After the Keynote (see previous blog) we had a very short break and then a group of us went and sat our Microsoft Certified Educator (MCE) exam. This exam gave us a number of scenarios of schools, classrooms, and students and we had to answer questions about each to show our technology literacy competence. It covers:
· Education policy
· Curriculum and assessment
· ICT/technology tools
· Organization and administration
· Professional development
I was relieved and pleased when the word Passed popped up at the end. I’m not a great test taker and I think we were all a little worried about whether we would make it or not!
After lunch (the food was superb each day) we had another breakout session and this one had been talked about widely over the few days – luckily it was on a few times so lots of us could get an opportunity to have a go.
Jacqueline Russell is a program manager on the Microsoft MakeCode team and she let us loose on using a micro:bit, and Microsoft’s brand-new product, Microsoft MakeCode (formally known as “Project PXT” to build a bracelet that we coded ourselves. Firstly, she talked about Constructionism vs Instructionism which is about project based, student led learning vs textbook based and teacher led.
Much fun was had decorating our wristbands and then wearing them and showing others what we had made.
· Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom by Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary Stager
· Launch: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring out the Maker in Every Student by John Spencer
The next session was the last minute panic of finishing our group project and making a presentation to submit. Our group took a while to get together, but eventually managed to finish our project and submit it on time. I really enjoyed working with these amazing educators from other countries and I know that there will be some that I continue to keep in touch with.
The early evening was spent in the Technology Showcase and Hacking STEM experience where we could build a bionic hand using the Hacking STEM curriculum, or chat with product teams and partners of Microsoft. I went around every booth and got totally overwhelmed by the amount of information and the opportunities that are out there for us as teachers and for our students. It was fantastic.
After that I was shattered and ended up going to my room and was fast asleep by 8.30 which probably wasn’t the best option, as I woke at 1a.m. and then spent the next couple of hours completing Monday’s blog as I was wide awake I did end up getting a bit more sleep later which was lucky as Day 3 was even longer.
Getting the blogs written and up was difficult over the conference, hence the later finish of Day 2. It was good to spend time on the plane to get these written and edited and then had to find more time (see my blog on Time) to get the photos and links in. Day 3 to follow soon.