The build-up was tremendous, the hours of preparation numerous and the feelings of expectation and anticipation were huge. Could we pull it off, the six of us that make up the Elkanah IT Department? We were confident that we could and, oh boy, we DID!! I am so proud to be part of such an awesome team.
The EdTechConf eXtended event at Elkanah has come and gone but I don’t have that feeling of deflation and emptiness one often experiences after a particularly exciting event. To the contrary, I feel elated, not only because we did a great job, but because we were able to excite and inspire a group of teachers, give them ideas and possibly some tools for including the use of technology in their classrooms, making it an add-in, not an add-on! That’s what this event was all about and even if each teacher took away only one idea to make a start, take that first step, then we were 100% successful in our mission!
Key points that came out of this conference were:
* Buy-in from school management is vital (sadly very few principals attended our conference).
* Technology needs to be an integral part of teaching today as our students are born tech savvy (digital natives)
* It must be an add-in not an add-on
* Teachers should start small, choose one aspect/topic and use technology to enhance it
* Baby steps… Take that first step!
We had a variety of wonderful presenters who provided much inspiration and to them we are very grateful for their input an willingness to share their experiences and projects. All their bios and presentations are available here: http://elkedtechconf.blogspot.com.
The EdTechConf team consisting of Tim Keller, Arthur Preston, Rick Greener and Helen Temple have started an amazing initiative which is gaining momentum beyond their wildest imagination, with a number of future eXtended events planned already. The first one will take place at Cornwall Hill College in Gauteng in October. See www.edtechconf.co.za .
Elkanah will continue to be closely involved with EdTechConf, especially since Arthur Preston has recently been appointed as the new head of our Senior Primary, where I am based!
A wonderful thing happened in our IT Centre today! One of our teachers,who will remain nameless, and who has labelled herself a “technophobe”, taught an interesting, viby lesson on a potentially boring section of work – Parts of a Plant. Using a video she herself sourced from YouTube as the introduction to her lesson, she played it using the data projector and brought this lesson to life! In fact the whole concept of the lesson was hers and I merely supplied assistance and some technical know-how before the time. The application of the lesson was a Publisher document which had to be completed by the pupils to assess their level of understanding and listening. Very technological indeed, and what made it more special is that she taught this lesson for our principal, who has been moving from class to class observing lessons.
The secret to her success? Recently this young lady bought herself a laptop – the first one she has personally owned. Since then she has taken off and is now flying! She has totally empowered herself and has probably learnt more since taking ownership of her new laptop, than from her day to day work on her classroom computer. From school work to social networking to designing party invitations, this new acquisition has opened a new world for her and the proverbial “bug” has bitten! Kudos to you, my friend – may you spend many happy hours creating more stunning lessons on your new baby – this is only the beginning!
Last Friday, I got a close look at an iPod Touch (actually an iPhone, but the iPod Touch is the same thing, without the phone). Wow! What a piece of magic – so beautiful and apparently very useful too. So, our principal and I are getting a demo iPod Touch to play with for the holidays. Of course, the idea is to see how it can be used in the classroom and from what I saw on Friday and also on the Apple website, there a MANY uses for this beautiful piece of technology. I can’t wait! Thanks to Michelle of Think Ahead. Now do you think that, if I close my eyes and wish very hard, my little Samsung will turn into a beautiful iPhone4?? Wishful thinking – he he!
See the Slideshare by Grace Poli here:
Picture courtesy of :http://www.apple.com/za/education/ipodtouch-iphone/