Yesterday I went to the Islay ICT: ICT Open Day
Islay High School is one of the Schools of Ambition and is well know for its innovative changes to school organisation and use of ict.
I had a great day from the start. The boat trip from Kennacraig in the company of Moira my HT, Krysia and Doug was a relaxing way to start a cpd event, I even spotted a Porpoise rising to breathe.
Once we got to school we had a visit to the music room where the children were demoing music software, with Ewan in attendance, then a chat with Ian about the umpcs which merged into lunch.
central to the use of the umpcs at Islay is oneNote which Ian demoed, it is quite hard to describe it briefly, it accepts hand written (on the umpc’s touchscreen) notes, typed text, records audio and video through mic and webcam and allows you to tag, store , search and share all of this. Teacher’s notes and presentations can easily be shared to pupils. The pupils at Islay all have their own umpc which travels home with them.
After lunch we visited the English department where the new S2s were creating a video for the soon to be S1s.
The children were working in groups, had story boarded and planed their movies on the umpcs or bits of paper and were filming and editing. We had a chance to chat to the pupils. Their skill with the umpcs was obvious and I was impressed with the machines (and the pupils) video editing capabilities. Some of the children had come to the high school with experience of iMovie and this seemed to transfer easily to movieMaker.
Chatting to the children about their umpcs was interesting, they obviously enjoyed using them, but the kit was ‘normal’ to them not something special. The umpcs seemed robust and in my opinion would be a better investment than the various ‘mini pcs’ such as the eeePc that are getting a lot of attention for educators at the moment.
We popped out to the back of the school to take in the amazing view and then visited the award winning Bowmore Primary School. The primary received BT Scotland’s ICT Learning Award for the school?s under-five unit uses a Promethean Interactive Whiteboard. We were a bit late to see the children in action but saw some great viedo, filmed by the four year olds, of the whiteboards in action. We also had a good look around the school with the HT, picking up a good many ideas to take back to Sandaig, not least there eco greenhouse.
Then it was back to the high School for a tour of the tech and design department before heading for a quick pint and the 6:00pm boat.
As usual with a trip to an exciting school there was far too many interesting things going on to remember them all, these stand out at the moment:
- A culture of change staff see themselves as learners
- pupils working together according to their needs and interests, rather than on more age based progression
- lots of vocational opportunities
- ICT as a tool rather than a end it its self. Some children prefer paper for some tasks
Ideas I hope to use:
- Pupil recorded assessment on umpcs could be replicated with laptop.webcam/ macbook/isight
- More free use of whiteboard, this happens in our infant department, but my p6s are not as slick with the tools as the wee ones
- The eco greenhouse and wellie flower pots!
- ict and technology needs to be transparent, pupils must be able to use it without thinking, more free use
There was probably many more things that I could mention, but Islay High Open Day was a great event, the chance to spend time observing and talking about all sort of things with the staff there and at Bowmore primary along with a extended and gentle journey giving time for reflection and chatting was a great cpd opportunity. Many thanks to Ian and Islay for inviting us
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