Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Thoughts for a New Year

Well what a year.  Due to a combination of being incredibly busy and some laziness on my part, it's a while since I last posted on this blog but felt a quick recap of the previous year and what's coming up so far this year was in order.  2012 was, in some ways, a very difficult year with corporate restructures and concerns about whether we would transfer back to the council in April all going on.  However, working with the fantastic schools here in Walsall kept me going, with a number of really exciting and innovative projects with the promise of more to come.

Highlights of the year included:
  • Google Sketchup Projects at Greenfield Primary, Alumwell Junior School and Blackwood Primary School
  • Our annual ICT Conference, which was supported by a number of schools and companies as well as (at the last minute) the ever helpful +Mark Allen 
  • Our 'Unleash your creativity with an iPad' event
  • Attending the Google Teacher Academy and becoming a Google Certified Teacher
  • The continuing success of our Lego WeDo and Mindstorms control days, both inside and outside of Walsall, with both pupils and their parents
  • Supporting New Invention Infant School using Apple products to create stop-motion animations and their first iPod app
  • Any number of other projects I could mention including iPads, Skype, Scratch, Google Earth and Nintendo Wii, details of some of which, can be found in our latest ICT Update
Some things I'm looking forward to in 2013:
  • A number of control/programming projects are already planned, many with Scratch (my Angry Birds-style game is really coming on now! - with thanks to +Simon Haughton) and hopefully having my first look at Kodu with pupils as well
  • Fingers-crossed my Apple Distinguished Educators application will be successful as I would love to participate in that program and within that community
  • Following on from the iPod App project, we are moving on to the creation or multimedia-rich eBooks to create personalised content at New Invention Infant
  • Continuing to develop and evolve the Lego Control workshops that are so popular in our schools
  • Google Apps Summit in April this year
  • Supporting and developing the use of Google Apps for Education within Walsall both through teacher training and pupil projects
  • BETT - I am hoping the new venue will invigorate what, for me at least, was an event that was becoming a little stale, so hoping to find something new and exciting to bring back
  • And who knows what else will pop up in this ever-changing environment in which we we live
With (hopefully) a little more security in my role, I'm hoping I can focus all my attention on the projects I am involved with here in Walsall and have a really exciting year.  Feel free to let me know what plans you have for 2013 and if you have any projects you'd like to collaborate with, then please, let me know using the comments section below.