The 7th Annual eTwinning UK conference recently took place at the National Centre for Schools and Leadership in Nottingham from 15-17 June. This year’s theme was teacher networks and professional development.
As usual, the event went down very well and it gave our ambassadors a chance to network and discuss the work that had taken place over the previous year. It was also a chance to celebrate the success stories of eTwinning 2011/12. See the post below for details of this year’s Award ceremony.
The keynote speech this year was delivered by Dr Anne Looney, CEO of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment. The key message was that we mustn’t lose sight of the big ideas and stories that inspire us. Instead of letting the little things drag us down, networks & connections are key to keeping alive the “big stories” and allowing them to flourish – relationships matter, and no teacher is an island.
Dr Looney also actively used Twitter during her talk. We were all invited to tweet an answer to “I connect with other teachers because…” to the conference hashtag. She checked back regularly on the main screen to share what people were commenting on. It showed the power of Twitter for creating instant dialogue & discussion. In the spirit of this, here are some of the tweets from this session. They should give you a flavour of what was being said, but you can view all the conference tweets at http://topsy.com/s?q=%23etuk12&type=tweet&window=a It’s worth having a quick browse as there are some fantastic links to ICT tools and classroom ideas that people were sharing.
"A curriculum isn't innovative nor creative. Teachers are." David Rogers
teaching as an ecosystem as opposed to focussing on individual teacher performance
Like attracts like. Focus our energy on connecting w those who share the passion & vision rather than despairing at those who do not.
I connect with other teachers because there are always things to learn. As educators we shouldn't overlook fact we are learners too.
Teachers want to change the world. eTwinning helps people reconnect with that big story
‘teachers are not the objects of change - they are the agents of change’.
"I connect with teachers because..." ...there's not one that I cannot learn from
a teacher is also a person who loves learning. The good teacher learns as well as teaches.
The rest of Saturday and Sunday was taken up with workshops. There were sessions on various ICT tools & apps and ideas for professional development. We tried a new format for this year, holding 10 minute “taster sessions” in the main conference room. Based on the idea of the hugely popular TED talks, this was a chance for workshop leaders to present their idea, and why it inspires them. Joe Dale asking us real time questions via Socrative, and Cathy Francis getting the whole room up off their chairs to solve a group puzzle were memorable highlights, but each presenter got into the spirit, and since nobody could attend every workshop, it was a good way to sample all the ideas on offer.
One of the great things about our Annual event is that it gives us a chance to strengthen our regional networks across the UK. We ran regional discussion groups this time round to plan future eTwinning activity, so although this school year is coming to an end, we are already thinking ahead to plans and opportunities for next year.
Last but not least, we were treated on Saturday afternoon to a performance from the Godwin School Choir. Godwin School is in London, and the choir of pupils travelled up especially to sing for us. They are an amazingly talented and confident group, and their performance was one of the highlights of the weekend.
Finally, If you are interested in finding out more about eTwinning, or you are already eTwinning and would like to become an ambassador, please do get in touch with the team at email@example.com. We are always happy to hear about your eTwinning stories, ideas, comments, or questions, and are ever eager to grow our network, build connections, and keep the "big stories" going.