| July 4, 2007 | 9 Comments 

I was invited to give the opening, Keynote presentation on the second day of the E2BN Conference, in Wyboston, Bedfordshire. I thoroughly enjoyed myself because of the sense of humour of the audience. For a start, we had a mini joke swap session to “fill” whilst the technical swap over was happening. My favourite: from Benny Wars the movie (see yesterday’s post) and to be said in a Star Wars voice: “Luke. I know what you’re getting for Christmas… I felt your presents!.

I really enjoyed the opportunity to listen to Chris Morley and Brendan Routledge talk about User Generated Learning and the huge opportunities available from social networking and Web 2.0 tools. I agree with them that the pitfalls are worth overcoming because they are out weighed by the huge benefits.

Chris and Brendan introduced some fascinating ideas on how mobile phones can be a powerful tool within the classroom. Yes! Phones in a classroom! Bluetooth phones can communicate with many devices and be used as an input device, sound recorder, diary, podcasting and blogging tool, calculator, camera and more.

They pointed us in the direction of the E2BN Gallery, a rapidly developing store of useful resources that is being added to by the users; Story Maker 2, a free online story creating site

I also had the opportunity to work with a group, on a hands-on session, where we explored the games and the potential learning that can spring from these huge banks of stimulus materials.

The E2BN Conference is an ambitious and imaginative event. This year, the conference was entitled “Challenging Every Child”, and looked at how ICT can be used across the curriculum to offer new challenges to pupils of all abilities, both in school and at home.

The conference dinner was an experience in its own right, with an apparently “impromptu” performance by the the three waiters!

The conference sessions and workshops were organised to help teachers and head teachers, as well as ICT and support staff, gain the confidence to implement ICT more effectively within their schools or subject areas. The conference had a focus on a number of key initiatives and areas that need to be addressed if we are to “challenge every child”.

They included: Every Child Matters – the DfES’s five year strategy to put the child at the centre of learning; Harnessing Technology – maximizing a learner’s potential through the personalisation of their learning and development; Learning Platforms; Building Schools for the Future; The need to ensure we provide a safe and secure environment for young people to utilise online resources and that they are aware of the potential dangers of the internet and mobile technologies; The opportunities offered by web 2 technologies and social networking; The new opportunities that are being offered through a UK wide National Education Network and the content and activities freely available for schools to use… and a lot more.

It was good to meet up briefly with Mahreen Abbas and Louise Cerqua from Leagrave Primary School in Bedfordshire. Paul Hutton, Primary Teaching and Learning Consultant for Luton, had introduced me to them and had previously sent me some examples of the excellent work they have been doing with the Myst idea. It was a privilege to show some of their children’s superb work in my presentation. (I will add more examples and add a link HERE when they are “up”)

Thank you and well done to Kathy Olsson, e-Learning Strategy Manager for the East of England Broadband Network for the invite and to all of those involved in organising a superb event.

(I was also glad to have woken this morning to the news of the release of the highly respected reporter Alan Johnston who has been in in my thoughts over the last four months. He has been a key figure for me because of his integrity and positive efforts to report independently about affairs in a difficult area. The last nearly four months have been a remarkably tense time for all of Alan’s colleagues and family.

Alan is a British journalist working for the BBC. He has been the BBC’s correspondent in Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Gaza. He was kidnapped on March 12, 2007 and has been released, after nearly 4 months in captivity.

His captivity led to many protests in the Palestinian territories, as well as the British government meeting a Hamas member for the first time. On April 15 unconfirmed reports claiming that he had been murdered surfaced, later declared by Palestinian intelligence sources to be false. A tape claiming to be from Johnston’s kidnappers surfaced on May 8, leading to renewed hope that he would soon be released, and three weeks later a Hamas spokesperson spoke of his hope that Johnston would be freed quickly. Johnston then appeared in a video released online by his alleged kidnappers on June 1. Hopes were raised for his release in mid-June after Hamas took full control of Gaza and set a deadline for his release, but on June 24 a video of him wearing what he said was an explosive vest was released along with a warning that if attempts were made to rescue him by force it would be detonated.

It is a great relief to know that Alan, who has had respect for those who he has worked alongside, has been released)

Category: 1) Events and Training days, 2) Useful n Interesting

Comments (9)

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  1. Dan N says:

    Very much enjoyed the presentation – very inspiring – apart from the content which was great it was an example of how to use presentation software engagingly – too much death by powerpoint these days!!

    Am also glad Alan Johnson is freed. Lets hope Gilad Shalit, the 19 year old Israeli who has been in captivity in Gaza for a year is also freed soon.

  2. Chris Carter says:

    What a pleasure to be the first to comment! I am sure I echo everyone’s feelings when I say how inspirational I found Tim’s talk this morning, and his workshop which followed. What struck me most was summed up in Tim’s final words: “This ain’t rocket science….” Such a simple idea that is so hugely effective. I am just installing my copy of Myst III now and I look forward to playing it with my own children. Shame I won’t get the chance to use it in school myself, but I shall certainly be pointing others towards it and this website.
    Thanks, Tim, for a talk which has certainly made an impact on me.
    Chris Carter, Hertfordshire

  3. Greg says:

    An inspiring talk about how to make literacy fun and enjoyable, just a great shame that non of our English teachers were there to witness it. I will be telling all about Tim and ‘Myst’ tomorrow!

  4. Paul Hutton says:

    Tim, thanks for such an inspirational (and perspirational) keynote speech (although perspiration did not feature as we sat in sub-polar temperatures in the workshop session). It is so good to hear children being moved to the centre ground of all we do in education, and creativity looming again. Vive la banda machine!

    Many thanks for acknowledging the enthusiasm and hard work of Mahreen and Louise at Leagrave Primary School; they have done SO much work (well, they spent hours playing the game at weekends- does that count?) inspiring their pupils, with clear results. They are a testament to exciting, purposeful, dynamic and child-centred teaching. They have also done wonders to successfully weave thinking skills as a clear strand into the use of Exile in Literacy.

    I also wanted to share a couple of breathtaking phrases from St Matthew’s School from Year 6- describing the opening scene on Tomahna as “fragile terrain” and “fragmented landscape”. WOW.

    Also, in response to the question “Why use “Exile””?
    1. It is breathtakingly beautiful and exciting and engaging from the start
    2. It is of the right certification for use in school!
    3. Children are UTTERLY at one with the architecture of gaming and the underpinning non-cotton wool philosophy- and this is something we need to harness in education. (This is going to be hard hitting and fast paced, in your face, and if you do not succeed, try again…)
    4. No one dies.
    5. There is no such thing as a wrong move or a wrong answer. (Tries not to be drawn in to the Americanism of “There is no such thing as failure- just deferred success…”)

    Enough. Off to write my letter of thanks to the Chief Super for the sterling work of the Community Support Police Officers who came in and took statements from the pupils after Saavedro burst into the study!


    Paul Hutton

  5. Fiona Witton says:

    Hi Tim

    I came and said hello after your workshop – caught you eating lunch – a captive audience! Just wanted to say again how totally inspiring I found your talk and workshop today. I am full of ideas and enthusiasm. I think the children and adults you teach are incredibly lucky! I have found the whole conference really interesting – I am buzzing!
    Thank you!

    Fiona Witton, Norfolk.

  6. Pauline Marsh, Over nr Cambridge says:

    I agree with the above comments… thank you for a charismatic and inspirational talk and workshop at the conference. I have already installed the program and have been exploring the areas, working out how I can use these. I believe in ‘being/ experiencing’ the currriculum for children to really understand what they are learning and this uses ICT to do that. I want to try this out before the end of term with my current class, ready to build on this next year!!!
    We have been working all year on activities that encourage children to ‘think outside the box’, problem solving etc and this would be an ideal activity to see what they can produce.
    Thank you

  7. Ema says:

    Thanks so much – top talk from a top bloke – keep up the amazingly inspiraional message … on to the game now!

  8. Alison Leaver says:

    I so enjoyed your presentation and seminar at E2bn. I am now working my way through Myst 3 under the pretence of preparing it for some special sessions I will be taking with a class of year 5 in the new term! I know that these lessons will make me a very popular person in our school as the news will spread fast about the wonders that they experience using Myst.

  9. I enjoyed very much to listen to Chris Morley and Brendan Routledge conference talk about User Generated Learning and the huge opportunities available from social networking and Web 2.0 tools.

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