This year’s event was a of a change of direction for us. Firstly, we held the event at Microsoft UK HQ in Reading and we had a greater focus on Computer Science and Maths. Rather than our usual focus of ICT across the curriculum. You can read the various highlights of the day from these attendees on their blogs.
Dan Roberts – “ Having the opportunity to meet other innovative teachers and to look at the examples of their work in their classrooms was amazing”
Ray Chambers – “I was so over the moon about finally meeting people who I had talked to on twitter for months.”
Doug Woods – “it was refreshing to see that people still feel able to be innovative in schools despite the current economic and political climate.”
Nicki Maddams – “I felt totally inspired, listening to him (Ian Livingstone Keynote Speaker)”
Philip Anderson- “I met SO MANY people with great things to share and I had the time and opportunity to speak to so many of them too”
Jimmy Edwards – “I would definitely recommend that you join the Partners in Learning Network as you will be hard pressed to find a better CPD experience anywhere”
A highlight of the whole event for me, came at the Teacher Meeting, from two teachers, Becy Allen @trainieeteacher and Katie O’Reilly @kforeilly, they are trainee teachers at Plymouth University they talked about how they use blogging and networking. Both spoke incredibly well and it was clear that they are very passionate about what they do. You can find their blogs here and here. Expect great projects from these two in the future
The Award Winners
This Forum celebrates of our Partners in Learning Teacher Award winners. This year’s role of honour is :-
saltash.net community school
Uxbridge High school
Trinty CE Lower School
Ysgol Gyfn Gwyn Llyw
Calderglen High School
Hartsdown Technical College
Lodge Park Technology College
Choosing four projects to represent the UK at the European Forum in March was an almost impossible task, but with the help of judges, Walter Patterson and Ollie Bray, we managed to identify four projects that we feel best represent some of the current innovative thinking and use of technology in the classroom.
The four winning projects are from – Nicki Maddams- A Kodu Curriculum, Ray Chambers, – Kinect Olympics Katie Boothman – The HIT Squad and Lyndsay Purden - Learning Journeys with OneNote. Sarah Coombes’ project was highly commended and all received an Xbox 360 and Kinect for their school. Their projects can be downloaded from the UK Partners in Learning Network.This year’s outstanding contribution award went to Dan Roberts.
Thank you to all those that attended, we hope you went away inspired and full of ideas.
We have always been big advocates of the free software from Microsoft that can support teaching and learning. It was Partners in Learning UK that first brought you AutoCollage and Songsmith for free.
The biggest piece of feedback we had about this, was that all the software was distributed across a myriad of websites, making it less than simple to install across school networks.
We are now pleased to announce the Learning Suite, a collection of our favourite free applications in a simple download application. The Learning Suite allows users to select the applications you wish install and tells you which ones you already have.
Another useful feature, is that as we add resources to the Learning Suite in the future, it will automatically update itself every time you run it. Enabling you, colleagues and your students to have access to the latest free resources from Microsoft as and when they appear.
You can download the Learning Suite from the UK Partners in Learning Network or click here to Download Learning Suite
You will need a Live ID to download the Learning Suite and is only available from the UK Partners in Learning site. This will give you access to all these awesome resources -------------------------->
If you are looking for support resources for many of the applications in the Learning Suite then, you should check out our YouTube Channel. This Learning Suite playlist has over 20, 3-5 minute videos created by Teachers explaining how to use these applications in the classroom.
Gareth Ritter, from willows High School in Cardiff, reflects on his time at the Global Forum as a Teacher award winner.
What an amazing experience the Partner in Learning global Forum has been. I arrived late on Sunday 13th November, On the Monday all delegates were put into groups and we worked collaboratively using the latest technology available. I felt so very lucky to have visited Washington in the company so many of the world’s finest educators. The first keynote speaker was Will Richardson, this really was an eye opening presentation showing that you really need to educate our youngsters for the 21st century and we must get away from the current teaching methods that have been in place for the last 200 years. He shared his vision of classrooms changing becoming innovative classrooms. He commented on the use of mobile phones in the classroom, why shouldn’t pupils be allowed to use their mobile phones in the classroom? If the teacher asks a pupil a question surely it makes sense for the pupils to take out their mobile phone, search the question and then be able to answer it, that’s what happens in the real world. People use the technology around us to make our lives easier. All the key note speeches were well thought out and thought provoking. The event was a great opportunity to share good practice, ideas and resources. I, like many other teachers were so proud to be able to showcase our pupils work on a global stage. On the Tuesday afternoon we were given time to set up our booths. This really was a great experience watching the 130 finalists from across the globe setting up their projects.
The amount of food was unbelievable; you know you’re in America when the choice of breakfast drink is tea, coffee or Pepsi. It was like that famous Home Alone scene where Kevin orders a ridiculous amount of food on room service, it was great.
Every day was started off with a keynote speech. Anthony Salcito, the vice president of Microsoft education gave a great keynote. He spoke about the need to deliver 21st-century lessons that will prepare our pupils for the world they are going to. His keynote speech was really interesting, when I hear keynote speeches like this it really makes me think how would this change benefit my pupils. In answer to that question it would change their lives.
Anthony Salcito also demonstrated the use of the kinect in the classroom with the release of the SDK. I found this really interesting and I know that friends back in the UK who have also been working with the kinect will enjoy and look forward to the plans Microsoft have for it. I’m a firm believer that if we can bring into the classroom the passion our pupils have for their games at home we will raise standards and their achievement and attainment. Our pupils play games at home past 12:00 at night, if they fail a level they don’t give up until they pass the level they are playing even if it takes them into the early hours, they always want to succeed. I’ve always believed that we need to bring that passion into the classroom and the kinect does that for us. I have already seen the benefits in my school.
Anthony Salcito also announced a revamped version of the Partners in Learning website, I really can’t wait to start using the beta version. This will open up global collaboration for teachers and it was really nice to see Stuart Ball have some recognition from the stage for all his hard work.
Another great keynote speaker was Arne Duncan, the secretary of education for the USA. I really couldn’t believe that I was sat in the same hall as the Secretary of Education. I really did feel special being sat amongst some of the finest educators I ever met and being spoken to by such a distinguished person in education.
We made a brief visit to the Smithsonian environmental research Centre. Here we worked in teams to build an ROV. It was great working with these innovative teachers to solve a problem and look how this type of project could be used with pupils.
After our trip we returned to the hotel by 3:15 PM and I had to quickly get ready to meet my first judge and present my project. My first judge seemed impressed with the project and the work that the pupils had produced. My second judge visited at around 4:30 PM and again seemed very interested in what the pupils had achieved. I really enjoyed talking about the pupils at Willows high school and it was great to showcase their work to a global community.
It was a real spectacle. Everyone was celebrating after such an eventful week. After we had our meal (with NO salad) it was awards time. As far as we were concerned we were all winners by being there. For me the highlight of the week was meeting some amazing people. It was great to be a part of the UK team; they are a great bunch of people with so much enthusiasm for education.
The time had come for the awards presentation. I couldn’t believe my ears when my name was read out. I was so proud of my pupils, their work had world recognition. As I walked towards the stage it was a strange feeling. So many people were clapping and cheering, it took a while to sink in.
The whole event was a life changing experience and one that I will never forget.
Thank you Microsoft Partners in Learning
For more info on our Award Winning Project please visit www.askthemusicteacher.co.uk
After the great success of the last three Microsoft Partners in Learning Teacher Camps, we are taking the concept on the road – this is an open invitation to all Teachers in Scotland. So if you want to spend time with other innovative educators, then this is an ideal event for you.
Camp Scotland takes place at Calderglen High School, starting 10:00am on Thursday 26th and finishing 4:00pm Friday 27th January 2012.
This event is free to attend.
We will give you training in using free Microsoft software to create teaching and learning resources for the classroom. You will have time to design, create and evaluate those resources and collaborate with others. You will also get the chance to speak to experts at Microsoft about our technology. In addition you will also be learning how to deliver the same training to colleagues in your own schools. These resources will take the form of screen capture videos, which we call Innovids. You can see examples of these on the Partners in Learning YouTube Channel – www.youtube.com/innovativeteach
We don’t want videos or lengthy biographies from you, to apply for this free event, just email three tweet-esque type statements (140 characters or less) to Odette Fraser – email@example.com before the closing date Friday 16th Dec. These statements should be ideas of how you would, or are using Microsoft technologies to support learning across the curriculum. For example:-
Also include details of your school, subject expertise and pupil age range in your application. We will select 25 applicants with the most intriguing and innovative ideas, who will be notified on Friday 13th January 2012.
Yes, most definitely, we are looking for classroom innovators in learning, rather than techie whizz kids. This event is targeted at those Teachers in Scotland interested in teaching and learning, and how technology can support that, rather than the technology itself. This event is for teachers in Primary, Secondary and Special school settings.
We expect you to bring some of the tools you are using already:
What will I be expected to do?
We would like to create two innovid resources, including the one you will create on the course. We will collect those resources and post them to our YouTube Channel and GLOW.
We will offer you support if you wish you recreate this course in your school and you will receive a certificate welcoming you as a Partners in Learning Teacher and more ideas about how to enhance pupil through the use of technology.
Can’t make this event?
Don’t worry we are planning a Teacher Meeting on the evening of the 26th January, open to anybody who wants attend, where you will be able to share great ideas and chat with like minded teachers. Details will be posted early in the New Year.
Well what a year of change it has been for Microsoft UK Partners in Learning. The year began with Kristen (remember her!) starting her maternity leave, that left me as the only team member, it’s ok I am not looking for sympathy! I enjoyed the peace and quiet. Next, BETT 2011 , I teamed up with Dan Roberts (@chickensaltash) we did our best to make ‘Maths Sexy’ with Mathematics 4.0 , but it was Mouse Mischief the free plug-in for PowerPoint , that lets you connect up to 25 mice, that was the big hit. Jan Webb joined the team and accompanied myself and Teachers to the European Forum in Moscow, we came away not only with some interesting stories , but two award winners.
One of the surprises of the year was the emergence of a self developing network , dubbed the K-Team which is a growing network of UK teachers that utilise the Partners in Learning Network to develop and share ideas about Kinect in the Classroom and Kodu, look out for more ideas from them in the new year.
Our online resources in Partners in Learning continued to grow and develop with our YouTube channel getting over a 100,000 views worldwide. we will be adding more of our teacher videos from our free training events for teachers in Scotland , Wales and during the Easter and Summer breaks. We will announce those events on this blog. The network of teachers using Partners in Learning as part of their learning is still growing and was evident with all the new faces at this year’s UK Forum.
We began our Partners in Learning Institute programme for Elite teachers and Educators, with Dan Roberts attending the first Partners in Learning Institute training in Seattle. We will be launching our our programme in the New Year, in the meantime if you are at BETT, keep a look out for our top educators wearing these badges.
We end the year with yet more success at the Worldwide Forum in Washington D.C., award winner Gareth Ritter continues to have an impact globally, expect to see more of him next year.
So it seems things have come full circle, I am still the only member of the team, but the good news is , I have the pleasure and challenge of filling the very expensive shoes of Kristen as the new UK Partners in Learning Manager, thanks to everybody for your support this year. I am looking forward to supporting and growing the best educator network I know in Partners in Learning next year. It’s going to be very exciting. See you all at BETT 2012, and something's haven’t changed that much @chickensaltash will be joining me there too.