Thoughts of an @ICTEvangelist

| November 21, 2011

Thank you to Mark Anderson (or @ictevangelist on Twitter) head of ICT, PGCE Mentor at Clevedon School, recently judged “Outstanding” by Ofsted, for sending us some thoughts on how he his applied some of the tools, and ideas, we shared at past conferences:

“This post goes back some way to include some thoughts from inspirations I’ve received over the past few years from two inspirational ICT speakers that I have seen and consequently worked with on various projects. Meeting these insightful characters marked the beginning of a journey for me which has led me to a place where I now am hopefully able to inspire and lead others in a similar way. I guess too that this post is a celebration and recognition of the work that Tim and Andy (and others) do tirelessly to promote the use of ICT in schools and the recognition that they deserve for their efforts. I know they’ve inspired me and I know through networking with many others via Twitter – they’ve inspired many others too…

This post will move forward and discuss the current state of affairs with the use of ICT in schools, the effectiveness of blogging and the power both ICT and blogging can have on engaging and inspiring students and teachers with the learning and teaching that takes place in schools all over the UK.

Firstly, let me take a step back in time to the summer of 2009 where I saw Andy Hutt and Tim speak at the South West Grid for Learning Conference held at UWE.

Andy gave a brilliant keynote at the time called ‘Reasons to be cheerful’ and here he went through a talk about how different Web 2.0 tools were changing the landscape of how teachers were able to utilise ICT tools in their teaching and learning. Yes, it was ICT, but not as we know it. Nothing was branded by Microsoft or Apple – these were just amazing tools, all for free, that could be found online and used in the classroom to inspire, elevate and shift teaching and learning in the classroom through the effective use of ICT -  reasons to be cheerful for sure.

Later that day in 2009 I saw Tim speak, talking about the power of blogging in schools and the inspiration this can bring and how it can improve literacy amongst young people in schools. He gave multiple examples of how schools were using blogs and the power that they have had to also engage parents in the school communities too – both as a communication tool (e.g. on snow days) but also upon reflecting on school life, learning and teaching.

Move forward to 2011 and I’ve now been working with Andy in his role as PGCE tutor at Bath University having PGCE students working at the school in which I work. I’ve also been lucky enough again to see Tim Rylands speak again at the summer SWGfL conference where he delivered a session titled ‘Using ICT to inspire…’

Here Tim talked about all manner of different ICT tools to inspire teachers and learners where he went through an absolutely huge number of resources.

In this post I wanted to reflect to Tim (and to a certain extent Andy as he features too in my journey as the @ICTEvangelist) – since that session  and the session I talked about back in 2009, I’ve been ever so busy evangelising about many of the tools and ideas shared on those days. In Tim’s session in the summer of 2011 I particularly enjoyed the human aspect of the presentation with the ‘iLighter’ part where Tim again showed how ICT could be used in a fun way, to engage learners (us in this example) and get us invested in the session even more than we already were.

In order to feed back and let Tim know about how I’ve been developing things since 2009 I want to talk about some of the impacts he has had on my practice and 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. More and more use of Twitter by staff for their own professional development, by the school as a communication tool, by department areas, by houses

8. Blogging, both embedded on the school site, my own blog (http://ictevangelist.com), student blogs, tutor group blogs, house blogs

9. Teachmeets taking place where learning and inspiration has been shared in a similar fashion

10. Delivery of CPD to all members of staff in the school (and I am sure in far more places than just where I work).

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 core of iWork or Office. 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 created by these ICT muses is too big to be measured in statistical terms, but it is great – noticeably, the ethos and quality level and inspiration of students in the ICT subject area and beyond is still improving and I put that largely down to the inspiring ideas I have picked up from the talks at the #SWGfL conference and working with these amazing characters. Vive la ICT!

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

Thank you Tim

Mark

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

Thank you Mark. It has been great to hear how you have been taking off and flying with these, and many other, tools. We hope that we can make it along to one of your excellent Teachmeet Clevedon’s too.

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

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