First up, it's good to attend an event where the focus is on education and ICT in Wales. Perhaps I shouldn't say ICT, this was much more about technologies for learning and teaching than curriculum ICT - no mentions of 'programming' today. Too often I attend meetings and conferences where the focus is primarily from an English education system. And while this isn't too much of an issue, references to Ofsted, Academies, Free Schools and Michael Gove, while interesting, don't have a daily influence on my life as an ICT adviser in Wales. That's not to say we don't learn from what happens across our border, far from it, what I am saying is that Wales needs to learn from its neighbours, take what has worked well, learn from others mistakes and form this into something unique for Wales. That's why an event like this is important, it's a chance to bring together teachers from Wales and share what's happening here, as well as pulling in people like Fraser Speirs from Scotland to influence, inspire and question how we currently do things. To me that is what's important, that we start the conversation here in Wales, looking at what teachers and schools here are doing, asking questions, forming opinions, moving ourselves forward, getting the best out of technology for our learners. Secondly, it was wonderful opportunity to catch up and meet people. In fact, met several friends and colleagues I hadn't seen for about 14 years!
I'm not going to talk about everything from the day, I'm going to try and pick out the parts that particularly interested me. Damian Donnelly who is an ICT coordinator at Amman Valley School (who I believe is also currently out working for the LA) gave a presentation on entitled "Using Web 2.0 to Support Online Collaboration".
|Damian Donnelly talking about ELGG|
Hannah Mathias is the information learning technology development manager at St. David's Catholic College in Cardiff. She presented a session looking at the use of Soundcloud in her school.
|Hannah Mathias discussing the use of Soundcloud|
According to their website, Soundcloud is "the world’s leading social sound platform where anyone can create sounds and share them everywhere. Recording and uploading sounds to SoundCloud lets people easily share them privately with their friends or publicly to blogs, sites and social networks." What I was particularly interested in was the way users could comment on a piece of audio. The uploaded file appears as a wave, click on the part of audio that you would like to comment on, and a text box appears and your profile picture appears under that part of the wave.
Embedding a Soundcloud file into a CMS (Blackboard)