I had been looking forward to this event for quite some time, especially as it would give me the chance to meet some of my digital colleagues in an analogue environment (thanks @mrlockyer for the analogy)! @Chrisleach78, his Headmaster (Mark Seymour) and many of the staff at Winchester House School had obviously put a lot of work into organising and promoting the event and a lot of thanks must be given to them.
For me, the event started on Sunday evening by picking up @infernaldepart from Banbury Station and then going onto the Premier Inn at Silverstone. Once there, we met up with several of our online friends for our informal version of #RethinkingICT which we had tagged #RedrinkingICT. It was great to meet with @mrlockyer, @mracolley, @oliverquinlan, @theheadsoffice, @mattpearson, @jennyfer37, @MissPhilbin and @ebd35. I’d booked a table in the adjoining Green Man Pub where the manager had kindly organised our table so that we could eat, talk, drink and watch the football at the same time – will definitely be back here next year!
The following day it was up bright and early for the short drive to #RethinkingICT for morning coffee and biscuits and a chance to say hello to a few people and collect the delegates pack. Then off to the main hall where we took over the stage and seating which was set for a production of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe! The agenda for the day included three 1 hr sessions of delegates doing 10 minute presentations. Rather than me reinvent the wheel, please look at the links below to the unedited notes shared by @sharland via Evernote on the day of the conference. Please also take a visit to Brian’s blog that has lots of fantastic posts, including more detail about #digitalstudies
I believe, also that @chrisleach78 is putting together all the notes from the presentations at the new #RethinkingICT wiki; here you will also find a link to the #digitalstudies wiki which received so much positive feedback on the day of and the days following the conference. I would strongly encourage you to take the time to read @sharland’s notes above in conjunction with the original presentations on the #rethinkingict wiki to get a better flavour of the day.
The presentations continued after lunch and were followed by Breakout Rooms which Chris had organised to encourage further discussion based on the earlier presentations. I obviously started at the #digitalstudies room where we were pleased to see a good number of people who were very positive about the subject that we are proposing. Healthy debate was had about exactly how to assess the work done in the pupils portfolios as, although we would like to move away from traditional grading, many schools’ SLT will still require feedback in the form of levels – @jennyfer37 and @mracolley intend to take this debate further and will hopefully add to the detail on the assessment part of our wiki – Watch this space!
A room of particular interest to me was the Digital Leaders room; this is a brilliant concept to promote pupils to positions of IT leadership and responsibility within their own schools and even the local area. I am very keen to take this further and would recommend you looking into it in your school. I intend to invite pupils to apply for the positions and then, whilst being continually trained, will ask these pupils to run staff training sessions; pupil help clinics; do general running repairs (e.g. printer jams) in their own lessons, make training screencasts and trial software. I genuinely believe that this could be a really big change in schools! To read more about Digital Leaders, visit their website or follow @shelibb or #DLChat on twitter.
In conclusion, the event was very worthwhile and I believe should be an annual one (if Chris is up for it!). In no particular order, I will take away from the day:
- new ideas to use in the classroom
- a new set of ‘analogue’ colleagues
- more encouragement that #digitalstudies has a place in schools
- confirmation that Digital Leaders are a great idea
- greater understanding of the need to really get on top of exactly how to assess ICT
- the need to set up a #digitalstudies blog to promote further discussion
- Confirmation that there are a lot of teachers trying to make ICT or its successor an exciting and useful subject
Thank you once again to @chrisleach78 for all your hard work in setting up this conference!