We're pleased to share another post written by Natalie Burgess, one of four Teacher Ambassadors to recently join our team. Many of you will be familiar with Natalie, through her fantastic work as a #MIEExpert over the years, and you may have even taken part in one of her sessions in the Showcase Classroom section of our stand at BETT 2016.
Earlier this week she was present for an event run at one of our Showcase Schools, and below she shares her thoughts.
On Tuesday 23rd August, West College Scotland, one of our amazing Showcase Schools in Scotland, hosted their second annual West College Scotland Information Technology Symposium conference, supported by Microsoft.
This was an amazing day full of inspiration, ideas and learning. From discussions, to presentations, to hands on workshops - it all happened there!
West College Scotland has three campuses on the West of Scotland, located in Paisley, Greenock and Clydebank. What was special about this event was the fact that although the lecturers were spread across three different buildings, they all attended the same conference!
How is that possible I hear you ask?! Well… they used Skype for Business to enable all three speakers at each location to be showcasing their ideas to all campuses! This was great to see. I loved using Skype in the Classroom as a teacher and also now in my job as Teacher Ambassador, however seeing it used in this innovative way blew even my mind! I was super impressed with the organisation and management of this. Well done to all!
The morning was full of great speakers who inspired the staff to get started with their new Office 365 accounts. Andy Nagle, Microsoft Senior Education Manager for Scotland, spoke about using technology in the classroom as a way to redefine tasks rather than as a substitution. I made a Facebook Live video of some examples - check it out here:
We then heard from Kenji Lamb who is the Digital Advisor for the College. He was talking about using technology to create exciting assessment tools such as Kahoot. He was so enthusiastic and really inspired everyone to think about new assessment methods.
Finally, I spoke about the use of Sway, OneNote and Office Mix and shared lots of examples of my use of them in the classroom over the past few years.
As well as all of this inspiration, the staff got their sleeves rolled up and took part in a variety of workshops on Virtual Reality, Office 365, Moodle, Sway, OneNote and Office Mix! The staff loved it and are excited to start incorporating this technology into their lessons this year, one step at a time.
But what did the staff at West College Scotland make of the day?
George Johnson, Director of Technology and Innovation:
"From my point of view I was very pleased with the event. I felt that there was a positive buzz – lots of enthusiasm from our speakers and from our staff. So it was a really good start to the academic year. I think there was a good balance between reflection on how we can use technology effectively for learning and teaching and an overview of some of the new applications that have only recently become available to our staff. There were also some great practical examples of that our staff can apply to their own teaching and the hands on sessions helped to build their confidence in using some of this new software. Finally this was the first time we had used Skype for Business for an event like this and it worked well for us."
Susan Carton, Business and Management lecturer:
“Thank you George, this is the first time we have come away from an IT conference with more than quizzes and apps. We can actually use this software to shape our lessons and support learners. I am quite excited about this!”