Yay I attended the IWB Conference in Week 10 with KP and KA. Another fabulous PD opportunity, thanks to BR for sending me on this.
I was thrilled to attend workshops on Mimio, Promeathean, Activinspire and SMART. There was a challenge to complete a booklet getting a stamp from each vendor which really encouraged me to visit each one and discuss their products. I had no idea there were so many different IWBs and solutions! I feel reasonably informed now!
Originally I was very pro-Activboard and have to say after the conference my affiliation for these boards and their software is re-affirmed! They appear to be very sophisticated and I am looking forward to attending the roadshow at Point View next Term to find out more.
I enjoyed listening to Alison Gernhofer the Principal of Wetslake High School address the attendees and she spoke about the importance of gathering evidence about the impact of IWBs to present to BOTs to continue with the provision of these tools in schools. Then the keynote speakers - the Vice Chairperson of Promeathean Stephen Jury was great and did an exciting presentation using the software! He also discussed the importance of teachers being experienced (not BTs) and also being in the year level for several years and have an IWB at that level for 3 years to get the most out of the situation which really hit home for me. I am in my 8th year of teaching, my 2nd year at Year 0/1 and have had my IWB for 1 and 1/2 years. Still have a way to go! Then the speaker on Saturday Professor David Seedhouse spoke about the Values within the Revised NZ Curriculum and I think he made a lot of interesting points too! I think the main point he was making was that we shouldn't just blindly follow the NZ Curriculum but rather challenge the list of values and the statements made about these as values are involved in everything and really can't be taught but rather opinions be expressed and discussed. He spoke about the incident where a Tongan man cooked his dog which is perfectly acceptable in Tonga but not in Auckland. So according to his values it was ok but the SPCA officers values did not accept this behaviour. If you look the other way is that acceptable to you? How does this affect your values? What if you intervene then are you disrespecting that individual's values and then challenging your own? Basically it all gets very complicated! I wasn't really sure what to think at the end of it all but I do think it's opened my eyes to this aspect of the Curriculum and I might have some ideas to share in future discussions at school whether they are my own personal opinions or not.
My favourite workshop was run by Nelia Thompson from Flaxmere Primary School and featured snippets from using IWB in a new entrant room which I was thrilled to attend because I have taught in this year level for nearly 2 years and have not had any PD in teaching it, I have just been doing my own thing!!!!! I will definately implement some of her ideas, thanks Nelia. Above all she showed what children can do when theyare given the opprtunity and I think now I am ready to let go a bit more and give the children more freedom.
I also enjoyed finding out about Google Docs and Google Sketchup. I already use Google Picassa and Google Maps but they were great to get notes for too and confirm I am utilising them to their full potential! It was excellent using Flickr Storm and finding out about Keepvid for storing youtube clips.
Jo Evans from Edsoft also presented a whole lot of different multisensory tools to assist the writing process with ideas for special needs individuals in mainstream classrooms. Neat ideas which could be passed on to parents as well.
A fantastic conference. I am keen to be involved in the assess to learn contract otherwise I have seen lots of ideas of how involve WALTs and WILFs after this weekend.