Friday, February 20, 2009

TeachMeet Borders: Here at last

This may not be fun for you... but attending TeachMeet Borders is fun for me. :-)

Arrived late to TeachMeet Borders to discover that my name was first out the hat... and then as we arrived, it was my name came out again as I walked in the door. I grabbed a sandwich instead and let Ian King show Scratch instead. Some really good stuff from his pupils. He noted that girls, who normally don't react well to programming, seem to take Scratch. He also demoed the Scratch Board - costs about a tenner and allows basic interfacing projects to be programmed. Ian also noted that a sixth year pupil came back from an university open day and said that the two languages used in the Computer Games course were C++ and Scratch.

David Noble was up next and talked about some of the things the pupils in his school were doing with iPhones. Missed most of it while failing to get connected to my blog. Finished by talking about the importance of being trusted with wi-fi access.

Jim Black talked about open source software he uses. Free - so usable by pupils, powerful - so pupils are not disadvantaged, many available as portable apps - so pupils can take what they need to any machine and many multi-platform - so machines at home and school and wherever. He was asked what the IT Services people made of them using Open Source. He replied that he hadn't told them. The point was also made that organisations that restrict themselves to only a few standard applications were losing out.

We then went into a sandwich break where I should have been catching up with some folk... but fiddled to much with technology.

Dougal Hawkshaw talked about his use of Wikis in school. For example, better readers post summaries of the chapters of books the class ws reading. Allowed other children to catch up who were struggling. He has never had any problem with vandalism or bullying. One of the things he added was Voki... but it was blocked by the school!

Lorna and Nicki talked about a project called Girls of Ambition. For example, they set up CC4G - Computet Club For Girls. By focusing on the girs they raised attainment and confidence. One of the highlights is school trips, for example to the Shetlands. The program has had a huge impact on the school and the girls in the programme.

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