What I learnt at #ICE2015Leeds

This was one of those conferences that I am lucky enough to attend every now and then in which I learnt a lot. No dull presentations, no repackaging of old ideas. It was good. Best of all it was free!

Here is a rundown of what I took away:

  1. Google voice typing really works. No longer a gimmick. Report writing might actually be fun -:)
  2. Google tone is a useful way of sharing pages across Chrome in a class.
  3. Make wonder looks good for teaching younger kids how coding can translate into real-world actions.
  4. Ericom connect provides a solution that enables the use of pretty much any Windows-based application on a Chromebook. The traditional reasons for rejecting Chromebooks as a once-and-for-all solution are melting away (right after I've just purchased a Windows laptop grrr...)
  5. ClassFlow looks like a useful way of extending the functionality of Google Classroom. Worth a play.
  6. Google Chrome-bits could be used to re-purpose old screens or for display purposes around the school. Note though that the 'old' monitors will need an HDMI socket and you'll need to trust pupils/staff not to walk off with them! They will be available in about three weeks' time - just before Christmas(!)
  7. me-2.org is a new service designed to help teens navigate the difficult times in their lives. The peer support element makes it pretty unique and innovative. It was founded by @kerstyncomley.
  8. The Google Certified Educator Level 1 course only costs $10 - something we might well consider putting our staff through.
  9. Homeworky is a homework management tool designed by @ben40forte. It integrates seamlessly with Google Classroom and Google Drive. Looks like it could be worth a play.
  10. HP and C-learning are getting together to provide fully managed Chromebook provision to schools for less than £5 per pupil per month. There would be a guaranteed residual value and schools would know that pupil and staff hardware would never be more that 36 months old. Sounds good.
  11. Thought printing was dead? Far from it - a renaissance led by 3D printers is underway. For example, prosthetic limbs, expensive things that normally take months to be produced, can now be knocked up in a matter of minutes.
  12. Could we be approaching 'escape velocity' with computing? Computers are on the brink of becoming usefully intelligent. If humanity goes on to colonize deep space it is likely we'll send machines to do it for us. Humans don't cope well with the conditions in space, nor do they live long enough to survive long distance space travel.

ICE, by the way, stands for Innovative Cloud Educators. It is a Google+ group set up and managed by @iannairn.

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