Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Imagine Centre - Colchester

The Imagine Centre has just opened in Colchester United's football stadium. It is a space that Essex LA have built to try out a range of new learning technologies all in one space, so that schools can visit and see what works best for themselves. Imagine's Director Kate Holland has invited a visit from Portland to help us progress our vision of how we will ICT in the new Academy and we will take her up on that generous offer.

The Imagine Centre has some interesting features:
Can you see the spherical monitor?!! Then there is an interactive floor - similar to the one that the new Chesil school will have, it has a huge screen, but that can also show smaller images from other screens - as you can see, hopefully. At the back is a huge interactive table "surface".

To the left is tiered seating - a bit like the seating our headteachers visited in the New Line academy in Kent (see other photos below) and any laptop or personal device, including phones, will work within this space.

Rather cleverly, all the devices connect to each other - you might see that the globe on the wall is the same globe that is on the spherical monitor - both coming from the same child's computer.

Our lead sponsor was along for the opening, but we are looking forward to a group visit shortly.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Agile spaces

Our lead sponsor was fortunate to visit schools in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales where many are now working, teaching and learning in large agile multifaceted spaces with large student numbers, but teams of teachers too - these spaces are common in schools across Victoria too. Children work well together in teams, seem to be particularly effective when timetable blocks are longer and pay back the schools with self reliance, engagement and focus. When it is done right, these spaces are hugely efective.

In this picture a kindergarten group of 120 children were working with remarkably low levels of noise - they seemed to take the 20 teachers visiting with Professor Heppell comfortably in their stride without distraction. We have an open invitation to link in by Skype conferencing to chat to these visiting team of teachers about what they learned from this and other visits to effective teachers in these exciting new spaces.