This weekend was spent at the Lighting the Future joint School Library Association/School Libraries Group/Youth Libraries Group conference and what an exhausting and interesting weekend it was. One of the first highlights for me was listening to Prof. Stephen Heppell opening the conference and astounding us with all the possibilities there are out there for creating an exciting, personalised learning future for young people. I have heard Stephen speak on many occasions but there's always something new to hear.
My own 'appearance' was later in the day and I was slightly nervous to be on a stage with Jonathan Douglas (NLT) and Dave Coplin (Microsoft) but it seemed to go well ......luckily I am rarely lost for words and the subject of new technologies is of course very close to my heart.
Planned barbecue became an indoor one due to the inclement weather and after it we were treated to storytelling and poetry from Liz Weir, John Agard, Atinuke, Alec Williams and Tony Mitton. They were all fantastic but I have to say that Atinuke stood out for me, despite appearing last she had the audience in the palm of her hand.
The group session on Saturday morning chaired by Simon Mayo was very interesting with many a tallying call heard and I loved Aiden Chambers decision that a group of librarians should be called a liberation! I attended a few workshops that day, Nicola McNee's on new media, Adam Lancaster's on the subject of tracking progress and Nikki Heath's on working with public libraries and enjoyed them all but the best thing about any conference like this is the chats that go on in between sessions I think. It's always great to be with like minded people and share ideas. Morris Gleitzman's after dinner speech told us about his life and ended with a wonderful quote about librarians being the storykeepers.
All in all it was a learning and chatter packed weekend and I'm very much looking forward to next year's SLA conference in Belfast. (This is only a brief blog post because I was tweeting most of the weekend so more detail can be found on the Storify stream for conference, produced by John Iona).
This weekend I was lucky enough to attend the CILIP School Libraries Group weekend course, having been asked to lead a seminar and to deliver a keynote speech. This was a little daunting because of the very high calibre of my fellow keynote speakers, Geoff Barton, Phil Bradley and Adam Lancaster to name but a few so I started the course in a rather tentative frame of mind. Of course I was silly to worry, I was soon surrounded by old friends and making new ones and my lovely new iPad 2 was getting a lot of interest! I managed to get to several seminars run by excellent practitioners (Ingrid Hopson, Barbara Band and Lesley Martin) and attended a session on Storyshaping which was extremely interesting. The only complaint I had with the seminars was that there were so many fantastic ones, it was hard to choose which ones to go to. Excellent author talks too, my favourite had to be Robert Muchamore - irreverent, cheeky, funny and totally engaging.
I will admit when I left my job as a school librarian I did not renew my CILIP membership as at that time I did not feel the Institute did enough for school librarians, and that we were rather the forgotten section of the profession but this weekend has restored my faith and I will be renewing my membership today. All of the SLG committee deserve heartfelt thanks for their efforts in organising the course, especially my good friend Laura Taylor who seems tireless and whom I have forgiven for persuading me to speak in the first place ;0) .
I am feeling inspired and re energised after talking and listening to so many amazing people and I'm proud to be a part of this talented group. Yes colleagues are feeling a little worried and apprehensive due to all of the cuts but most of them are also defiant and ready to fight for their jobs, not just for their own sakes but for the young people they work with, whose education would be sadly poorer without dedicated, caring, knowledgeable librarians to help guide them. Very much looking forward to next years conference which will hopefully be a joint one with School Library Association and Youth Libraries Group but it seems much too far away!
So another year, another BETT. Spent Thursday and most of Friday helping out on the Renaissance stand which was fun although nerve racking at times - the day is punctuated by the whack of Neo2s falling on the floor as colleagues demonstrate their durability. Friday afternoon at 3.45 I led a seminar on using social networking and web 2 to bring the world into your classroom, a subject I have spoken on many times so I should have been very confident but I wasn't - I was terrified! guess it was just because it was BETT , I had comforted myself that it would probably be poorly attended but then a friend came to tell me no, it was fully booked so that didn't help my nerves. In the end the session went really well with only 2 people leaving to answer phone calls and many people coming up to ask questions so I needn't have worried. Starting off with the excellent Gotta Keep Reading video helped I think! Spent some time with my friends at Rising Stars afterwards as they had sponsored the session and I was extremely impressed with their new Switched on ICT scheme, looks fantastic and I'm sure it will be popular.
I managed to slip away several times for a quick look round and was very happy to meet up with Bryan and the other guys from Bee-it, such a great website and all free! Watched a session in the Heppel zone about using Facebook as a sort of out of hours advice service with staff having completely separate accounts from their personal ones and groups set up for Work Related Learning etc The idea of getting people from different profession to 'guest' on the groups each week and answer questions was brilliant, and it's always great to hear the student point of view too. Colleague I was with had a try of all the different seats in the zone - wasn't brave enough to sit on a dolphin myself! Had a quick look at the new Eclipse .net iphone app coming from Microlibrarian - as a geeky former librarian I want it!
Saturday was the day for looking around and I brought my long suffering husband with me (he later commented "never again" and remarked that if it was you first BETT as a member of school staff it must be completely overwhelming......yep!) . Enjoyed hearing Children's Laureate Anthony Browne speak on the Scholastic stand and good to reconnect with Mike from I Am Learning and see their iphone app which I think is going to be very popular. Good to hear they are now selling to parents too, I would have loved this for my kids. I was very impressed with My Big Campus from Lightspeed which gives power back to teachers by letting them unblock sites themselves and use youtube videos etc as well as setting up directed access for blocks of time. Students would love the Facebook/Twitter like aspects of Big Campus too. Apart from this I was a little disappointed this year - products shown seemed very samey and I didn't find much else that caught my eye. Sadly didn't get time to go to any of the Teachmeet Takeovers ;0( ......next year must try harder, sounded wonderful from the comments on Twitter. I think many people only came for these awesome free demonstrations, probably not much money about this year but there are still diamonds hidden amongst the dross. Roll on next year!
Went to the GBL conference last week and it was absolutely fantastic. I've been putting off this post to be honest, can't possibly do the event justice in the same way that others have (@dawnhallybone etc) but I will give my impressions anyway. I was a little dubious about attending as ...shhhhhh whisper it.....I'm not actually a gamer (apart from an increasing addiction to Lineup 2 on my iphone) so I was worried I'd feel a little out of it. Of course there was also the librarian tag to contend with so I entered the venue with excitement yes but some trepidation too. Pleased to say I need not have worried - everyone was very friendly and indulged my ignorance happily, guess gamers just love talking about games! So many fantastic presentations that it feels mean to pick just some as my favourites but here goes:
@olliebray and others including @BrianMcL talking about eyepet - I had never seen this before and I absolutely love it, I want one! This was just one thing Ollie talked about and I had sore fingers by the end of his session, what with tweeting and taking notes I was quite exhausted
@mattmason talking about the advisability of becoming a pirate - he's a brilliant speaker and turned my ideas of fair use on their head (you can download Matt's book here http://tinyurl.com/65awsj)
@derekrobertson and others talking about all the amazing games based learning projects Scotttish schools are doing, almost made me want to move
@timrylands presentation which was engaging and fun to watch, students designed cool looking games in just 20 minutes. Starting the session by throwing giant foam balls around the room certainly got our attention and got everyone laughing and playing straight away
@stephenheppell talking to use live from Tasmania during TeachMeet having stayed up until some ungodly hour like 5a.m. to do so
A young lady called Edith (15 years old) who talked to us about how mind numbingly boring her IT classes are and kept us amused with her sharp wit - she will go far
@wonderlandblog (Alice Taylor) outlining new games Channel 4 will be releasing soon including a boy centric sexual health one and one that deals with the subject of self image for teenage girls. Both look excellent and as I am already familiar with and like their internet safety game, Smokescreen I'm looking forward to seeing these new ones.
@dawnhallybone & @duck_star used a Presi to tell us all about using wii fit with students - wonderful quote from a dyspraxic student " before using this I didn't know I was good at PE!"
@jesseschell’s closing address live via video link from the U.S. was amazing ‘If you can make education beautiful, customised, shared and real... everybody wins’
As I’ve said just about all of the presentations (with one notable exception that we won’t talk about) were fantastic and so inspiring. The Twitter back channel was really amusing, the game invented for the conference was entertaining and entailed throwing pants, tomatoes etc at people! It was wonderful to meet up with people that I had previously only known from Twitter and I increased my Personal Learning Network considerably.Loads of stuff I want to follow up on - Scratch for example, that I hadn’t seen much before and looks awesome, especially when free content from other sources such as Flickr is added into it. I want to find out more about Ribbon Hero for Microsoft Office and Microsoft Worldwide Telescope and I have downloaded Drop7 onto my iPhone on the recommendation of Margaret Robertson and I think it may well become addictive.
Some presenters showed videos as part of their presentations and judging by the grins on children’s faces and their absorption in the tasks they were given using games is such a powerful aid to learning I don’t think it’s acceptable for any educator to dismiss it without finding out more. There are so many brilliant practitioners leading the way that there is no excuse for colleagues burying their heads in the sand because they don’t know where to start or don’t see the point – have a look at what other people are doing and follow their lead. This is only a very brief account of what were an action packed couple of days but if you want to know more the videos of presentations are here http://bit.ly/gbl10vids , do watch some of them and I’m sure you will see just what a great conference it was.
My blog is a collection of thoughts and I hope you will learn something about me from the ramblings as well as finding some useful links. I'm Bev Humphrey and I'm a Literacy, School Libraries and Technology Consultant. I am self employed so views expressed are solely my own.