Whitehouse, dinner with the president.)

Lord Digby Jones offered a real world viewpoint and commentary. He oration was commanding, if some did find his views a little one sided. It was about half way through his keynote that I realised I was sitting next to Tony Parkin an online colleague I initially had tried to meet / contact for some time with reference to our Digital Leaders covering the conference. A little surreal, that in a full auditorum, here he was tweeting away, sitting next to me. I am please to say I hope to meet Tony Parkin tomorrow for coffee during a breakout.

Finally, the view of four colleges following their visit to Brazil. Poignant teaching stories but I felt it went on a little too long for me however perhaps the best comment for innovation  – in referring to a Brazilian Digital Inclusion project they trained students to not only be proficient IT conusmers but ‘change makers.’ The aim to effect greater influence / impact of initiatives. Interesting concept – a little like our Digital Leaders, I hope.

The afternoon was spent in the exhibition, but I will note the highlights in a second post, and then onto project management. Although the message being delivered made common sense I was hoping for more. Bright and imaginative ways to collate project management progress. Innovative ways to PM within schools with disparate groups of across and between schools. Collonas or the effective use of gant charts or collaborative tools? Sadly not, but well scripted planning documents that will be stored and used to delivered future events and quite rightly, support new staff joining the school of fulfilling new roles, eg HoDs or leading Parents evening. One colleague on our table felt it quite inappropriate as a leadership session and was reasonable robust in his criticism.

Overall, a disappointing level 4.

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Day 2 @ SSAT

November 27, 2008 § Leave a comment

A enjoyable start to the day with a  seminar style event with Sir Ken Robinson, only problem was the booking system delayed the start and frustrated a fair few delegates and of course restricted the time we had to hear him speak and confer with the audience. Technology, you can’t rely on it? Disappointingly, just ask the Minister if you dont believe me.

We then looked around the exhibition, I liked one or two products, in particular nComputing who were offer low-cost virtualization software /hardware to tap into the unused capacity of the classroom PCs and share it with other users. 1 PC acting as a host to 6 PCs.

Benefits are; creating desktop space, dramatically reducing your e-waste and recycling costs and a reduction in power, well your are only running 1 PC for 6 access points. All PCs are recognised by any classroom management software you have running.

Another interesting product was Vivo Miles. Vivo Miles is a very comprehensive rewards and sanction system and very current in its design and application. Plugins allow it to integrate with websites and they have plans to marry up with the VLE providers. A powerful way to raise standards but also for students understand and achieve economic well-being. Its a schools club card – complete with its own hole in the wall. What I will note, is that its visual presentation is excellent, a very web vogue, social networked, internet market place user interface will, IMHO engage.

Next Sir Michael Barber, again a very impressive public speaker offering an aliens aural feedback from a recent Earth inspection – the written feedback to be posted later. Outlining where perhaps organisational failing are impacting on education. Concluding with E(K+T+L) an the equation / solution left by the aliens to prompt thinking. That Knowledge plus Thinking plus Leadership underpinned by ethics is required for effective leadership, and from his tone, not only in education.

Charles Leadbeater – web thinker / innovator highlighted the shareability of the web, and that term again, web 2.0. For the SSAT conference, I felt that the pitch was excellent, as web innovators / enthusiasts often engulf their audience with techno speak / babble. I wise decision considering the next keynote information….

‘The web allows them (Charles Leadbeater referred mainly to learners, which this context inferred students, but I am confident his view is broader than that) not just to publish but to share and connect, to collaborate and when the conditions are right, to create, together, at scale.’

His analogy of big organisations as boulders, including schools, being hard to move was coupled with the new technologies as pebbles more fluid and flexible, slowly swamping the cumbersome boulders. I enjoyed the analogy of User Generate Content (UGC) as pebbles, but I think the boulders are a little further up the beach than he perhaps presented, but that would have been a far less impressive communique. And yes, perhaps Google and little brother Youtube are the best pebble examples in the mainstream. In fairness he touched on others, World of Warcarft, Sims, Flickr.

(What would a seminar follow up with? Twitter? Social BookMarking)

Should any educator stumble upon the post FREE animation tools and some great examples! Now stickman may look simple, but our Year 7s and 8s spend hours creating and share it and there is a huge back channel / community sharing ideas.

Finally, the impact of generations and eras on leaders and leadership and Dr Graeme Codrington keynote. Although not obvious to me as an aspiring young teacher, this is very important. Ironically, it was as important to the seasoned professionals in the audience. It would appear, few of the professionals in the audience, either young or seasoned, had fully considered the imapct of their default settings on colleagues they worked with. Something to reflect upon. Dr Graeme Codrington has promised that these slides will be available but a short cut to the download section of his site.

So, another very good day. Now for the informal learning.

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