To Infinity & Beyond

TeachMeet Brighton 29 September hosted by City College, an event within Brighton Digital Festival was a fantastic opportunity for Teachers, PGCE and GTP professionals to share, network and have a fabulous curry.

I missed the first session, but everyone was excited about the presentations, and the buzz when I arrived, was fantastic. This was my opportunity to stand proud on my “soap box” and tell my peers what I had been up to.

My 7 minutes of fame, was a review of ICT Activities 2011 week at my previous school in Crawley, West Sussex. I described the process of generating the initial idea, “what topic/strand should I choose for the students to work on all week: Robotics, Animation, Android Phone Application Development, Games Development?” There was actually no choice – being a greedy geek, I went with them all! Pre Production Background

I have never experienced the intensity of engagement, the students demonstrated that week. The experience was similar to an Operations room in a major war, students hunched over laptops, pieces of Lego Mindstorms or working on the next frame of their animation – AWESOME.

At the end of the week I awarded prizes for each category, topical magazines and work experience opportunities for the older students to work with developers in Brighton. 1 small group of 3 students went to work with Locomatrix on a location based game and a second group of 3 students to work on the national Young Rewired State competition with Nixon McInnes. I was certainly the proudest ICT teacher in the Land this summer, my students won prizes for “The idea the Government should take on board” awarded by Cabinet Office official Jonathan Luft (included: prizes donated by Stephen Fry – signed copy of  his book and an iPhone4, plus 2 HP laptops).  I haven’t even mentioned the fabulous write up in the Guardian by Jemima Kiss, totally name checked my students 🙂

The final questions, statements and learnings:

  • As both Teachers and Students, we require the time and resources to explore, investigate and try things out – what happened to encouraging “Inquiring Minds”?
  • Unrealised Potential – there are hundreds of students in our classrooms who share our passion for our subjects, but in the current system we will not discover them.  Every school should be running Activities WEEK and enrichment programs to help us find our stars.
  • Firewalls – it really is time for LEAs, Govenors, Head Teachers and Network Managers to annually review the controls required.  Students are being taught e-safety in Primary, they are more discerning about their use of the Internet.
  • Investigate, explore, create – we do not have to teach every child everything!  give them the software, resources or tools and they will “poke it” until it works.