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Tek Rush Milestone Six Reflection

Who are we?

The e-Central Regional ICT PD Cluster is a Cluster of 26 Schools (including small schools, area schools, Primaries, Secondaries and a Health Camp) across Central Otago in our final year of a regional Cluster.

Background

We wanted students to have the opportunity to take part in a relevant, interesting and authentic learning experience using the best features of conferences we attend as professionals.  Linked to this was the opportunity for teachers to expand their ideas of what students can achieve with the aim of future events being run by students themselves. We also wanted a group of teachers to develop leadership across the cluster which would become self sustaining.

What did it look like?

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A committee made up of the Cluster facilitator, 3 teachers and a DP met to begin organising a Kids Technology conference in Central Otago in term One of 2012

130 students from from 14 schools across the Central Otago region in Years 5-7 took part in a full day Tek Rush Kids Conference in Cromwell.

Timetable

9.00-9.10                   Welcome/Thanks

9.10.9.25                    Key Note Speaker

9.25-9.30                    Lucky Door Draw 1

9.30-11.00                  Session one

11.00-11.10                Break

11.10-11.15              Lucky Door Draw 2  

11.15-12.30               Session Two

12.30-1.00       Lunch

1.00-1.30         Video Comp Pres

1.45-3.00          Session 3

3.15                    Home Time

A wix (http://tekrush.wix.com/tekrush) was set up to share information with students and to share student work from the event.  Blurbs about the workshops were made available so that students could select which ones they wanted to take part in and this was a crucial part of the conferences success, students were highly engaged and interested (selected 5 choices, allocated 3)

Students attended workshops that ranged from App Creation to Trick Photography, Creating a website to making animations and everything in between.  Most workshops were delivered by teachers or visiting ‘experts’ such as Sitech, ActivBoard or Jim Cullinane from Khuna Education but as part of our future planning we also had one workshop delivered by student sa s this is the direction we would like to take for future events.  

Byron Wells, a freeskiing star delivered the keynote address pointing out the value in deliberate practice to achieve your dreams. The cluster Film competition category winners were screened at lunchtime and the supreme winner announced and awarded their prize.  Check out our student made ‘Highlights’ video for a snapshot of the day

Each attendee received a Tek Rush T-shirt and through generous sponsorship, a goodie bag full of fantastic stuff ranging from a USB key to a drink bottle, disc holder to morning tea (provided by Mimio)

Prior to leaving, students received a full colour Tek Rush newspaper, Click HERE to check it out

We were incredibly well supported by local and national businesses and student ‘Teckie’ helpers roved around, taking photos and video, ensuring everything went smoothly and aiding to the positive, student focused vibe

Getting Noticed

We passionately believed that students should have wide and varied opportunities for learning like this conference and we wanted people to know about it.  We had local media (Click HERE to check out our article in The Mirror) visit and we also had the Chairperson and trustees of the Central Lakes Trust attend to check out what we were doing and hopefully continue to support the event in years to come.  We contacted all schools within the cluster to share our newspaper and video with them and to create a buzz for this to be a regular event.

How did it go?

The day was an incredible success with feedback on the day from students, teachers and parents highlighting this.  The only issues that occurred were organisational with one key sponsor letting us down leading to issues with hardware and registration on the day.  The organising committee met to debrief that evening and again later in Term Four for future planning.  A sample of students (45) were asked to complete a Google form to collect feedback on the organisation, workshops themselves, the other components of the day and ideas for next time.  We found all of the comments incredibly positive and constructive.  Students identified that they felt it was important to have the chance to learn new skills across multi media and eLearning, they wanted it to become a regular event and also wanted to run workshops themselves!  

Impact

The success of our event has led to four schools setting up their own in school ‘Tek Rush’ events so that a greater number of students have the opportunity to take part in IT/eLearning based learning opportunities.  There has also been interest from an additional 2 schools looking at hosting events for the schools in their area.  Attendees from 2012 have been given opportunities both in class and across the school to share what they learnt at Tek Rush and teach other students (and teachers).  teachers who took part in the day commented on utilising learning from the event within their own classroom practice and have had interest from other teachers to learn new skills to put into practice themselves.  Schools that did not attend the 2012 event have already been in contact to secure places for 2013 and

Next Steps

We have secured funding for a part time facilitator to continue working across the Cluster with Tek Rush as a key component of this.  We had representatives attend the Ulearn presentation ‘Implementing a Kids teaching Kids Technology Conference’ from Silverton Primary School in Melbourne.  We have confirmed that this will be a regional annual event with the 2013 event focusing on kids facilitating workshops with the support of teachers.