Today I attended the EdTech Expo in Liverpool, along with my OAKS Personal Tutor, Dave Da Silva and fellow trainee, Meg Baldwin. There was a full and varied programme of workshops and lectures, ranging from teacher/student wellbeing to using video within the classroom as a reflection or development tool. There were only a few trade stands, most of which had some sort of input within the main sessions. Among those present, were Twinkl (free travel mugs!!), Spongy Elephant, Opogo, Century Tech and Swivl all offering the usual branded pen for your signifying your visit.
There were a few sessions I attended that were particularly interesting. The first was run by Paul Main whose product is a physical way of helping students develop their meta-cognitive skills. The system of plastic bricks that can interlock have a slot on one side to house a small whiteboard. These can be used for students to get their thoughts down and then aid them in applying organisation and relationships.
Another interesting session was run by Pete Atherton and described many ways in which we can as teachers, engage more with social media in a controlled way to engage with and even assess our students and provide feedback. Some strategies included describing a topic in 140-280 characters and put as a twitter feed in a private group. This can be done outside the lesson and can be feedback on instantly. The big benefit to this is that there is no extra costs involved as the resource is already there and well established, its all about how creative we can be in using it.
Swivl provided an interesting session on their videoing tools that enable the whole lesson to be recorded by using a robotic tripod and an iPad to track and record the teachers movements and voice. It is intended to capture the whole room and can be used as a development tool or as a way of sharing best practice.
There was a considerable focus on saving time and on increasing efficiency and effectiveness, with Century Tech introducing us to their learning platform, on which students can engage either independently or collaboratively. The software records and studies students actions/ability and will tailor the content appropriately. It will provide the teacher instant information on each student in terms of which are struggling and with what specifically, and which students need more challenge. It could potentially save time in admin and better inform lessons in terms of differentiation. Is it feasible as a routine tool for lessons? I’m not sure but it could certainly have its place, if there are funds available for schools to purchase it.
All in all, it was an interesting day and well worth the visit!
We’d like to thank Helen for this informative write up of the day. We’re so glad that you enjoyed the day and we hope that you bring this forward into your placement schools.