MIICE Conference Thoughts

Last year I wrote a blog post about my introduction to MIICE (Measurement of the Impact of ICT on Children’s Education). Before being seconded, I’d never heard of the MIICE partnership and I wondered if that was the same for other classroom teachers. At today’s conference in Dundee, however, there were eleven classroom teachers present – so maybe things are changing? I really enjoyed listening to the presenters and I scribbled down some notes as they spoke. I’m now summarising them in this blog post because I think they’ll give me ideas to use in my own classroom practice when I return to school in August – hopefully it will be just a case of searching on here to refresh my memory instead of wading through piles of crumpled paper 🙂 These are my interpretations of what the presenters said, though, so I apologise if  I’ve misconstrued the intended messages.

One of the main purposes of the conference was that the attendees would “hear a range of experiences of dealing with the issues associated with measuring the impact of using ICT as part of the learning and teaching processes“.

  • The first speaker was Donna Bullivant, a class teacher from Cowie Primary School. Donna spoke about how she had used a range of ICT strategies to improve literacy across learning. She began with her use of Endless Ocean and the opportunities that were created for improving writing. Parents were invited to afternoon workshops led by the children. Students from Stirling University visited the class to talk about their diving experiences. The children even had the opportunity to interview a marine biologist. Donna’s message was that it wasn’t just about using the game – but about the many varied activities that were able to be ‘tapped into’ as a result. Donna also spoke about her experience of using Animation with the class. The topic was the Highland Clearances and the children were divided in to ‘families’ who then used storyboarding to tell the stories. She had learned from a previous experience of using Animation that it was important not to get too involved in designing the scenery. Donna decided to focus on simple 2D props because she didn’t want to take away the emphasis from the main learning which was to improve literacy. The class concentrated on script writing – the setting, the characters, and the dialogue. After that was in place, they got to act out the scenes. An important part of the process was the opportunity to showcase the learning. They even had an Oscar ceremony, all planned by the children themselves.
  • Maggie Irving from Argyll and Bute Council opened with this video clip then spoke about the website she has created with loads of ideas for using ICT to support Curriculum for Excellence. She was a very entertaining speaker, but was brimming with common sense advice for taking learning in to the 21st century – even using a simple thing like a digital camera to help children record their understanding of basic concepts such as nouns and verbs. Another great idea was to allow the children to create a forward plan for a class topic. The construction of a large wallchart with movable blu-tack icons is certainly something I’m going to try when I return to class in August.
  • Ian Simpson, a teacher of computing at Inverurie Academy told us about his experience of using Little Big Planet with his S5/6 Intermediate 2 class. He talked about a 4 term project that culminated in a growth of confidence in the students who were involved – and this, in turn, may have led to their improved exam results. In term 3 of the project, the High School students held mock interviews to elect a ‘development team’ – the primary 1 children were the ‘clients’. We were shown an example of one of the levels that was created and 3 brave volunteers even played the game ‘live’ during the conference. It was great fun to watch 🙂 I’m going to take some time to have a closer look at what else is on Ian’s blog.

This blog post just gives a very small flavour of the conference – but at least I wrote some of it down here and I’m sure I’ll be referring to this post for practical ideas next session.

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