Next week is an important one for Microsoft education – and for some teachers and schools in the UK. It’s our biggest event for worldwide teachers and schools: the Innovative Education Forum.
Last year, we wrote about this event when we brought two English teachers, Peter and Dan, to Hong Kong. This year, the event has changed slightly to include both teachers and the new schools that are a par of our Innovative Schools Programme around the world (hence the change to the Innovative Education Forum rather than the Innovative Teachers Forum).
We’re expecting over 350 attendees to the Forum, to be held in gorgeous Salvador, Brazil. Teachers will be able to meet other award-winning innovative teachers from all over the world, and will attend workshops and listen to keynotes by education experts and practitioners (including our own Stuart!). They will tour the cultural and historical wonders of the city and area while they work to create learning resources with a team of other educators. And the week will end with a gala dinner that celebrates the week of fun and hard work and honours the most practice presented at the gathering.
Does this sound like something you’d like to be involved in? Do you wish you were going with Stuart and me to Brazil?
This could be you next year – if you enter your VCT for this year’s UK Innovative Teachers Forum! (Find entry details in last week’s blog post or on the UK Innovative Teachers Network.)
Last year, Ollie Bray and Mandeep Atwal entered their incredible work in the UK Innovative Teachers Forum. They came to our event in Reading, and were selected (along with James Kent and Chris Henderson) to join us at the European Innovative Teachers Forum in Vienna. There, both were honoured with awards and an invitation to present in Brazil. If you had asked either of them whether they thought they’d be going to Brazil when they originally submitted their VCTs, I know they would have said “no.” Just look where they are today.
As Stuart’s blogs have mentioned, this year’s UK Forum is sure to be the best – and certainly the largest – yet. We have some amazing workshops lined up, and the registrations and VCTs are already coming in. Don’t wait until it’s too late – register and submit your VCT today, and you could be travelling the world with Microsoft next year.
The 6th Microsoft UK Innovative Teachers Forum, will be held on 1st December 2009 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Birmingham. For the time first in this event, we are working in partnership with Shireland Learning and the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust to bring you what we think will be the best event ever.
This one-day conference is FREE of charge for all teachers and educators who wish to attend and will look to address the theme of ‘Connecting Learners, Connecting Teachers.’ Keynote speakers and practical workshops will explore this theme, along with ‘real life’ examples of some of the most innovative use of technology to enhance teaching and learning.
Registration for the conference is now open. You can register at this link
(or paste this URL into your browser to register at http://itndownloads.com/itfreg/default.htm)
Key note Speaker – John Davitt – www.newtools.org
Attendees are able to choose two from these four workshops to attend.
Workshop 1 New tools for Learning Workshop - John Davitt
Workshop 2 Learning with creative technologies – Dave Garland from saltash.net Community School & Stuart Ball from Microsoft
Workshop 3 Building an effective Learning Gateway with connected and collaborative learners and teachers – Mike Herrity from Twynham School
Workshop 4 Using a mosaic of technologies to support the delivery of a new Year 7 Curriculum Structure, includes Microsoft Surface – Shireland Learning
All conference attendees will receive a free copy of John Davitt’s book,’ New tools for Learning’.
In the meantime, we want you, teachers and educators, to provide your 'real life' examples of using technology to enhance learning. Do you have learning projects that utilise technology and have made a difference in the classroom? Have you been able to influence colleagues through your teaching practice? Could your work be award winning?
Then why not enter the UK Innovative Teachers Forum Awards? You could be one of the top educators in the UK invited share your work with the delegates at this conference. The submitted entries will be reviewed by experts in the field and the creators of the top fifteen projects will be invited to the conference for an awards dinner, with travel and hotel costs paid for by the organisers. At the event we will award four teachers with an invitation to present their project at the next European Innovative Teachers Forum to be held in Berlin in March 2010.
Innovative Teachers Forum awards will be given in three categories:
· Microsoft Innovative Teacher Award – sponsored by Microsoft Partners in Learning
· Innovative Teaching and Learning through a Learning Platform Award – sponsored by Shireland Learning
· Impact and Improvement Award– sponsored by Specialist Schools and Academies Trust
If you wish to enter your project, you will need to decide which category best fits your project. You may enter your project into more than one category, but, you must upload your project to each of the categories you choose to enter.
All projects need to be documented using Microsoft’s Virtual Classroom Tour template. This can be downloaded by joining the UK Innovative Teachers Forum Community on this site. LINK
Full details of how to enter can be found at www.uk.innovativeteachers.com
Closing date for Entries is 15th November 2009
The 6th UK Innovative Teachers Forum is your chance to share how you are using technology in innovative ways with your pupils and students. We hope to see you – and your innovative Virtual Classroom Tour – at the event.
For years, Microsoft has been running a competition for university developer and programming students called the Imagine Cup. In the Imagine Cup we challenge teams of students to find and build technology solutions to real-world issues. We encourage the world's most talented software designers, programmers, game developers, and digital media enthusiasts to tackle, head on, issues related to hunger relief, poverty, education, disease control, healthcare, the environment and other critical problems facing our world today.
Stuart and I don’t usually mention Imagine Cup to this audience, but this year things are a bit different. As the competition is open to teams of students ages 16 and older who are currently enroled in school or university, we wanted to make you all aware of this opportunity for your students.
The theme for this year’s competition is: "Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems." Here in the UK we’re working with key charities to provide students with inspiration for their entries.
If you think you have students who are exceptionally talented in the area of technology and would be interested in participating in the Imagine Cup, direct them to this link for further information, including eligibility requirements, links to the participating charities and project briefings for the problems they would like help solving, and steps to register for the Software Design Competition. http://imaginecup.com/gb/sd.aspx
As the competition brings the top talents from around the world together for this competition (the 2010 finals are in Poland), it’s a great opportunity for your students.
We are taking part in Blog action Day, this is an annual event that unites the world's bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day on their own blogs with the aim of sparking discussion around an issue of global importance. The organisers say this will be the largest-ever social change event on the web and describe it as ‘One day. One issue. Thousands of voices’
We wanted to share and remind you of a number of projects that are available through the Innovative Teachers network, that deal specifically with the topic of climate change.
The Climate Mystery, a free online game and alternate reality universe where students learn about climate change and issues while they try to save the world from certain disaster. Microsoft and Congin (the game creators) have published new resources to help teachers use it in your classroom.
The new teacher materials for The Climate Mystery can be found on The Teachers Toolbox Skydrive. Here you’ll find the following documentation:
Dan Roberts one of our award winning teachers, has been working with the charity Cool Earth . You can check out his adventures in the rain forests of Peru on his blog. He has also teamed up with another of our Innovative Teacher's, Ollie Bray. Together they have been promoting a number of environmental projects. Have a look at Ollie’s Blog for more details.
Cool Earth are running a great competition at moment, open to all primary school children across the UK and secondary students aged 12 and under. They want your students to design and name a new species of plant or animal that has imaginative ways of dealing with the ever increasing challenges of living in the rainforest. The winning entry will have their design illustrated by Rob Steen and will receive a copy of Flanimals signed by Ricky Gervais. The school will also receive one acre of rainforest protected in their name and Cool Earth would like to visit winning school to present the prize. Two runners up will be presented with a signed copy of Flanimals and their school will receive one acre of rainforest protected in their name.
The lesson resource pdf is titled Can you create your own organism and can be downloaded from: http://drop.io/coolearth
How to enter?
The design must be a picture of the animal, annotated with the ideas of how the species has been designed to survive. Entries will be judged on creativity and understanding of the conditions that species in the rainforest must face. Email the pictures if you are able to scan or photograph any to firstname.lastname@example.org Or post them to: Cool Earth, E16, Opie Building, Cornwall College Camborne, Trevenson Road, Redruth, Cornwall, TR15 3RD. Make sure the student’s name, age and school are on the entries and that you include the schools contact details. The closing date is the 20th November 2009. For terms & conditions please see http://www.coolearth.org/ or for more information and other resources for schools and teachers see http://www.coolearth.org/365/category/teachers-168.html
Finally we have a number of resources in the form of Virtual Classroom Tours on the Innovative Teachers Network, www.uk.innovativeteachers.com. These resources have been developed by teachers. Two great examples are:- ‘The Asian Tsunami’ where James Kent, describes how he has used technology to allow students to describe their responses to such a disaster. For Primary pupils, a team of teachers from Wales , have created a series of resources called ‘Natural World’. They used Moviemaker to support young children in their responses, ideas and thoughts about the environment. In the project children created their own 'perfect' environments and their work was photographed and a narration added. Then, without them knowing, their environments were built on by unscrupulous developers. Trees and animal homes made way for high rise Lego buildings. The three teachers recorded children's feelings to these disasters. The child’s responses are thought provoking.
If you are currently undertaking an environmental based project in your school and would like to share it with other teachers. Then why not consider entering it as a Virtual Classroom Tour into the Innovative Teacher Forum awards, details can be found in this post.
Stuart and I haven’t blogged about Microsoft’s IT Academy programme yet, although I’m not sure why not. At any rate, I’ve had two experiences recently that made me want to share this programme – and the opportunities it provides – with you.
For those of you who don’t know, the Microsoft IT Academy programme offers schools the chance to deliver Microsoft’s IT training and qualifications to your students, staff and even your wider community. The qualifications that you can deliver will help your students (or parents in your community) raise their skills to prepare for business roles, or potentially for technical employment as web developers or systems administrators.
Once you’ve signed up to be an IT Academy, the scheme includes
Even though this sounds like it might be another free birthday gift from Stuart and me, it's not; there is a membership fee to join the IT Academy programme. However, a recent meeting I attended at the SSAT was one of the things that prompted me to tell you about the IT Academy programme. Thanks to an agreement we made with the SSAT earlier this year, the cost for a specialist school to join the IT Academy is less than £600 per year. This is a great deal - especially if you factor in the cost of the MSDNAA and TechNet plus subsriptions.
As the IT Academy programme is currently offered in about 2/3 of UK colleges and universities, I wasn't sure how relevant it was to
schools until I visited Sawtry Community College in Cambridgeshire and saw their IT Academy in action. Sawtry uses the IT Academy to offer training to teachers and students at their own school, but they also use the Academy to offer trainings to other schools in the region and to parents and other adult learners in the community. It's become a great training opportunity for Sawtry. (To learn more about what Sawtry is doing with the IT Academy programme, see this case study about them.
If you'd like more information about the IT Academy programme, there's quite a bit on Microsoft's web site. It might be easier for you to just give our partner Prodigy Learning a call to explore whether this is the right opportunity for your school, and if so, how to get involved. You can email them or reach them directly on this number: 0845 3991553
We hope you find this useful for your schools.