It's been quite a hectic week with regard to CPD; I've attended 2 events and got quite a lot from both and both of which I have kind of blogged about already, but I had more to say on both.
Firstly I attended Aberdeenshire Council's Motivating Learners CPD event. Although I was presenting (see here) I also got to have a look around and attend the Keynotes. This provided me with a great opportunity to meet Louise from Do.Be.Ltd with whom I have had contact off and on for a while. It was great to meet her and Steven and discuss how we could be mutually helpful. I'm going to update some of my vocab guide podcasts and make them available fro her Do.Be subscribers. I'm also hoping to get a set of Learn.It's to try out their potential in raising students vocabulary knowledge levels.
Tim Rylands was the first keynote of the day, talking about the work he has done using the game Myst to improve kids writing skills. I have to say it was very impressive and I can see it's potential in languages, especially using the backgrounds to work on descriptive skills in the target language. Read and watch what pupils and teachers in Aberdeenshire have had to say about how it was used. Very interesting. HOWEVER it does seem to me that a project such as this was far more amenable to the primary curriculum, where one teacher is with the class all the time and project work is far more the norm.
Something like this should be the sort of thing that ACfE should lead to in secondary schools. Imagine new S1 students undertaking a Myst based project across their whole timetable for the first term. This ensure, hopefully and equality of experience maybe ease the transition, and enhance the getting to know you process in a new school. For example in English it could be used to work on creative writing skills; in MFL pupils could work on expanding their basic vocabulary by describing game characters and creating potential new ones; social subjects could look at the history / geography of the game worlds etc. etc.
After a morning / afternoon of seminars lead by teachers from all over the 'shire the 2nd Keynote was from Derek Robertson of consolarium (and BBC Breakfast "snake oil".) Again he was a very persuasive presenter and much of the work he is leading is bearing great fruit. However, (again), I wondered about how games could aid language learning...commercially available games that is. I had a go on a Nintendo DS with a language training game in it (I've forgotten the name now) and although it was fun, it demanded a lot of prior knowledge even at the lowest level. I would like to see a game which could start from a basic level and help students work on the particular vocab being used in class. I'm not fully sure how Guitar Hero could be used in a languages class...unless of course the "band" were planning a European tour and needed appropriate language. "Paris...je t'aime."
After a brief respite at school on Monday I headed off to Stirling Management Centre, for a GLOW outreach event which aimed at sharing examples of success in using glow and meeting up with people with a view to forging future collaborations. I have to admit to being totally in the dark as to why I was invited, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself and have come away with a far better idea what glow is all about and what we can (hopefully) end up doing with it.
What was really great was meeting lots of teachers who were enthusiastic about what should be a ground breaking project. Glow is in my mind totally linked with ACfE as it could, if used appropriately, be used to help students satisfy the the for capacities of ACfE. BUT not really having had a play with it yet I don't fully know what it is going to be to me.
Over the last few days I also got to meet some folk who I'd only ever run into via the blogosphere: Iain Stainger, Caroline Gibson and Louise (DoBe.) Nice to meet you.
Finally I was allowed to lead the delegates in taking part of the Global Campaign for Education's World's Biggest Lesson record attempt which also gave us a brilliant opportunity to see how thw GLOW web conferencing package, GlowMeet would work. Guess what, it worked brilliantly. Even though we were only spread over 3 rooms participants were able to see in real time comments being made via the chat facility or over the whiteboard. Fascinating.
So now I am thoroughly knackered.