Southwest digital educators: Awards & Conference 2012

I begin this post with a warning:

This post is non vitriolic, it is positive and full of dreams. I am not ill. I am in my right mind, there is no need to be concerned ( if this doesn’t make any sense, read my other posts).

For the last ten years, there have been marvellous regional ICT conferences organised by the Southwest Grid for Learning and the Local Authority Advisors. It has been the most significant CPD in ICT event for teachers in our region. It has run in Bristol and Torbay on consecutive days but last year only ran in Bristol. In these troubled times, it is fair to say that the Southwest Grid are unable to devote the human resources required to run such a huge event and they have sought alternate routes to secure the future of regional CPD conferences in the region. When Professor Wendy Purcell, Plymouth University Vice Chancellor, heard of the potential demise of the Torbay event, she offered the Plymouth University Campus to host a future event for free. Vital stepped up too and are providing the marketing and publicity for free.

So things have changed, the Northern Local Authority Advisors have shouldered the responsibility, along with the Southwest Grid for Learning, for delivering a Northern event in the first week of July, and a new collaboration between Vital CPD, Plymouth University School of Education and the Southwest Grid for Learning, will lead the delivery of a new kind of regional conference in Plymouth on July 3rd 2012, with the kind assistance of a group of former and current LA advisors from the South of the Region.

I am pleased to announce the establishment of ‘Southwest Digital Educators’ who will organise the conference and administrate the awards. At present,if spared, the team working on the event are; myself, Oliver Quinilan (@oliverquinilan) from Plymouth University and Clare Fenwick of Vital. We are working closely with Hilary Guckian and his team at SWGfL to ensure that the event is worthy of the legacy it serves.

So I present you with two new concepts: SW Digital Educators: Awards 2012 and SW Digital Educators: Conference 2012.

We have a conference with a theme “A child’s Place in a Digital World”, we have an opening keynote from Steven and Juliette Heppell, then after coffee, a further keynote from Pie Corbett and David Mitchell. The website will be available to register your interest by the end of January.

The afternoon will be an awards event, sponsored by SWGfL. We are making awards of bursaries of around £300 and a free conference ticket to 10 nominated teachers to fund their attendance at the conference, and some time to prepare a 20 minute case study on the work they are doing with digital tools in their classroom (Primary or Secondary). They will have to demonstrate the impact on learning in their class. The conference delegates will be able to select 3 of the case studies to watch in the afternoon and we will then facilitate a long list from votes cast by the delegates. This will lead to a discussion by a panel of judges who will determine the two most outstanding case studies from the short list. These two will receive a further prize of an iPad for their class.

This conference will not feel like the previous SWGfL regional conferences, there will be no ‘exhibition’, but there will be a group of vendors (20 or so) who come as fellow learners, they will be bringing a small stand (4x1m) and will be happy to share their concepts over lunch and coffee breaks.

The conference will conclude with a question time, chaired by Oliver, hopefully including David Mitchell and the Digital Educator awards winners. Hopefully that won’t be the end, for many of you, there will be a teachmeet and maybe a teacheat later in the evening, meaning that the discussions and learning will go on for many hours after the end of the conference.

So it’s a day paid for by the attendees, not relying on huge sponsorship, beyond the time, effort and money being spent by the three partners. So don’t come expecting loads of freebies, but do come expecting to learn and make new friends. Don’t come with a pen, come with a smartphone, Plymouth University has outstanding wifi provision for every attendee. Come with a twitter account, come to hear incredible stories by incredible people. There will be early bird tickets, but a limited amount, not a time limited ( think easyjet) offer, simply the first batch of tickets will be at a lower cost.

The conference is costed to break even, but any surplus made by the conference will be reserved to provide the bursary and prize fund for the following year. We aim to give the region a sustainable conference in digital learning.

Let me know what you think of the idea, and please start thinking about what you could nominate yourself for….remember, digital learners aren’t just using PCs, they are using cameras, phones, tablets and games consoles….think sideways. more details to come when the website is launched at the end of January.

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9 thoughts on “Southwest digital educators: Awards & Conference 2012

  1. Sounds like an event with a difference and definitely celebrating good practice which has to be good! Will look out for the launch of the web site!

    • I hope you nominate yourself Julia, spread ther word, I want as may teachers nominating as poss…..I want to showcase 10 incredible practitioners.
      We need to chat about the other ‘thing’ too

  2. Can this conference travel over the country so more people can access it?
    East Anglia for example?

    • Hi Nadine,
      It’s good to hear that you like it – we could bring the conference to East Anglia, but would need to develop the same awards structure for that region and find a venue and a sponsor as generous as the SWGfl, Vital and Plymouth University.
      Spread the wors, IOf you can get me 150 teachers, in your region desperate for the event, we could run one in 2013

  3. Fellow East Anglian interested – Maybe link with e2bn and combine with their ICT conference ?

  4. Pingback: Standing on the shoulders of giants – lwf awards 2012 « ethinking

  5. Sounds excellent, especially as it’ll be celebrating good practice which is both local and yet national (and maybe even interneational). Having followed so many of the organisers via Twitter, I look forward to attending the conference.

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