Wednesday, 7 October 2009

HandHeld Learning Day 2

The morning of Day2 kicked of with keynotes Zenna Atkins, the chair person of Ofsted, Atkins was followed by Malcom McLaren, who admitted that he was speaking at a conference that was definitely not in his comfort zone, and proceeded by telling the audience his schooling/educational experiences. Next up was Yvonne Roberts from the Young Foundation,
The morning keynotes ended with a good talk by James Paul Gee, Read a full review of these key notes from by
Mark van 't Hooft where this introduction was taken from.

Social Media for Learning

Katy then attended a session with Ollie Bray National Advisor for learning and technology, on Social Media for Learning and Ollie focused on 5 points to demonstrate how SM enhances learning:

Power to engage and collaborate and to broadcast to a real audience.
He asked “..Does your school have an entry about itself on wikipedia?

Real time data …Ollie referred to google alerts (for alerts on your school) and other applications such twitter and googlemaps exporting to google earth.

Professional Development
… he encouraged more use of teachers tv and interactive resources such as

Digital entitlement with regard to allowing great content on sites such as you tube. Trust and respect pupils and promote responsible use.
School improvement

Gaming used with purpose and as a stimulus for a creative curriculum

Next up was Tim Ryland, teacher and innovator who showcased his inspiring work using gaming as a stimulus for creative planning across the curriculum and the example he shared was
Wild Earth African Safari used on the Nintendo Wi and a full description is available from (Tim is also famous for using Myst)

Gaming as a stimulus for cross curriculum projects was a theme which ran across many presentations throughout the 3 day event including:
· Andrew Rhodes in Enfield CLC who ran projects with schools using Guitarhero on the Nintendo Wii
Learning and teaching Scotland, innovators in games based learning also showcased some of their well known and highly regarded projects using Nintendo Wii, DSi and others.

Other games discussed at the event were Endless Ocean, Curious Village, Professor Layton, Big Brain academy

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

HandHeld Learning Day 1 - Quick wins and fun ideas shared

Some fantastic quick wins from schools in Leeds were shared by a headteacher and LA. Evolve is a partnership between Education Leeds, RM, City Learning Centres and schools.]

Katy also attended interesting seminar where Tony Vincent, a well known pioneer in educational handheld learning (from the US) shared some of his favourite free web applications. You do need to register for many of the applications with an email account so this could limit access for primary children outside of the school but you could start by using them in your classroom and some of the resources provide an embedd code which will allow the finished work to be shared in the MLE
Add voice to pictures and create your own talking picture, basically a moving mouth on a still image
Make your own comic at
Lots of stop watch and timers at
For music lovers a Web-based audio editor, similar to GarageBand with lots of musical loops
Online presentation tool
And just for fun ......For all those people that find it more convenient to bother you with their question rather than google it for themselves. ... "Let me just goole that for you"
Place genuinely-placed rimshot in your multimedia work

Lots more web applications can be found at and Tony's blog is at

Monday, 5 October 2009

Handheld Learning 2009 Day 1 - "The Learners Y Factor"

'The Learners Y Factor' competition saw real students from real classrooms presenting and telling us about the innovative use of ICT that they were involved with.

Students from 6 Primary and Junior schools presented what they had been doing. Various devices were deployed; Nintendo DS, iPod Touch, HTC Smartphones and PSPs. The students were all able to demonstrate how these technologies had motivated them and their peers and assisted with their work. Of the devices used, most of the children identified Nintendo DS as being their favourites. I wonder if this is mainly because this is also the device that they used the most at home in their own time, or if the reasons are deeper than this.

To me the main advantage of the devices as demonstrated over laptops were their ability to be picked up and used quickly and easily, any time, anywhere. However I do not see mobile devices as an alternative to having 'proper' computer and internet access - rather an added extra.

The use of mobile devices demonstrated in these sessions was all very interesting and the children did incredibly well presenting with great confidence to a packed room. However, nothing I saw set my world on fire. The most thought provoking moment of the day came courtesy of a student at the winning school - Normanby Primary. She said that a reason that mobile devices were useful is that "not everyone lives in the same house every night" and that smartphones were easy to take wherever they went. This comment raises important issues for consideration as we move forwards with home access programmes.