My BETT – day by day… Friday

I woke up on Friday morning thinking that I had only just closed my eyes.  The long walk to the show seemed longer than usual and my feet posted a petition for divorce. Then I realised I was only half way through, and decided to buck my ideas up, and found some Music to Wake  A Stand Up To…

The show was so busy on Friday that it was 3pm before I looked at my watch.  Everything seemed to go seamlessly – no technical hitches, everyone there when you needed them – almost as if we had planned it!

We did have some special guests on the stand. David Mitchell (@deputymitchell) brought six of his pupils from Heathfield CPS in Bolton onto our stand to do some experiments to help launch Scholastic Primary Science – a really nice new science scheme full of practical science experiments, ebooks and science APP.  The pupils, and staff were thoroughly professional all the time they were on our stand; and some of the pupils managed to get their charicatures done by our resident artist, Hutch.

It was also great to see Tom Sale and James Maloney who had made the long trip down from Blackpool and many other teachers who made the time to come and see us on the stand.  TeachMeet Takeover took off on Friday, many more presentations held compared to last year, and again we hosted two events on our stand.  Presentations by Alessio Bernardelli & Dan Roberts followed by Ian Addison were tremendous.  If you haven’t been to a TeachMeet before, you should – find out more here.

Friday night was TeachMeet BETT – something I had been looking forward to for a long time.  The evening was very professionally run by the Two Ians (@ianaddison and @iusher).  I was slightly disappointed in two or three of the presentations, two of them were adverts for the companies that stood up, and one pretty much bordered it!  There is a show floor for exhibitors to talk to teachers, the TeachMeet was a time for teachers to talk to teachers, it appeared that not everyone understood that.

I loved Dughall’s snow-day presentation, and Bill Lord’s reflections on @giraffeclass (a must-follow!), but the rest were just as good and the event was a real testament to the passion that was in that room.

TeachEat was brilliant. I had avoided it last year as I didn’t think that people would want someone from a company there, but the pizza was just what I needed at the end of a long, but fantastic day.

My BETT – day by day…Thursday

So Wednesday has come and gone, and Thursday is here.  This time last year, we were hopeful that things would get better, this year, we were hopeful that things would be as good as yesterday!  The good news is that the stand was busier from the outset all the way through the day.

One of the problems you have as an exhibitor, is the problem of making sure that the people who come on to the start of a presentation stay all the way through to the end.  One of the ideas that was had was to have a prize draw at the end of each presentation to ensure that people stayed around to listen.  Some call it bribery, I may agree.  Whatever you call it, it worked!  We really did have a lot of people taking part in a lot of presentations (14 per day!) and many people stayed to listen to more than one.

At this stage, I have to say a huge thank you to the presenters who, between them did 56 presentations, and there were only four of them!  They were Russ Payne, Tim Meek, Paul Naish and Paula Hubbard.  It is a testament to their professional presentations that we had such an amazing show.

We had been showing Read & Respond Engage a lot during the show, and we were getting many good responses from people, some saying that it was just what they needed and signing up there and then.  One visitor said that it was refreshing to see a digital resource that kept the children’s book  at the heart of the resource.  Another said it was the best thing they had seen at the show.

It was on Thursday that I met some people I have followed and respected for a very long time, Ewan McIntosh, John Davitt  and David Whyley.  It was nice for me not to be on stage for most of the day, so that I had the time to talk to these very inspirational people!  We were delighted to host two TeachMeet Takeover slots on Wednesday from Bev Evans and Kevin Mulryne. 🙂

Thursday night was Collaborate for Change at BETT night, and I went along to take the photos (yes, I was the annoying git hovering over you taking photos!).  It was really good to see a room full of teachers sharing ideas about the resources they use in the classroom.  It was also good to catch up with Ant from 2Simple (@2simpleant), Ian Addison (@ianaddison), Charlie Deane (@charliedeane) and many more!

The good news was that I got back to the hotel in time for food before the mayhem that was Friday!

My BETT – day by day…Wednesday

BETT is one of those shows that you think about for a long time.  We started planning BETT 2011 in February 2010, allowing ourselves time to have crazy ideas that keep us awake at night, and then distil them into common sense punchy ideas for the show.  For example, back in May we had the idea of a QR treasure hunt, and then in September I listened into a great presentation at the Scottish Learning Festival Teach Meet by Jennifer Harvey about setting up a QR treasure hunt which helped focus our minds.

BETT is also the worst time in the year for an exhibition – a week after you return from Christmas!  This year we also had the dreaded flu to contend with, which took out our exhibitions coordinator until the Monday after BETT!  Nevertheless, the stand on the Tuesday seemed to be ahead of the year before, and we even had time to do some presentation run throughs before we finished setting up at 8pm.

Wednesday morning started with me in Sainsbury’s buying my own body weight in Chocolate Eclairs (we had this idea that we should have a purple theme, and it was the only sweet that fitted the bill).  On the stand, we had a massive problem with the Internet connection.  For some reason, our brand new router decided that it didn’t want to do a full time job.  We didn’t really need the stress, but after a couple of hours it was back and we could start the show with everything working!

Wednesday was busy.  Compared to the Wednesday before, where it was so quiet we played spot the visitor, this year we were busy fro

m 10:30am to about 4:00pm.  We met so many excellent people on our stand it has been hard to remember them all – but needless to say that the show started with a bang!

The Wednesday evening was TedXOrenda.  Organised by Drew Buddie (@digitalmaverick), one of the most passionate and energetic people I know, it was a great start to the three day teacher-curated BETT.   I absolutely loved listening to the speakers – top of the list would be Naomi Jane (@missnaomijane)who gave a talk about the effect that teachers can, and do have on the lives and prospects of pupils.  Maybe it was because I could relate very closely to what she was discussing, or whether it was because she was such an assured public speaker, her words were incredibly inspirational.  I was delighted how well the Hexayurt programmes went down, a homage to the work of Vinay Gupta (@leashless).  Again, the compering by Bill Thompson was excellent, this Ted event is going from strength to strength!

Unfortunately, we got back to the hotel very late, too late for food, so I ended the day having eaten no more than breakfast.

#tmtakeover11 help required!

Due to mechanical error (printer breaking down), and local company error (not printing enough and running out of time) I could really do with some help to print the TeachMeet Takeover 2011 flyer.

The PDF is in my dropbox here.  I have managed to get 200 done, but I would think that every stand hosting would need a similar number.  Could I ask that everyone who can, prints as many as they can and brings them along to BETT?  The format is very simple, double sided A4 folded to A5.  If you can’t help, let me know and I will find another way around it!

While I am handing links out, here is the link to the PowerPoint with the TeachMeet Takeover logo on, for display on stands…

On both links, it is easier to right click, and ‘save target as…’

Thank you!

Scholastic at BETT 2011 – smile, we dare you!

TeachMeet Takeover from 2010...2011 will be amazing!

Image courtesy of the most fabulous Ian Usher

Righto, BETT is around the corner (literally for some, a train ride for others), and Scholastic are gearing up, pulling out all of the stops (that’s enough tired old clichés, Ed) to ensure you have the best BETT ever! Oh, and if you can’t make it, don’t worry, you can still take part!

Last year the Scholastic stand was pretty good, but we realised that a tweak there, a polish here would really make the stand sparkle, and that is just what we have planned for you this year. The watch-word is ‘fun’. If you leave the stand and you aren’t smiling, we will chase you down the aisles until you do! 🙂

So, here are the things that we are planning:

Come and meet Anthony Browne!

Anthony Browne, Children’s Laureate will be coming to the Scholastic stand (G40) to launch Read & Respond Engage. We are quite rightly incredibly proud of Read & Respond Engage. It manages to retain the wonderful feel of Read & Respond (using high-quality children’s books such as Gorilla) with some amazing new features that only the web can offer. Anthony will be with us on Saturday, and we are very excited!!

A prize draw, every 30 minutes, every day!

Now, some people (we won’t name names, you know who you are) took advantage of my good nature and suggested this quite ridiculous idea. I said yes, they have me on tape, I have been committed. We are looking to hand over some pretty amazing prizes – come along on the day to find out exactly what you have to do to get one!

A QR treasure hunt to win an iPad!

A lovely mashup of QR codes, treasure hunts and in a weird sort of way, orienteering – whichever way you look at it , there is an iPad to be won at the end!! If you can’t make it to the show, and you still want to join in, we have a virtual treasure hunt as well…more details to be posted on the first day of the show for this!

More amazing new stuff?!

Oh yes, a stunning new interactive primary science scheme. A maths reading scheme for KS1 with more ebooks than you can shake a stick at. More Class PET (this time with mental maths and homework); more Story Stage, a new look Child Education and We Are Writers has been shortlisted for a BETT award!

TeachMeet Takeover

We are hosting Teach Meet Takeover on our stand – two per day from Thursday to Saturday, and the line-up this year looks really good. Take a look at the TeachMeet schedule here for more info!

And there’s more!!!

Get your portrait done on our stand with our resident charicature artist (on stand all week), charge your phones, have a play with Story Stage on the smart table, graffiti on our doodle wall, eat our chocolate, sit on our sofas…and if we can make it work hack into our wifi for free and watch everything you like on the live stream!

I’m exhausted before we have started!

Learning Logs

Homework…what is it good for? Absolutely nothing, if you listen to Kirstie Allsopp who has started a campaign against it on Twitter last week.  Well, there are other options (other than not giving it at all), one of them is to use a learning log (or learning journal).

As I am not a teacher, I used the resident expert (Janette) to describe what a learning log is, and how she uses them at school.  After the popularity of the school council post, hopefully you will find this as useful!

What is a learning log?

A learning log is a great way of getting the children in your class to show you what they have learned that week. It is homework,  but completely child led and designed to be fun!  You need to get each child an A4 book, so when opened they have a lot of space to work.

How do they work?

Incredibly easily.  I give each pupil a slip of paper to glue into their learning log, which has some of the learning objectives that we will have covered in the week.  The older the child, the less scaffolding you have to give them (ie, for the youngest you may have to give them some sample activities they could do).  They are then asked to spend about an hour a week recording what they have done at school – either in one go, or spread out over the week.  They can do whatever they want to show what they have learned – they can use computers, artwork, anything they like.  The only rule is that I want to be amazed by the work they hand in.

Are they meant to be done alone?

Not at all, it is brilliant if other people can help out. Working together with a parent will help reinforce their learning.

What was the best example of a learning log that you have seen?

Some of the best ones I have seen is where the child takes the role of the teacher, and teaches other people what they have learned this week.  Especially in maths where the methods they use at school may be different to the methods their parents are used to.

Do you give any other homework?

The only other homework I give is to ask children to read every night or if your school sends home spellings.

How did you learn about learning logs?

In my last school, I worked with Jez Smith who is amazingly creative…all I know, I learned from him!

I have saved some examples of the learning objective slips into dropbox, but as I haven’t got approval, I can’t give you examples of the children’s work 😦  Fear not though, as part of my in-depth research for this post, I found this site  Learning Logs Online which has some great examples!

Learning Log slip examples (some of which include Pohl’s Thinking Keys):

Dropbox: the easiest way to get people using web2 tools

Number two in my series of desktop apps that I use – this time Dropbox.

Dropbox is the simplest concept in the world, so simple that quite often people don’t think about it – they just get on with it – and as I discussed in my Evernote post, it is all about workflow.  Dropbox fits into my workflow as if it has always been there.  If you, like me, like evangelising about the myriad of tools you use online, this is the tool to start with. Right, here is the Elevator Pitch (or Granny Pitch as I like to call it!).

How  many memory sticks do you have? Where are they all? Have  you had to go and invest in an external hard drive to carry all your stuff around because memory sticks aren’t big enough to hold everything? Rather than having to put the memory stick into the computer, why not save the file to a folder that saves your work to a space on the web, which you can access at any time?  Well, why not take a look at Dropbox?  It allows you to save files to the web, backup projects, synchronise files with other computers all with security and privacy?  And, you get all of that for free! Tempted? Click on any of the Dropbox links to take a look!

OK – pitch over, how do I use it?  I use it in three ways:

Like a memory stick

Just like a memory stick, you save your file to a folder on your computer (generally called My Dropbox).  In that folder, you have the option of saving it to a public folder or somewhere only you can see.  The vast majority of things are saved to the private area, and I have about nine different folders, and a gazillion files in there – just like your normal file structure!

For file synchronising between two computers

I use a laptop for work, and we have a laptop at home. Making sure that files are available on both machines at all times, is important.  A good example of how this has worked in practice was when Jet was looking for a new job. She would write an application, and I could open it to check it while she worked on another.

For sharing with the world

If you save an item to the public folder and right-click on it, you can copy the ‘public link’ which then allows you to share it in whatever way you want to.  I did this at BETT quite a bit as I had saved the TeachMeet Takeover flyer and presentation there for other people to save down and use.

So, the file is shared on your computer, the home computer and online, which means  you can access your file whenever you have a web connection. The best bit is that it is all free – I haven’t upgraded my account (you can, up to 100GB) but I haven’t the need as yet!

Have fun!