National Literacy Conference 2009
I was honoured to be asked to deliver a workshop session on wikis at the National Literacy Conference in Glasgow. Even better, I was able to catch up on all that is happening on the Literacy front in Scotland.
The conference opened with a talk by Mary Ritchie and Janie McManus of HMIe on Developing Capacity in Literacy. This is the second time that I have had the pleasure of hearing Mary Ritchie speak, and as before, I am struck by the very human face she gives to the Inspectorate. She cares passionately about seeing achievement rise in our pupils, but this is tempered by a healthy appreciation for the realities of teaching today. Both she and Janie gave us plenty of questions to think about with regards to classroom practice, and it was interesting to see that they used a Wordle to analyse some of the documents. I can’t stress enough just how important a tool like Wordle is for English teachers — and everyone else for that matter!
They were followed by Professor David Booth who delivered the Conference Keynote, and what a thought-provoking presentation it was too. If you don’t know David Booth, you should. His presentation is by turns entertaining, thought-provoking and inspiring. I’m not even going to try and sum up what he said because Bill Boyd, the Literacy Advisor, has already given a much fuller account of Booth’s points than I managed with my notes… mainly because as well as listening to him talk, I was also following the Keynote on GlowMeet and Twitter. I loved the GlowMeet feed… I just wonder if we’ll be seeing the facility used extensively at the 2009 Scottish Learning Festival — Ministerial address anyone?
One thing that did strike me as I was listening was the thought that the ability to connect and discuss in ‘real time’ as I was doing on GlowMeet and Twitter makes the whole experience richer… but perhaps a little too distracting! Having said that, I was also very aware that I was moving straight from the keynote to deliver my own workshops and I was still adapting some of my slides… I’ll say more on this in my next post!
The afternoon session saw me having the very real pleasure of listening to David Miller of St Ninian’s High School in East Dunbarton deliver a workshop on a cross-curricular project he has been running. This is the second time I’ve seen David talk about what he does in the classroom, and as before, I left with a host of ideas to try in my own room. He is a warm and friendly presenter who, despite having seen his DVD and notes disappear towards Edinburgh, carried on and still managed to show us a replacement DVD by the end of the session! It’s easy to see why he was named Teacher of the Year. The good news for anyone with access to Glow is that he will be presenting a Masterclass on GlowMeet on 19th March at 5pm. I think this is a fantastic innovation, and a sign of where Glow could be taking us in the future: online, interactive CPD for everyone!
So, that was my first visit to the National Literacy Conference. Highly worthwhile and rewarding on many levels. I made some great contacts, and have been asked lots of questions about using wikis… but I’ll save that for my next post!