ICT In Your Hands: 2011 Annual SWGfL ICT Conference, Bristol

| July 5, 2011 | 6 Comments 

A joy to be almost “at home” with The South West Regional ICT Conference held at the University of the West of England (UWE) Conference Centre, near Bristol.

I cut my teeth at the South West Regional ICT Conference and will be eternally grateful for the kindness and support from the folk who have been behind this event for the last thirteen years.

Our workshop looked at many different technologies, and how they can be applied in the classroom by teachers and children, with, or without each other.

Perhaps the theme of today should have been “Learning in THEIR Hands”.

In this goal driven age, we could think that education is imparting a body of knowledge, rather than a shared journey of discovery. There are so many pressures put upon educators these days that enjoyment, inspiration, creativity, and fun can be forced out of the classroom.

We need to inspire young people and fire their imaginations; enhance their creativity and confidence so they can pick ideas up and start to juggle with them; encourage resourcefulness through challenge, but also the ability to reflect, change and benefit from the experience of others; to motivate a love of learning for life.

Fascination is a tool that can be easily neglected. This digital world, when mixed with the analogue, brings such potential for communication.

Technology is not the only answer… but, it does open up some remarkable opportunities, to extend teaching and learning styles.

We took apart the powerful effect of using many useful Web2 tools and software (most of it FREE), hand-held devices, games and more, – modelling a way of teaching, where quality learning is the focus rather than the latest gadget; ‘what is said, rather than what is used to say it’.

After showing a huge, yet hopefully accessible, range of ways to engage, and motivate students of all ages, and abilities,we also aimed to reinforce how these elements are not only essential for quality learning experiences to take place, but how they can also have a massive impact on standards, achievement… and enjoyment!

As ever, there were almost TOO many superb presentations and things to see. The conference is entitled ICT In Your Hands. A slight nod to the evolving environment, where many of the usual support mechanisms, so strong here in the South west, are changing. But also a call to challenge our thinking, discover new tools and products, tips and techniques within the ICT and Education arena that support and enrich teaching and learning, be part of an environment which encourages the sharing of best practice and network, discovering tools and resources and taking away initiatives that can be put into practice straight away.

A great keynote from Ewan McIntosh. So many elements to write about. “So little time”. These are rambling notes that don’t do Ewan any justice. He made me think so much.

Do we provide the tools that children need to achieve their goals, or ours?

Curriculum of what it COULD BE rather than what it IS.

Children chosing what they are going to read because of what it looks like to others. (Ewan admitted to putting different covers around the outside of more embarrassing books).

Children struggle if they are not inspired or engaged. Boredom is such a powerful motivator for inventiveness. “I capture everything”. Recording more than just the end product – filming recording the ongoing process.

We have to capture everything because what you think you have seen today will change tomorrow as learning and perception change.

The idea of having a technology-less project corner with post-it notes because you can bump in to it rather than search for it, they can be picked up moved shared and thrown away.

Post digital experience – digital experiences, and ways of working, translated in to the physical world

How might we use technology comes second.

Mobile phones are “secret spaces”, not in the deviant sense, but in the way that you can research instantly and in your way. The joy that mobile phones are instant – what it takes 20 minutes to achieve by going to the laptop trolley etc can be achieved in 20 seconds on a phone.

The idea that we create light open airy spaces when students NEED secret dark spaces for learning.

A QR code on the front of a building and when you scan it you are able to read all of the tweets emanating from that space. Will it ever happen?

Ewan talked about the TEDX Kids events they set up – or rather helped a group of children organize.

Perhaps the theme of today should have been “Learning in THEIR Hands”.

And the quote of the day for me:

“Mum. How do traffic lights work”?

“Ask your dad”

“Mum! I don’t want to know THAT much about it”!

The most powerful aspect for me though was Ewan’s films of famous conductors and how they “led” orchestras: a stranglehold and domineering, or joyously relaxed, silent yet expressive and leading effectively without leading.

It was also great to spend some more time chatting with Sugata Mitra about how many of the elements he explored with his Hole in the Wall project fitted in with Ewan’s ideas for getting children to plan and develop their own learning styles and experiences.

Sugata’s keynote was an emotive and, at times, emotional experience looking at the Hole in the Wall Project . Children (in India) developing the skills to lead their own learning again.

Perhaps the theme of today should have been “Learning in THEIR Hands”.

A joy to catch up with, and record a session, with Russell Prue for his Anderton Tiger radio show. Russell talked about how radio is gaining new credance, and power in the classroom. “Radio2.0” as Russell called it (and what a great phrase that is eh?) means that students of all ages and abilities are generating their own content. It gives a real reason for children to want to refine, revise, poilsh up and hone their speaking (and listening) skills. It makes the walls of a school transparent, and motivates some remarkable results.

Children, who might have been reluctant to play with langauage, start to pick words up and juggle them, when they are given an audience through radio. A real sense of purpose. You can listen back to Russell’s programme on the Anderton Tiger site.


Absolutely brilliant speaker with tons of ideas.
Best seminar of the day – people came out absolutely buzzing!
Brilliant, very inspiring.
Excellent presentation. Fantastic set of resources.
Excellent with brilliant ideas, great presentation.
Fantastic seminar with enthusiastic speaker.
Inspirational as always! “We need all staff to see this!”
OUTSTANDING!!!! Superb seminar save the best till last!
Really fab and helpful! Lots of great web links and ideas to take back to school.
Truly fantastic. It was worth coming just for this.
Truly inspirational and practical
Very enjoyable and engaging
Very inspirational
absolutely amazing. tim rylands for prime minister
the best seminar of the day
Outstanding. Excellent resources shown and very informative that would really impact on my teaching.
We missed it! Every other session had a ‘call’ we were at the exhibition and missed the time slot, confused
by running late!
Very exciting, but so much in it, it is a bit daunting to know where to start. Rylands is always good value and
keeps the audience interest. Next year too please
Speaker was inspiring and enthusiastic. A great amount of resources and exmaple on how they can be
used. A fantastic session
Absolutely fascinating – a rollercoaster ride – I need to spend time going
through these amazing webites / free software
Wow! A fantastic range of free websites to support learning across the curriculum. An engaging-and
inspiring- presentation.
Absolutely brillant – should be a keynote speaker. Tim is inspiring with all his free sites but still brings it back
to teaching and learning
Always a treat to hear Tim talk, jammed packed with free web 2.0 tools that could be taken straight back
into classrooms.
Fantastic! Best part of the day, to inspire as a co-ordinator, just wish my whole staff could have seen Tim!

Category: 1) Events and Training days

Comments (6)

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  1. Chris Fryer says:

    Amazing talk today – thank you. Will you be posting the list of wonderful links on this site, or is already there somewhere I can’t find it?…

  2. Chris Fryer says:

    Agh. How embarrassing. It’s exactly where you said it would be; on the page that you gave us the link to several times. Duh.

  3. Looks like it was a fab day. Shame we couldn’t do the same in Plymouth. Need a chat about Governors.

  4. Thanks for a great session yesterday Tim – really inspirational and packed to the hilt with amazing ideas. Appreciate all the links to the resources you went through too; I’ll be sharing these with my school when I’m back in Manila in August. I particularly liked the green-screen example and the music composition – powerful stuff.

    Cheers for the notes above. We have Jackie Beere coming out to do some training with us during our INSET week and I think some of the tools you demoed yesterday will go really well with the creative projects we’ll be planning to kick off our new school year with.

  5. Joe says:

    Typical – I was presenting at the same event (Oscar was also there) – 🙂


  6. Dear Tim,

    Apologies for taking so long to write a comment on this blog post – I’ve been so busy evangelising about many of the tools you showed on the day. I really enjoyed the human aspect of the presentation with the ‘iLighter’ part being a personal highlight that made it all the more enjoyable. Let’s talk about some of the impacts in the School where I work.

    1. I shared the bit.ly group that you gave us with colleagues – some of the sites there have impacted across different subject areas in the School – most notably Geography with Extreme Planet Makeover, the Terragen stuff and Geoplanet. Other subject areas that benefited included Science (Exploratorium resources / Scale of the universe)

    2. Digital leaders – two of our digital leaders were so inspired by some of the sites I shared, they presented at TeachMeet 4 of the sites demoed e.g. Odosketch, Linoit)

    3. German students visiting the school finding pictures of the local area on Tag Galaxy, saving them locally and then turning them in to works of art using Psykopaint

    4. Tutor activities examining news stories from around the world via Newsmap.

    5. LSU using ‘Again but slower’ to support students research/work in their unit.

    6. A plethora of wall/plasma displays utilising Wordles and Tagxedos – and students creating them too.

    7. Part of the biggest impact has been in helping to raise the ethos and interest levels in ICT.

    With students regularly being tied to MS Office products (which are great in their own right) it has been really liberating for students to learn about how they can use alternative Web2.0 tools to complete their work – not being completely tied to the MS monopoly. That has lead to students creating Prezi’s, working collaboratively on Linoit, Wallwisher and more (I’ve found Corkboard.me useful). Sharing Popplets and Spicynodes and taking photos of learning in the classroom and putting them together using Photosynth and Autostitch. The list goes on, as does yours… the impact can’t really be measured, but noticeably, the ethos and quality level and inspiration of students in the ICT subject area is still improving and I put that largely down to the inspiring ideas I picked up from you in your talk at #SWGfL11. Thank you!

    Now if we could only get you on a free day to talk at #tmclevedon!!

    Thank you Tim RylandS


    ps, We’ve even got a vertical tutor group blog now on Posterous too – tied in to the Quadblogging model as well!

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