January – BETT and LWF – WHAT A MONTH!!

BETT 2012

DSCN0090The has got to have been one of the busiest months of my life! A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited to attend and present for Microsoft at the BETT show. I had the pleasure of connecting with people who I had been talking to for months through social networking but had never met them face to face.

I was invited to show how the Xbox Kinect and Kodu could be used in the classroom. As soon as I was given this opportunity I jumped at the chance. I am a bit of a geek when it comes to the Kinect. Those of you that follow my blog will know this by now Smile with tongue out. It was back in July when I first came to terms with the use of the Kinect and have since been making applications for others to use.

DSCN0091Whilst at BETT I was able to show a few ideas to people and with Gove’s announcement there was lots of interest in Kodu and also in the Kinect. A lot of people were keen to get their students to program the Kinect and this is my next step which I hope to work towards in computer programming club at Lodge Park Technology College.

Whilst at BETT I had the pleasure to meet up with all of the Kinect educators known as the “K-Team”. This newly formed team consists of teachers who are currently using the Kinect and Kodu in the classroom.

You can see who else is in the list below:

Stuart Ball @innovativeteach http://blogs.msdn.com/b/teachers/
Gareth Ritter @ritzertech http://www.askthemusicteacher.co.uk
Nicki Maddams @GeekyNicki http://www.interactiveclassroom.net
Dan Roberts @chickensaltash http://www.chickensaltash.edublogs.org
Jimmy Edwards @Jimmy_Edwards http://techlemur.wordpress.com/

Each of these people have so many great ideas and they’re all award winners in their own right! They share and they’re always following new technologies and have interesting blogs which are regularly updated with new content and materials.

Another thing which was extra special about BETT this year was that the partners in learning network have had a re-launch. They have re-developed their website to offer a lot more flexibility and a lot more communication with other educators. You can search for resources on special subjects, software and even more. It offers great CPD and what’s even better is that it’s completely FREE!! If you’re not a member then you really should be. I have recently been uploading many of my Kinect tutorials here and you can keep up to date with them. I have also been uploading some resources on using the Kinect to teach ICT. Join today by going to http://www.pil-network.com .

Learning Without Frontiers 2012

IMG_3907Each year Learning Without Frontiers hosts an annual conference at London’s Olympia which includes some of the most innovative ways of exploring learning in the future.

They have inspiring talks with programmes from some of the top innovators around the world. These include leaders in education, digital media and entertainment.

IMG_3914Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend the whole conference, however I was absolutely flabbergasted when I received a tweet off a friend saying well done on your LWF nomination. I was absolutely shocked and can’t get over the amount of support I received from everyone! I was nominated in the same category as Gareth Ritter (K-Team) and another outstanding educator Genevieve Smith-Nunes. I have had the pleasure of working with Gareth in producing Kinect Applications for his music lessons but had not met Genevieve before.

The Awards celebrate international practitioners, learners and participants who have excelled in the use of mobile, video games, social media, open source or other disruptive platforms for radically improving learning and teaching by demonstrating genuine innovation and best practice that can be shared amongst colleagues.

http://www.learningwithoutfrontiers.com/lwf12/awards/

I arrived at the awards and to be honest, I felt a bit out of place…. I over dressed… I wore a tuxedo ha! Turns out that it was a casual event Smile. I was very nervous and didn’t know anyone but I must thank Genevieve for taking me under her wing! We found each other and she invited me to hang with her and even showed me around. She was a lovely woman and an honour to meet. She has some great ideas for using Green Foot and has some great programming ideas for any of you looking to get your students into programming. You can follow her on twitter @pegleggen.

IMG_3913The awards kicked off and they announced the primary category first and it was great to see how everyone had done. Some of my friends such as @ianaddison were nominated and it’s people like this who make education more interesting for the students. I thoroughly recommend you follow him on twitter. There were also great guys nominated in these categories such as @chrisleach78, @DeputyMitchell and @chickensaltash. Dan Roberts @chickensaltash was nominated in the special achievement category. Unfortunately, he did not win, however I would just like to take the time to thank him. I have had the opportunity to present this year and he has helped me with my confidence no end. He has persuaded me to try different things and has been nothing but supportive! He did ask me to go up and Irish Dance if he won so you’re lucky you didn’t get to see that…

Then it came to the secondary innovator award. This was my category. They called out each of our names individually and talked about the accomplishments of each person. I have already mentioned that I had been in the same category as Genevieve, however I was also in the same category as Gareth Ritter. Gareth is an outstanding teacher and part of the K-Team. He has some amazing ideas on how to use the Kinect in the classroom and he feeds me the ideas on what I could program on the Kinect. It really is a joint team effort.

IMG_3916Then they called out the winner…. I WON! I was sooooooo shocked and overwhelmed. We were told to prepare a speech… I didn’t.. I really didn’t expect to win and It’s all a bit of a blur now! I just remember getting up on stage and thanking as many people as possible and talking about the Kinect ha. I really am dreading seeing the video footage of a Bond look a like struggling to put words together ha.

I would just like to take this time to thank everyone who supported me through this award and to everyone who voted for me! I really didn’t expect this but I would like to thank any one that I may have missed such as my amazing fiancee, parents and the K-Team. I’m pretty I thanked the K-Team but if I didn’t here it is now!

I would just also like to add a message to the family of Tom Cooper. Although I did not have the pleasure of meeting him, I can see the impact he has had on education and educators and innovation.  I was so touched by the speeches everyone made about him. Tom Cooper was a friend of many and mentored many through the use of social networking and he was always willing to give to advice. Everyone would await his gorgeous photos each day. I was really touched by the messages for him and also even more touched by everyone in the room getting to there feet in memory of him. Rest In Peace Tom.

LWF12 was one of the most amazing experiences ever and I look forward to attending future events by them. They have so many great ideas and I’m just sorry that I couldn’t make the whole festival this year. Maybe next year Smile

Thank you for reading this essay and thank you for the support of all of you who follow my blog.

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About Raymond David James Chambers

I am the Lead teacher of computing at Brooke Weston Academy in Corby Northamptonshire. Previously I was the head of IT/Computing at Uppingham Community College. In 2015 I won the Gold National Teaching award for Innovative use of technology. I also won the 2015 Young Game Bafta - Mentor award. I'm keen to help students achieve their best and like to give them opportunities to do this. I have a passion for teaching and I enjoy meeting other people and sharing their ideas. I have a keen interest in games development as well as developing the use of ICT in classrooms across the curriculum. In my spare time I teach Irish dancing. I have been Irish dancing since I was 11. My highest position was 14th at the world championships 3 years running and 2nd at the Great Britain Championships in 2006.
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