The last week or so has been really busy, or as they say in Ireland “mental”. Love that!! It was all “good” busy though.
On Tuesday (20th) I launched the NI Innovative Schools Programme on the campus of Stranmillis University College. We had almost 50 attendees from a variety of schools and Educational bodies along with my commercial friends from Cisco, Northgate,BT and Fujitsu. Dr. Tom Hesketh from the Regional Training Unit (RTU) opened the event with a great discussion about the challenges we face in creating “not just good schools but GREAT schools”. He sees the Microsoft Innovative Schools Programme and all of its resources and content as a valuable tool to bring educational leaders and their teams on this journey of change. It will become an important piece of the forthcoming Pre-Qualification for Headship in the coming months.
After Tom was finished, I was fortunate to have my good friend Seamus Ryan speak. Seamus is the Education ICT Officer for the County Meath VEC school system. Seamus was the Principal of Dunshaughlin Community College when it was selected as 1 of the 12 Microsoft Schools of the Future in 2006. He is a true pioneer and innovator is bringing technology into the classroom to make a real difference to both students and teachers alike. He is now leading the Mentor school for the existing 30 Pathfinder schools already in the programme. His experience and deep understanding of what this programme can do for your school staff and students is a valuable resource for me to have at my doorstep.
So, thanks again to Tom and Seamus for giving up their valuable time to be there on the day.
I’m hoping that some of the schools in attendance will consider submitting application for the Pathfinder Programme. If you missed the event, it’s not to late. You can see the documentation on my SkyDrive site. You will need to register on the Partners in Learning Network and then join the WW Innovative Schools Community. In order to participate in the Virtual University taking place on Monday the 26th (at 2:00 GMT and 11:00 PM GMT) you must be registered and have joined the community.
***UPDATE- 23/04/2010– IT LOOKS LIKE THE 1ST VIRTUAL UNIVERSITY IS GOING TO BE DELAYED OR 2 WEEKS. I WILL UPDATE AS SOON AS THE NEW DATE IS CONFIRMED. APOLOGIES FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE THIS MAY CAUSE
All of the relevant details are on the community site and on the Community site of the NI Innovative Teachers Network. Don’t worry if you don’t want to go for the Pathfinder status. You can join as a “Breadth” school and will be given all of the same resources and be able to share and contribute to many of the events taking place in the coming school year.
You can see the full presentation HERE
Yesterday the NI Education Team (Stephanie Conville, Mark Fitzsimons and myself) attended the Learning and Skills Development Agency of NI (LSDANI) Annual Conference. Microsoft was one of the sponsors of this year’s event and it was the 4th year in a row we’ve supported this conference. It took place at the Galgorm Resort and Spa in Ballymena and was attended by 400 of the great and good of Further and Higher Education (FE/HE). Mark delivered a terrific workshop on “Cloud Computing” and I hosted a smaller workshop on Educational tips and tricks for teachers and lecturers. This was a great event delivered by Emma and the team at LSDANI. Trevor Carson can rest easy for another year.
Now it’s all hands on deck for the official opening of the Centre for Excellence in Leadership, Innovation and Learning (CELIL). Make sure you follow my updates to get all of the details around this new and exciting initiative.
I’ll also be working with Christ the Redeemer Primary School and Microsoft Croatia to deliver the online Live Meeting of their project from Berlin. Matt, Kevin, Neil and Ciaran will be talking about what the students did to schools across Croatia along with other invited countries. If you wish to listen in, be sure to check back for details.