"Thanks for such a fab innovative and inspiring day"
On the hottest day of the year so far, in one of the hottest months ever recorded in the UK, we welcomed delegates from all over the country to our first ever school's technology summit. The scorching temperatures did not deter our guests as they picked up their badge, logged in to their chromebook and supped their coffee.
The EduTech Summit has been a massive journey for The EduTech Project. We created the business to help spread the word of the amazing cloud technologies available for schools in the north of England. We are particularly fond of Google for Education because both of us have been using these collaboration tools for a few years and have seen the impact they can have on teaching and learning. Furthermore, the potential for these cloud based tools to reduce teacher workload and maximise school budgets, is why we fell in love with them. We were conscious that, apart from a small circle of teachers in the north, schools were largely unaware of the transformative power the Google for Education suite can have within a school.
"Thank you for a really educational day that was well resourced"
Over the last couple of years we have both given talks and led workshops at Google events and school training events around the country and beyond. Additionally, we have presented a podcast that interviews leading lights in the world of education. This has enabled us to make friendships with the inspiring educators that are leading the revolution in school cloud technologies. Mark Allen ("The Godfather" of school cloud technology in the UK) delivered the first keynote talk of the day. Mark has entrepreneurial foresight when it comes to the future of education. He kicked off the summit by explaining why schools need 10X thinking to keep up with our technologically advancing world. Mark provided the spark for the day, directing our minds on why we were there: to form ourselves as educators who can prepare our students for the world they will live in.
Throughout the day we had hands-on workshops for the delegates to get to grips with the cloud based tools available today. I (Dan Fitzpatrick) led an introduction session on Google Classroom, Jenny Aleksandrowicz from Leeds City College shared ideas for independent learning using G Suite and Elysia Willis introduced our delegates to her new subscription service that provides resources for form/tutor groups. In the afternoon our workshops continued with Andy Gudgeon getting people collaborating with G Suite, Andrew Caffrey (Director of EdTech Team UK) guiding people around the G Suite admin console and Mark Allen sharing ideas on how schools can improve communication.
"Thank you for putting this conference on.
Really pleased and inspired. Great it's in the North."
With the inspiration from Mark Allen still in our minds, our second keynote talk was a joint presentation from Andrew Strachan (St. Thomas More, Blaydon) and Steven Hope (Leeds City College). They have both been responsible for leading technological change in their organisations. It was important to hear from them so that we could see that the change to a cloud based system was possible and that it did actually improve outcomes, maximise budgets and reduce teacher workloads. We were then joined via video link by Henry Platten, the founder of eCadets. Henry shared with us his philosophy on keeping kids safe online.
Finally, our last keynote talk was from Dr. Neelam Parmar, the director of eLearning at Ashford Independent school. Dr. Neelam is an international edtech speaker who is winning awards for her academic research and books about the future of edtech. She shared with us how education could look in 10 years time and how we can prepare for it. Her inspiring rubric for integrating technology into school development plans and ultimately improve classroom practice with measurable impact was a real takeaway moment for many of our delegates.
We started this post off discussing how the Summit had been a journey for us - we have always wanted to share good stuff that helps teachers. We were warned off running a conference and at times in the preparation stages, we wondered if we should've heeded that advice! But, thanks to wonderful speakers, supportive partners, willing retweeters and networkers (you know who you are!) and a fantastic bunch of delegates, we pulled it off! Next year is already set to be even bigger and better - put 5th July 2019 in your diaries - it's an event you don't want to miss. Better still, book on for the super-early-bird price of just £35 today.
"I will definitely look at collaborative working much more.
Lots of great ideas that I can take back, not only to my department,
but to my school.."