We were in Florida for 5 weeks this summer for our holidays, but no rest for MIEEs! My husband and I were invited to attend a Teach meet in South Carolina by one of our fellow MIEEs, Doug Bergman. Doug is a Computer Science teacher in a private school and teachers from all over the USA came to meet up for a couple of days to share ideas and network. This is the night we first met everyone, for dinner and drinks in Banana Cabaña.
The next morning I got up VERY early to do something I have never done before and totally unrelated to technology! I went to the beach to see the sunrise. It was quite spectacular, what a way to start the day.
Doug gave us a tour of his beautiful school, Porter Gaud. I loved seeing the Elementary school and I really did have a wee dose of School Envy! Especially when I saw the fabulous elementary playground.
It was great to share ideas with other teachers from the States. We soon realised that the fact we were from different States and countries, public and private sectors, elementary and high school and a range of curricular subjects, we all spoke the universal language of teaching. David and I showed the xGames and Kinect Games for learning.
It was a day of firsts for me as I also got to see my first 3D printed object. Very cool!
After lunch I joined my children for an afternoon on South Carolina’s gorgeous beach.
The following day my children had the option to spend the day on the beach or come to Porter Gaudy school with us and play Minecraft on the laptop. They chose to go to school – on their summer holidays! They must be as crazy as their parents!
We finished the Teach meet with the only way you can – the jump! I really need to improve my timing.
My school entered a team into the Scottish Kodu Kup finals and I was delighted when they were selected in the top 10 entries from primary and secondary schools all over Scotland. We were invited to go to West College Scotland to present their game, business plan and promotional ideas to the panel of judges. Unfortunately we were not chosen as one of the top 3 winners, but my pupils did fantastic to be selected in the finals and they did a great job of presenting on the day. I was very proud of them.
Microsoft hosted an event in the Edinburgh HQ, Women in Technology. I was invited to participate as I was a Scottish MIEE. Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, wanted to find out how we can address the gap between males and females choosing a career in a STEM subject, emphasis being on Technology. She wanted to hear from Scottish female pupils who were aspiring to choose a career in Technology, to find out what inspired them and how can we reach more girls and attract them in this sector. My daughter was invited to attend as she was one of the winners in the Scottish Kofu Kip finals and Minecraft and is interested in a career in programming. I also brought two P7 pupils from my school who are thinking of a career in Technology. This was a fantastic opportunity for these pupils and my daughter to meet Roseanna, get a tour around the Microsoft HQ and a glimpse into what working in the technology industry would be like.
Afterwards we went up to the rooftop of Microsoft HQ to enjoy the fabulous views over Edinburgh. It was an unusually hot sunny day and we enjoyed a bit of sunbathing on the rooftop terrace before heading back to school.
I attended a Teachmeet, sponsored by Microsoft and organised by Ian Stuart, at Citizen M hotel in Glasgow. I presented on xGames and Sway. I thought an interesting way to show people how fantastic and easy Sway is as a presentation tool would be to create a Sway of the event. So as the others presented on various topics, I took photographs and videos, added in some of the tweets as they were appearing and captured their screenshots. You can see my completed Sway here.
Some of the other topics presented which I enjoyed included Digital Leaders, Office Mix, Kahoot, Skype in the Classroom and Scratch. I was most enthusiastic about the Skype presentation as I was about to try this with my class and a class in France the following week, so it was great to get some tips from Annette Yifrati.
Microsoft generously provided a free bar and pizza which was great and an opportunity to network and meet other colleagues. If you have never been to a Teechmeet before, I strongly recommend it. Each presentation only lasts 2-7 minutes and it gives you a glimpse into some of the fantastic things happening in education.
Today I participated in a Mystery Skype in the Classroom with a school in Montpellier. I connected with the teacher from this school via the Microsoft E2 Global Conference in Seattle. His class are starting to learn English and mine are starting to learn French. As part of the Glow 1+2 challenge, I thought this would make a fantastic digital French lesson. It is also a great geography lesson, so it is an interdisciplinary project.
I put the pupils into groups with a role. This included ‘greeter’ ‘speakers’ ‘maps’ ‘question translators’ ‘recorders’ and ‘photographer’. We had been researching and practising for over a week for the call.
At 9.30am, the agreed time, we connected to the other school via Skype. Each school asked a question, we asked in French and they asked in English. The questions were to be the kind that could only be answered with ‘yes’ or ‘no’. After about 5 questions, we correctly guessed the other school lived in Montpellier. A few more questions later they found out we lived in Paisley. We then allowed the schools to ask each other some questions about Montpellier / France and Paisley / Scotland.
The pupils loved this experience. It really brought learning French to life for them and gave it a real life context. This is just the start of a partnership between these two schools and we hope to build on it next session.
Here are some photos of our group roles.
How to capture the uncapturable? Well only one way to do it – Sway! Follow the link to my Sway presentation for the highlights of one of the best experiences of my career.
On 20th April 2015, I will be training all my staff in Glow Office 365. I have created a Youtube tutorial of what I intend to teach. I have also provided print outs of this to cater for different learning styles. Ultimately, after the in service, when staff actually go to try this out, they will need guidance to walk them through the steps again.
This first tutorial teaches you how to created a shared online PowerPoint document and share it with others to work collaboratively on it. The same principles apply to creating a shared Word document or OneNote.
This next tutorial teaches you how to create a SharePoint site.