An exemplar ISANet weekly Newsletter from the Principal’s Pen

The ISANet community is 440+ educators spread across ISA schools and further afield too, with membership in the Americas, Europe, India, South East Asia and Down-under too.  It’s been important for the Association to have a voice about Digital Literacy, to inspire within, to encourage and cajole, as well as to lead thinking in the wider world.

Here’s my latest post, which nicely links to some of the ideas in today’s other blog, and also shows the direction of travel of my own thinking for developments within CCS.

ISANet Newsletter 2 Monday 16 January 2012

The current series of ISA GAPPs courses recommence this weekend at Dixie Grammar School – 4 places left – find that link and the details of all the courses to May here –

Many thanks to the gallant band of ISANet supporters who attended the BETT show last Saturday;  apparently the chair of our beloved ICT committee, Jim Stearns, got lost somewhere in the halls, so much was there to see! Joking apart, there were over 20 supporters of one kind or another (plus a lot more of the general public) to watch my 1.45pm Saturday Google talk on their stand to highlight the GAPPs training we are running, and that was heart-warmingly gorgeous of all!  Here’s the 2 slide shows I talked all over – &

As a serious point, the two major Education shows a year are amazing, free CPD for teachers, with many stands running ‘celebrity’ chats from leading exponents in the field.  I am so convinced in the value of such shows to ensure Teachers update their professional and vocational knowledge, it seems a no-brainer to run a similar ISANet day at the education show at the NEC Birmingham on Saturday 17 March.  So if there are any regular attendees at the NEC Education show, please let me know so we capture the Zeitgeist first time round!  I have posted this date in the ISANet calendar.

Edutone Tablets: The ISANet team at BETT12 chose to visit the CUP stand on which their partners from the USA, Edutone, were showing their latest Android 4 tablets – sizes at the 7”, 8” and iPAD buster 9.5”.  Their VP, Michael Awerbuch has suggested he will ship to the ISANet project 30 such slates for review – some at the 8” size (circa £100 + vat), some at the iPad size at circa £150+ vat.  Battery life is circa 5 hours now, OS is Android 4.0 (ice cream) and the slates come with a leather case and inbuilt keyboard.  The slates play Flash (unlike iPads and in addition have an usb port (in addition to the other media outputs).  Edutone can brand tablets with school logos!You can see some info here – . 

Once I have confirmation of the shipping and arrival of Edutone slates, I’ll open a shared document so that ISANet schools can book them for a 1 week trial.  The point here is as follows – we have been looking for an entry price slate big enough to use as a book replacement, access point for cloud computing and cool enough to win hearts and minds.  I can imagine some schools taking these slates on for school use, whilst others will suggest their pupils bring them as part of their uniform!

Google Science Fair 2012 – first prize $50,000 plus

The 15 finalists (5 in each age category) will be awarded the Finalist Prize, a trip to Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA to participate in the final winner selection event to be held on or about July 22 – July 23, 2012. Finalists will be required to attend the event for two days.  Above and beyond this are 2x$25k runners-up prizes and the grand winner a £50k award!  You can read a whole lot more here –

Entrants can submit Projects in any one of the following categories:

• Computer Science & Math

• Earth & Environmental Sciences

• Behavioral & Social Sciences

• Flora & Fauna

• Energy & Space

• Inventions & Innovation

• Physics

• Biology

• Chemistry

• Food Science

• Electricity & Electronics

Google UK are planning to have local winners too – Robin Morgan is responsible for marketing for Google UK, and more info will be released shortly.  The 3 age ranges are: 13-14, 15-16, 17-18, and in team entries it is the oldest age that counts.

Other points of interest arising early in 2012:  An interesting state-side initiative running for the last 11 years is the Freechild project – I rather like their Ladder of Youth voice and their ideas for different roles young people can play in society – read more here –

Mr Gove has blasted ICT teaching in schools – Jose Fraser is one of the brightest thinkers in the UK on ICT stuff – here’s her take on what’s the difference between computer science, and the broader and much to be desired development in all schools, Digital Literacy. –

I caught up belated with a Letter to New Teachers  written by Peter Gow, which strikes all sorts of plus points in advising new colleagues about the profession they are joining.  Written prior to the start of the Autumn, Term, it sits well now too, at the start of a new Year.

Some real fun for February 29th?  One of the UK stars of school blogging is David Mitchell, and he has had the bright idea that everyone on the planet should Blog on 29th Feb.  Now be honest, had you yet turned your mind to that crazy event, our Leap year 0f 2012?  Find out more here – and here –

I do hope your Lent Term 2012 has started off with a smile on your school’s face.  I hear today that ISI start ringing headteachers tomorrow to let them know that their Unified Inspection is to start in 5 days time.  GULP!

James Wilding,

About jameswilding

Academic Principal Claires Court Schools Long term member & advocate of the Independent Schools Association
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