Tuesday, November 29, 2005

TechEx Technology Exchange

I recently returned from Thailand where, as well as having a respite from Dhaka with some necessary shopping and cinema excursions, I attended the TechEx conference held at the Bangkok Patana School. At TechEx I also presented on our Handheld Initiative here at ISD. Information about this presentation can be found here.
About 500 educators from
international schools, mainly from the Asia Pacific region, attended a one-day short-session orinted conference. In addition about 80 attended a two-day focused conference on a topic of their choice. I chose the ICT Leadership conference run by British consultant from Cambridge Education, Chris Thatcher.

Some siginificant ideas and experiences to share from the TechEx event:
  • To 'Teach IT to Learn' was a significant theme of the conference. The need for integration of ICT skills along with subject driven content in an organised way was stressed by key presenter Madeleine Brookes, Head of Secondary ICT at Patana.
  • ICT leadership is needed in a school in order to effectively plan for school-wide integration. The concept of an 'e-confident' school was discussed in terms of allocating time and staffing to planning and developing an integrated program for all students.
  • Mobile computing is impacting on schools in a number of different areas. Here at ISD we are fully immersed in developing, supporting and extending our ubiquitous handheld and laptop programs. Other schools are looking at Tablet PC's as a teacher tool in the classroom and as a laptop alternative for students.
Andrew McBean, Thailand's managing director for Microsoft, opened the conference and spoke about the future develpment of software. A sense of nostalgia pervaded the presentation with a 'look where we were, now look where we are and could be soon' theme to his talk. Juxtuposed with words of wisdom from Microsoft was the Open Source software mini conference where attendees learned what was available, what it did and whether it was compatible with their schools and programs.

Bangkok Patana School
was an excellent venue for the conference. The school has over 2000 students and an appropriately large teaching staff and campus. Their ICT resourcing is generous and the ICT leadership course included a tour of the technology facilities on the campus.

The use of SmartBoard technology is prevalent in both Primary and Secondary levels. Along with a mounted digital projector the teacher has full flexibility to inc
lude an interactive learning environment into the classroom. These pictures show the Primary Head of ICT, Andy demonstrate a SmartBoard with a suspended projector used to put computer images onto the board.

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