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Aug 02

The First Brighton Kidsmeet

On July 4th 2013 we held the first Brighton Kidsmeet. This was a very exciting if slightly nervous morning for all of us. Three schools were involved for this first event Balfour Primary, Westdene Primary and Hertford Infants

PLANNING

The DLs at Hertford Infants had been involved in the early stages of the planning and we had skyped the DLs at Balfour to discuss our ideas further and get their opinions. You can read more about this on our blog http://hertforddigitalleaders.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/skyping-with-balfour-primary-dls-planning-a-kidsmeet/. I was impressed at the level of fine detail these 6/7 year olds were able to plan. Being a DL is so much more than working with computers – it introduces the children to a whole range of other skills too.

The final arrangements were confirmed by the teachers – a room was booked at Westdene Primary , the timings sorted for just a morning session and it was decided that we would have to limit the numbers to 8 from each school.

Our first problem was how to pick the 8 children to attend. The fairest option I decided for our school  was to send out a letter explaining all the details and have the first back with the consent form being the ones to attend. My DLs had already decided that it should be only the Yr 2 DLs who should go as the Yr 1s logic was that they would be able to go next year! The letters went home at the end of the day and within 10 minutes I had 3 letters returned signed!

The next morning 7 more letters were returned and 2 children were disappointed to find they were the 9th and 10th letters back and wouldn’t be able to go!! I was also disappointed as I realised that these children would be fantastic presenters so with a bit of pleading with the other teachers (‘fairydust898, @pmp4, @wmfranklin)  we agreed that Balfour (who had had the same problem) and Hertford would take 10 DLs each.

PREPARATION

Over the next couple of weeks the Kidsmeet DLs met regularly to work on their presentations. They had split up into 3 groups and their choices were to present about what they had done using Scratch, Using Lego Wedo to program a moving toy and making avatars using Clay Yourself. I supported them when they needed help but really they had such great ideas about what to say and do that I left them to it. They wrote their own scripts and practiced so that they only took the maximum 7 minutes allowed. (Although they were secretly desperately keen to have the toy seagull -although it ended up being a dolphin! –  thrown at them if they went over time!) I was fascinated to hear their conversations about what they felt was important to say and what they could miss out. I had to remind myself that they had never done this before and that they were only 6 and 7 years old!

KIDSMEET MORNING

We all gathered in the teaching school training room (once everyone had found the school!) and the children mingled informally. It was lovely to see the DLs of Hertford and Balfour recognising each other from their Skyping session which helped to break the ice. The older children also thought my year 2s were cute – little did they know!!!

Paul (@pmp4) welcomed everyone and outlined the activities planned for the morning and then we were off. We started with the binary number activity from the Computer Science Unplugged website as  a bit of a warm up and to settle the children.  http://csunplugged.org/binary-numbers.

A few weeks before some of the Hertford DLs had sent a good luck message to the children attending the Dorset Kidsmeet with Alan Frame (@HeadDownEyesUp) and they had reciprocated with a message for us which was shown next. It is so lovely being part of such an amazingly supportive network of Digital Leader twitter folk.

It was then the turn of the children to take over. Apart from ours there were presentations about  www.reasonablyclever.com, gamemaker, appmaker, http://blabberize.com/ and more Scratch ideas including Code Club work. It was so impressive watching the children presenting with such confidence, articulating their thoughts in a very mature manner and manipulating the tech with such ease. I was so proud of my DLs programming live and impressing the older children and adults with their knowledge and skills.

Unfortunately because there were a few more presentations than we had originally planned there was not time for the imovie activity that we were hoping to do to showcase the Kidsmeet at the forthcoming Teachmeet in September. Perhaps we should have gone for the whole day event that the children had originally wanted to do – but what do we teachers know!!!!

All too soon it was time to finish and return to our own schools. My children were buzzing for the rest of the day and so was their teacher. They had all done so well and rightly felt a great sense of achievement.

There are photos of the event on our school DL blog http://hertforddigitalleaders.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/the-first-brighton-kidsmeet/

REVIEW

This is definitely an event that we will repeat in the future and spread the idea to other schools in Brighton and Hove. There are already several other schools interested in the attending the next one. All the presentations were filmed and Paul has set up a Brighton Kidsmeet blog for future events too http://kidsm33t.wordpress.com/

Ideas for next time – make sure we limit the number of presentations

– use a microphone to help the sound quality on the film

– invite cluster groups of local schools so that we can walk to and from the hosting school

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