I was sure that my phone was sufficiently charged, to get me to my hotel at least where I could charge it up fully. I was counting on it, or rather, on Google Maps, to direct me to St. Giles International, venue for the Developing Managers in the Digital Age (28/29 Nov) conference, but I had got the ‘very early’ coach from Cardiff, and had left home at a silly hour so the phone had been on all night. That long walk around The Serpentine was probably ill-advised too. Anyhow, I was relatively near to my destination when it ran out of charge and I had the Dickens of a time trying to find St. Giles. When I did eventually arrive, the receptionist kindly printed, on good old paper, a map of the area and marked out, in good old Biro, the route to my hotel.
The question of perceived reliance upon technology and gadgetry, and the possible ramifications, constituted a significant undercurrent to the proceedings over the next evening and following day, if not of the actual presentations then of wonderfully stimulating discussion groups that took place over the Saturday afternoon. For the most part, the talks were aimed at helping the assembled academic managers to think about how to best incorporate tech in our schools, what tools might be most beneficial and how an effective ICT framework can be developed and incorporated.
A host of speakers, including Nik Peachey, Rachael Fionda and Shaun Wilden among others delivered their talks to much interest and engagement, and a refreshingly collaborative atmosphere manifested from session to session. In conversation with other attendees during breaks, I was somewhat relieved to encounter both the same enthusiasm and caution with which I generally regard the apparent rush towards the technological classroom. While some of the attendees I spoke to were pretty far down the line, using class sets of tablets for students and employing a range of little-known apps on an everyday basis, others, to the question of “What is the most useful app for learning English?”‘ echoed with the answer “the teacher!”
Where most seemed in agreement was on the usefulness of online tools such as ‘mailVU’, introduced by Mr Peachey, in bringing notions of the ‘flipped classroom’ into actuality with the use of recordings, and how those teachers reluctant to take the plunge, or even dip a toe into the possibilities of the technological classroom will only be persuaded by demonstration of how such changes and additions can benefit their students’ learning.
I think most will have come away from the conference, as I have, with lots of ideas and be looking forward to putting them to the test in 2015!
If you or anyone you know attended the conference, please do leave a comment and let us know how it was for you.
Director of Studies
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