Saturday, 12 November 2016

Welcome to the Basecamp

We call the initial immersion day for our Star Classroom programme "Basecamp" - because (and forgive the cliche) if the development and sharing of best practice in using IT in the classroom and to engage and support teachers, parents and students inside and outside the room is climbing a mountain, this training is not about carrying people up the slope, it is about getting them to the starting point well equipped and supported and ready to get climbing! In week one we've worked with eighteen teachers from nine different academies, some of whom have already had our new "standard" classroom set up installed.

Basecamp is about 10% to do with how to use the equipment in the room (the remote control takes a few minutes to master of course) but much more about sharing how the current good practice that led the teachers to be asked to join the programme can adapt to it, and the opportunities to  develop new approaches.

All of the materials used are accumulating on a public web page - (many of the videos though are behind a login, for various reasons - please let us know if there is a particular one you'd like us to move over to a public server).

We now have an official logo!
The day breaks into three sections. The first is the simplest and most obvious - making sure everyone can use the screen (both with and without the PC that is mounted behind it) and the various peripherals - and if they have anything else in their classroom already, they know where to connect it and how and taking delivery of their iPad in "Ben's Grotto" and ensuring it is all configured and apps can be installed from our in-house app collection.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, when you let a group of people loose with things they discover features and tools you either hadn't picked up on, or didn't think anyone would care about. For example, when using the screen with its built in basic Android system, it's possible to call up the image from the main computer (and indeed a visualiser if you have one connected) and have them picture in picture to annotate using the pen.

Secondly we spent time on content creation - with a focus on using the iPad for one group of people, and using the "big screen" with the other. Tools for rapid content creation like Office Mix or Active Presenter, which enable you to take existing material and add voiceover and annotation before packaging the results into a movie you can share (through your class web TV channel of course) offer a very low-friction/ low hassle way to make material available to students in a simple way.

Finally we focused on methods to share resources with students including OneNote Class Notebook and Google Classroom.

One week down, five to go! Many thanks to the colleagues that made this week so enjoyable and interesting - and to Charles Read and Malcolm Arnold Academies that hosted the workshops.

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