Bev's adventures in ICT

Posts tagged ‘Scholastic’

Top of the World

Firstly – an apology for the recent lack of blog posts! I can safely say that it’s been a little bit busy!! Not so long ago I was in Newcastle at the Northern Grid conference; talking about ICT and inclusion. Then last week I had a whirlwind trip to London to pick up a TES Award where I got to put on a posh frock and chat to a lot of great people, including the famous Mr Thorne of ‘Mr Thorne Does Phonics‘ fame. It was a fantastic event and everybody I came across was really lovely, so I’ve got to say a big thank you to the TES team – you guys rock! Anyway, apart from the great excitement of the TES awards I had a few things that were going on just before and then just after: namely TeachMeet ThinkBig and Reflect and Share. Here’s a short report on each.

TeachMeet ThinkBig was small but perfectly formed. Due to the change of date we managed to clash with a few other things that were on but we managed to have a great time in any case. It was fairly amazing that anyone got to take part – our network crashed at 10am that morning and was still not working properly at 3pm. We managed it though and, thanks to the team at NGFL Cymru, it got streamed as well. Because we were in a fairly informal setting we managed to forget about the camera and have quite long discussions among ourselves – I’m sorry if this spoilt anyone’s viewing pleasure but there were a few newbies there and lots of questions were asked in between presentations. We had a number of virtual presentation from some great people I’ve got to know through Twitter, including this one from Mike McSharry (which had all of the attendees scribbling notes furiously), a couple from Alessio Bernardelli (including this one on using mind mapping properly) and a fantastic presentation on thinking skills in science from Claire Lotriet (there were many more great vidoes and I will add details to the wiki soon). We also had some interesting live presentations from Dave Stacey, who had some interesting ideas on how to use a text book, and Rosemary Davies, who shared a load of free web tools and talked about using Edmodo as a learning platform. I also gave a few presentations, mainly showing people a few things they may not have seen. One included a new variation of the old traffic light fans (I’ll talk about this at a later date in full) and later on I demonstrated 2Connect and explained why it’s such a great program for developing mind mapping in younger pupils or those with ALN. I also shared a few ideas that I’ve posted on here that I felt linked in with other presentations, especially ones that allowed for a bit of creativity or supported what was said in the presentations. In fact I probably talked way too much…(and that’s hardly ever the case).

Of course the Reflect and Share session, which took place on Wednesday, was quite different, This involved Year 6 pupils sharing their ideas about their learning and resources and activities they thought were worthwhile and eahc child involved made their own presentation or gave a demo to the staff who attended. We had presentation on a whole range of activities including developing problem solving skills by using Machinarium, using unusual images to inspire poetry, movement in art (inspired by work on Jackson Pollock), developing writing skills using Myst, using Wordle and other word based ideas and creating music using Incredibox and Isle of Tune (which I’ve talked about here). I don’t want to miss any presentations out here (pupils were brilliant and every presentation had something to offer) so the others were about the use of ebooks in the classroom (highlighting the books we have from Rising Stars), using Purple Mash at home and in class (everyone seems constantly amazed by how much content is available through it), using BlockCAD lego to link to DT, Prezi, Primary Pad and Primary Wall (this included live demos – staff were very impressed), our school library, how after school clubs have helped pupils improve skills, using Class Pet in class and at home (especially the maths activities), learning logs and Pivot Stick Figure. I was really proud of all of the pupils who took part (twenty one in all) but what I felt was truly fantastic was the way they had obviously taken on board things I had shown them or introduced them to and then taken it in their own direction. Hopefully it’s the sort of event that will take off in other areas – it was certainly worthwhile!

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London Calling!

So the BETT Show has been and gone and it seemed like it was all over in a flash! There was much to take in and admire but there was also an opportunity to look around and think ‘How are schools going to afford all this amazing stuff (are you listening Microsoft 365)?’. That’s not to say everything I saw was amazing mind you: much of the hardware on offer looked very impressive, but is there really a place for 3d technology (plus other new, yet misplaced, innovations) in the classroom? I’d take some convincing on that one…

 

The awe inspiring Kevin McLaughlin works TMTakeover

Much of the BETT experience for me was about sharing ideas with other like minded educationalists and I feel this was, by far, the most successful element of BETT. Thanks to great people like Dave SmithIan Addison and Ian Usher (plus a whole host of others – apologies for not including you all) events like Collabor8 4 ChangeTeachMeet Takeover and TeachMeet BETT 2011 were unbelievably inspiring, welcoming, inclusive and well organised. They were also well attended and supported, suggesting that these are the sorts of ‘events’ the people that matter (i.e. those actively involved in education) want to be part of: I hope others are taking note.

 

Anthony from 2Simple showcases PurpleMash with a bit of help from the audience

I have to say I felt very honoured (and lucky) to be invited to speak at the 2Simple software stand and be part of their team at Collabor8 4 Change. I feel the (2)simple and intuitive nature of PurpleMash, in addition to their other software  packages, are really blazing a trail and showing people how to make good software that is both accessible and inclusive for ALL pupils, including those with Special Educational or Additional Learning Needs,  from Early Years to Ks2 and beyond. While on the stand over the three days I was there I got to watch all sorts of inspiring presentations from both members of the 2Simple team, and other great educators, which gave me loads more ideas of how to use their great products in the classroom. I also looked at their new development Mash 2 Web (thanks Philip – it looks AMAZING) and had a closer look at 2Start English, which looks like it could be useful to use with a large number of pupils from different settings: not just those pupils who might need a bit of support learning English but also in the average Foundation classroom. Well done guys – and thanks for making me feel so welcome. Your stand was buzzing with excitement and anticipation throughout the event – testament to the brilliant work you do! It was also great to see so many people from SEN settings coming and having a look as I think this is an area that is not always best served by what is marketed as ‘accessible’.

 

The truly amazing Anthony Browne on the Scholastic stand

A special shout out also has to go to the ever wonderful Chris Ratcliffe (honestly – he’s fantastic) and the team on the Scholastic stand. Like 2Simple, Scholastic understand what schools need and produce products which enhance the teaching and learning experience rather than items which make the whole process more complicated. They are also very supportive of the TeachMeet idea: I managed to complete a hat trick of TM Takeovers on their stand, one of which occurred just after I’d stepped off the train.  I hope my presentations were useful – I can’t really remember what happened! Lots of other TMtakeovers took place on their stand over the four days and it was a pleasure to present and watch everything going on there. High spot, for me and many others, was the launch for Scholastic’s fantastic new literacy resource: Read and Respond Engage (well worth checking out), where I managed to meet Children’s Laureate Anthony Browne (as seen in the pic above). They’ve also got some great new science resources at Scholastic: just check out their website!!!

The legendary Dughall participates in Kevin's TMTakeover slot

In case you are wondering if this blog post is ever going to reach a conclusion I’m going to finish with a few things I loved at BETT. Apologies to anyone I leave out – there were so many great things to see: real ‘diamonds among the rough’ if you’ll pardon the expression. Here’s my top ten (not including the ones I spoke about above)…

  1. Meeting back up with great people I chat to on Twitter: the best place to build an effective PLN in my opinion. Particular mention should go to my good friend @EBD35 (we were the only attendees to the exclusive Häagen Daz TeachEat!!!!), without whom…etc…etc… but I met many other wonderful people, many for the first time, who were happy to put up with my fairly effervescent personality, willing to share ideas and supportive at the different events I was involved in. You know who you are and you’re all marvellous!
  2. Watching the fabulous Tim Rylands , and his posse, talking about the amazing Epic Citadel project and how it inspired children’s writing. That was followed up by showing and sharing great ipad apps and talking about the impact they have in the classroom. You can read all about it here!
  3. I loved the format of the Collabor8 4 Change event: it was lovely to be chatting and sharing/presenting ideas in small groups and needs to take place more often.
  4. Being at Kevin McLaughlin’s TMTakeover (see earlier photo): great ideas and a huge crowd gathered as it was so engaging. Staff on nearby stands had to stand around and wait for punters to return as he drew them in from all areas. He also admitted that he occasionally picks up the guitar in class in a Jack Black stylee…
  5. Taking part in the TeachMeet: great again to meet people and all the presentations offered something to take away. Special mention should go to Bill Lord (‘don’t throw that camel – I’m not a well man’) and the LEGENDARY’ Dughall (that’s as in ‘The Magic Roundabout’ people – please remember) McCormick, talking about how a VLE engaged pupils during closures caused by snow while, simultaneously, wearing part of a Sonic the Hedgehog costume that prevented him from being able to actually see the screen. Pure class!!!
  6. Meeting up with Welsh Tweeps and talking about future TeachMeets in Wales (amongst other things). There’s one in Cardiff very soon! It was particularly nice to meet up with Karen and Ceri – two Welsh people who are trying to get others involved in creating PLN via Twitter. Diolch yn fawr!
  7. On Friday I mentioned TMTakeover to someone I was sitting next to at the Tim Rylands seminar. On Saturday I saw them in the audience during my TMTakeover. Result!! (and thanks).
  8. Rising Stars have a great new ICT product out called Switched on ICT. The launch on their stand was packed with fabulous people including Neil Adam and Miles Berry, both of whom made me feel at ease immediately. It was also great to see Andrea Carr again, she is always busy but makes time to talk to people: is a truly lovely person.
  9. I had a lovely welcome at the Mayer-Johnson stand where I was truly impressed by their developments in communication aids (custom skins for Dynavox – what a great idea) and Boardmaker which is now easier to use and has loads of great new features and teaching tools. Also thinking about supporting pupils with SEN: I loved the SMART table but it is a bit pricey for many schools at the moment I fear. I could also see how Anithings could enhance learning in an SEN (and Foundation) setting: thanks to John Sutton for sharing.
  10. Did I mention Anthony Browne…?

Boys will be boys…

Boys. What can you do with them? Never a day goes by when you don’t read or watch something relating to improving attainment in boys. It wasn’t that long ago that we chatted about the differences between boys and girls learning styles on ukedchat and we’ve also seen Gareth Malone recently going on about it on our TV screens. Getting boys engaged in learning is the hot topic of the moment. Everyone’s trying to do something about it. Both Pie Corbett and Tim Rylands give inspiring insets on storytelling, poetry, using Myst, and getting kids interested and there are plenty more people who do the same thing. You can get fabulous ebooks and graphic novels (many from Rising Stars who sponsored TeachMeet Pembs) and  Scholastic’s interactive Read and Respond are also full of inspiring ideas  let’s face it, who doesn’t like Stig of the Dump?).

Just recently I’ve been enthusiastic about visual literacy – great for engaging pupils of all levels. I’ve found some great resources linked a few different titles. If you’ve not checked out The Mysteries of Harris Burdick I’d suggest you check it out! There are a number of resources for it on both You Tube and SlideShare and there are also great resources based on books by Shaun Tan and David Wiesner . There are, additionally, some great video resources available online that they could use in class in a similar way, including a number of Pixar shorts and items from both the BFI and Film Education. Well worth investigating!

ICT can be a good way in when it comes to getting boys engaged in learning.  This is just as true for pupils with SEN and here are some great ideas!  The youngest pupils, many of whom might not be ready for a mouse, can have fun using the Switch activities on Help Kidz Learn (which are also set up to work with a space bar if you don’t have switches) while those slightly can enjoy exploring the land of the Red Fish. Pupils also enjoy accessing 2Paint a Picture and some of the PurpleMash Paint Projects using a touch screen. Older children are just can have lots of fun using the fantastic Publish Projects, again on PurpleMash, which really help them because the features (like the prompts and videos) are just so inspirational and inclusive. I’d also suggest using 2CASS to present work, another fabulously inclusive tool, which I’ll be blogging about at a later date. I’m sure these activities will be loved and adored by any number of boys (and girls) so why not try them out.

We’ll keep a welcome in the hillside…

I am just about fully recovered from the first ever TeachMeet Pembs, an event I organised which took place on Tuesday just gone. I can’t remember much of it  , I don’t know how I managed it but, encouraged by a whole gang of Twitter bods, I went with it and the results are available for you to view via Ian Addison’s blog. A few people have already blogged about the event from a spectators point of view so I want to reflect on the actual organisation of it.

It all started as a bit of a joke. I am located on the tip of West Wales, as close to Ireland as I am to England. Loads of great TeachMeets were going on in England and Scotland but they were all miles away and it was frustrating that I could only join in, usually, via FlashMeeting or by watching the live feed and commenting on Twitter. Then I got the chance to go to TeachMeet BETT 2010 and take part in TeachMeet Takeover and immediately I was hooked. Ideas. both big and small, were shared freely and the atmosphere was very supportive and relaxed. I left BETT wanting to repeat the experience as often as possible but still there were no TeachMeets happening in Wales so it was back to the Flashmeetings for me. Then, on afternoon, I ended up in front of two computers trying to watch and follow two very different TeachMeet events: TeachMeet Hants and the BMobLe Conference and later that night, via Twitter, I bemoaned the lack of TeachMeets happening in Wales. I thought that would be it.

I was, of course, quite wrong. When people worked out where I lived it was suggested that an informal ‘holiday style’ Teach Meet could be organised on my doorstep during the summer holidays, thus giving rise to the event’s hashtag name – TMBev. There was talk of camping, guitars, pubs and it carried on in that jokey way for a little while until…someone said they would be prepared to actually come. Okay, I thought, I’d better get organising!! Luckily there was a lot of help out there, particularly from the aforementioned (and totally wonderful) Ian Addison who has a great ‘How to organise a TeachMeet’ guide available (I’m sure he’ll share if you ask nicely 🙂 )

I could not have sorted things for this event without help from a number of key people so here goes with the list! Firstly the people who started the joke in the first place (you know who you are but I’m naming and shaming anyway): Bill Lord, James Langley, Kevin McLaughlin and Dughall McCormick and those who slowly convinced me it would be a good idea: Dawn Hallybone, Anthony Evans, Chris Ratcliffe and Ian Addison. All of these people made me think that the event would be a bit like Field of Dreams…’if you build it, they will come’ which wasn’t totally the case but it gave me the push I needed to get things moving in the right direction. Then there was the support of my Head Teacher, who allowed me to travel up to Blackpool for their TeachMeet and see how it was done, and from my local ICT advisory teacher, Duncan Whitehurst who helped with the behind the scenes technical stuff and also came along to present! I also need to mention our fabulous sponsors, some of whom just picked up the tweets and offered support: take a bow 2Simple Software, Scholastic, Maxi Map (from Llanelli – our first local sponsor), Rising Stars, BrainPOP UK and Primary Pad,  and Welsh based ones that I emailed directly: Daydream Education and Gomer Books. Without the support of any of these people there just wouldn’t have been a TeachMeet in Pembrokshire so thanks for helping it happen.

Of course we wouldn’t have had a Teachmeet at all if there hadn’t been presenters and an audience ,and you can see most of them on the little video above.  I was amazed at how far some people were prepared to travel to take part, or even just observe, and I truly appreciate their attendance and participation. Some people even went above and beyond the call of duty just to be there and join in! Mary Farmer endured a few days of sleeping in my shed to attend before heading off on her holiday break. Simon Haughton, Ian Addison, Colin Hill and Charlie Deane somehow crammed attending, presenting and assisting with the event into an already tight schedule of meetings, holidays and other stuff – words fail me. With true dedication to the cause both Mandy Barrow and Jo Liversidge plumped for the full on holiday experience, combining TeachMeet with the glory of Pembrokeshire. And I don’t want to forget the Welsh teachers who came, none of whom had ever been to a TeachMeet and two of whom, Sheila Furniss and Dave Stacey were brave enough to give presentations!

So that’s about it! TeachMeet Pembs was certainly an experience to remember and, hopefully, I’ll get round to organising another TeachMeet in the future and another batch of interested people will come along. I’ve already included links to some blog posts that talk about the presentations and ideas that we shared so I hope you enjoy checking them out. You can also check out an archive of Top Tweets (thanks again Ian) connected with the event I’ve just got a few things left to say and then I promise I will stop. Firstly, Ian Addison is like a one man TeachMeet machine and his assistance and commitment were invaluable on the day. Next time I see him I’m going to give him a big sticker and remember to say well done! Secondly, I have a truly fantastic technician called John who came in for the whole day and sorted out all the little things that needed to be done. Someone even asked if I could hire him out – he’s that good!! You definitely need people around who are technically savvy if you’re thinking of organising a TeachMeet of your own and I know am fortunate to have him working alongside me. But finally I just have to tell you that the support from my family has been second to none and there is no way the event would have taken place without them coming along for the ride. My husband got up from a 12 hour night shift after only a few hours sleep to help pack goody bags and rearrange furniture and my youngest two children have been very patient; sorting out lots of household chores while I’ve been ‘otherwise engaged’ and assisting to set up the day. And, just when I thought my family couldn’t possibly do anything extra to help my slightly unusual father (a dj at Swansea Sound) got the local news team to ring up and chat to me about it on air for the morning show!! They just gave it their total backing and I just couldn’t have done it without them 🙂

Looking through the spectrum

Trying to engage children through the medium of ICT is, in most cases, easy to do. There are so many different ways of making ICT engaging and ‘wow’ that children usually find software and activities that they just love to use! Game based learning, for example, is a fantastic way of inspiring writing and a great way to introduce or extend a topic. Computer generated art is another popular avenue – there is just so much choice and so many things that are freely available that a child is bound to find something they adore and want to create with and share. I could go on (I’m sure you could too). Yet one of my favourite jobs  is finding and discovering ideas for pupils with SEN. Once they take to something they really have the ability to run with it and take it to unusual places – and that’s something I can really relate to.

At the moment there are a number of great online resources that can engage and are accessible for these pupils: Poisson Rouge , Help Kidz Learn and Tes IBoard are just a few sites I think are fantastic. There’s also a great range of inclusive new equipment, with Easi Speak mics , V-Tech cameras and BeeBots among the favourites. There’s also the amazing Story Stage from Scholastic and Storybird (both of these can link to developing social skills as well as enhancing their curriculum). There’s so much available for these pupils in the realm of ICT at the moment, but what I’m really excited about is the current selection of products from 2Simple.

Pupils seem to have a fine time using 2Paint a Picture and 2Publish+. Even the youngest pupils can enjoy activities like creating repeating animal skin patterns. In an attempt to link their efforts in ICT with a more hands on activity, you could print out the designs and use wooden animal stencil to cut actual animal shapes out of the appropriate skin patterns. Which brings me nicely onto…

…2Design and Make. The mix of ICT and DT is a marvellous thing! Pupils can create houses and vehicles for a street scene, coloured dice for maths activities and masks for role play. There’s nothing quite like getting the scissors and glue out and making something with your own two hands and the pupils just cannot wait to print out their efforts and bring them back to the classroom to stick together. And I’m all for that 🙂

You BETTer – You BETT!

So, over a week has passed since I staggered through my door after a whirlwind visit the the BETT show in London’s Olympia and it seems as good a time as any to talk about some of the amazing things I saw on offer.

I think 2010 will prove to be a real turning point in the way teachers and children access and harness technology in their classrooms. This is partly due to the sharing of ideas over social networking sites like Twitter, but also due, in no small part, to the growing phenomenon that is TeachMeet. And TeachMeet BETT 2010 was definitely the place to be on the Friday night. If you haven’t been to a TeachMeet event before, or joined in via a web link using Flashmeeting you are seriously missing out. The ideas shared were invaluable and many will have a direct influence on my teaching or have inspired me to try out new things. This is true of all the TeachMeets I’ve joined in with via the web as well – everyone’s part of a like minded group and all are welcomed with open arms. Heck – I’m even thinking about approaching my LEA to organise one. TeachMeet is definitely the place it’s at!

In fact many people I’ve spoken to have commented on the ‘fringe’ activities being more of a draw than the actual technology! But interest in the technology is what brought us to Olympia in the first place and there was plenty of great stuff to see. So I thought I’d mention a few things I really liked so that you could investigate further – I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

The first item I’m going to acknowledge here is iboard player. I have been a fan for a long time. It’s easy to navigate, has loads of fantastic categorised resources (which are also levelled to different ages) and is now FREE! Yes, you read that correctly – all of these fantastic activities are now free to access. The iboard is really aimed at a KS1 age group but there is much in there that you may find pupils in Year 3 are also happy to access and the activities could be very useful for pupils with SEN. The resources also link brilliantly with a number of Foundation Stage/Phase topics and I’m sure many of you will enjoy exploring what the iboard has to offer as much as the children will love the activities!

Scholastic have also come up trumps with their new interactive, multi mouse product Story Stage. Initially being launched with titles suited to KS1 (KS2 ones will be available at a later date) this is really going to revolutionise the way young pupils interact with each other on the screen. There are so many times when a classroom has too few computers for the number of pupils who want to use them and, in my experience, what usually happens when pupils share one unit and mouse is that one will take the lead and the other will sit along side passively or slowly getting frustrated (which never ends well). By hooking up an extra mouse (or up to three extra if you prefer) Story Stage has made the computer a tool that pupils truly can share. Want to change the background? Add sound, movement and objects? Visual effects? Stage Lighting? Track what each individual pupil does? This product ticks all the boxes! Of course the other great thing about it is that, with so much emphasis being put on initiatives like Storytelling into Writing, which is based on some of the traditional tales Story Stage incorporates,  engaging learners and allowing for personal learning styles, this product has truly come just at the right time.

Now I wouldn’t be giving a true account of what I enjoyed seeing at BETT2010 without mentioning the fabulous people at 2Simple and their new products. They just keep coming up with tremendously usable products that pupils really love to use. I’ve been trying out the Online Tools package which just has so much good stuff on it that I just know teachers, parents, children and even grandparents (I know because I’m one of them) are really going to enjoy creating things with them.

The choice of activities available means there’s something for everyone with activities that could link to a range of things at home and at school. My particular favourite of the activities available is 2Design and Make  – just check out the flaming car that I encouraged my son (a grumpy teenager no less) to create for his nephew. That’s not to say the other available activities are less than marvellous – they are all wonderful in their own way.

2Create a SuperStory is another fantastic new 2Simple product (and one I’ve blogged about previously) – this was launched at the BETT show. As with Scholastic’s Story Stage, this really links in well to a number of different initiatives and topics being currently covered in schools (for both KS1, KS2 and pupils with SEN) and, like all 2Simple software, it’s easy to get to grips with for teachers and learners alike! If you haven’t seen the product yet please check it out. If you’ve got the incredible 2CASS and you want to find out more, make sure you have a look at the 2CASS Archive – full of useful hints and tips and examples of work that may inspire you.

There were, inevitably, many more excellent products launched at BETT 2010 (and a few old favourites being showcased too) that I haven’t got time to talk about here. Online resources from BrainPOP and Education City look well worth further investigation and I absolutely loved the new StoryPhones. I as also pleased to hear from the people at Widgit Software that they are working on including  predictive text in SymWriter to make it even more inclusive, although it is going to take them a while (keep an eye out in the next 12 months for it though) and was bowled over by some of the new Easi products being showcased by TTS – very child friendly!

BETTcha by golly wow 2010!

Like many other technologically minded people I made the (in my case long) trek to Olympia last week to spend a bit of quality time at the BETT2010. My main objective was to get to the Teachmeet and pick up some useful and interesting tips from other like minded professionals but, I have to admit, the whole time I was there (and that wasn’t very long compared to some!) I felt on a natural high. The excitement of meeting (and trying to recognise!) people I had previously only spoken to via twitter, or educational forums, combined with the whole learning new things and seeing new products was unbelievably uplifting.

I arrived on Friday night just about in time for the Teachmeet (I did miss a little bit of the action but not much). The atmosphere was fantastic and there was a real community spirit in the room. As well as meeting, chatting and mingling with a fantastic group of people I’d never before met in person , one of the things that immediately struck me was the totally supportive nature of all that were in the room. And there were some great presentations too: some heartfelt and passionate (take a bow Mr Drew Buddie) others fun and informative (yes, Miles Berry, I mean you). If you weren’t there, you were really missing out on something special. Here’s the main things I took away from the Teachmeet…

1. If you’re in ICT (or just in education in any capacity) and not on Twitter, sign up now  : I’m not kidding, it will change the way you teach and, by following the right people, ideas will flood in thick and fast.

2. Someone else can give an old favourite a new twist and get you inspired: I was not particularly enthusiastic about Scratch (although I did use it) until Miles Berry made it look more accessible and fun filled – many thanks 🙂

3. There is so much out there, so investigate and ask others: Hadn’t tried Glogster (despite knowing about it) until Drew inspired me at Teachmeet Takeover on Saturday, and there were lots of similar presentations that showed the possibilities of things I had looked at in passing about but hadn’t tried.

4. We can achieve much more by working together: the number of collaborative projects that have sprung up in the short time I’ve been using Twitter have really changed the way I use certain resources (like Google Maps and Google Earth) with children (Tom Barrett’s Google Maps maths idea is one that instantly springs to mind).

In fact, the whole Teachmeet vibe is what got me through giving my own takeover presentation about the use of Dabbleboard in the classroom(thanks to Mark Warner for the above photo) on Saturday:  cannot believe I did it and that people stayed and listened. You can even see a video of my efforts (I’m not saying you have to here) and the other contributors to the takeover sessions.

On a personal level I had a great time hanging out with new friends and just generally discussing how we use ICT. It was great to put faces to names and realised that we are all singing from the same hymn sheet. Everyone is aiming for the same goal – how to get better at doing what they do and the atmosphere was certainly conducive to such an ideal. It was also amazing to discover that some of my pupils had won a 2Simple competition (a total surprise!!) and it was a pleasure to just hang out with the enthusiastic team that work at 2Simple, who are producing such wonderful stuff at the moment You only have to read the blog regularly to see how keen I am on their products!

So there you have it: my BETT 2010 experience. See you all next time (looking forward to it already).