Down to London yesterday with 18 students for a Hodder Geography conference. It's the first time I've attended one of these events and was interested to see how it worked.
We headed down on the train and underground to Victoria, and into the Apollo Victoria Theatre, which was set up for Wicked later that evening. Bright blue sunshine and plenty of redevelopment in the area around the station. There were apparently around 1500 students and teachers attending the event.
It was good to see Helen from Discover the World was there (and also the Simon Ross video shown during the lunch break)
We arrived just in time for the start once we had registered, with Sue Warn, who set up the day with an introduction to Plate Tectonics. This was followed by talks from Dr. Martin Degg and Professor Fiona Tweed, who both spoke very well, and set out their stories clearly, and then lunch.
Met a few colleagues, although not as many as I'd hoped.
After lunch it was time for Professor Iain Stewart, and then David Redfern, before we started the journey home.
The day was useful I think. There was some variability in the presentations, and some repetition of the content. I was interested that there weren't more exam questions and 'model answers' being shown taking shape, or guidance on how to use the information the students were provided with, or the differences between the old and new specifications (there were a few mentions of this, but perhaps needed a teacher input perhaps even to work with some students through an example? perhaps to break up the format of the day)
Sometimes the presenters said "you can discuss that back in school" for example.
Some slides weren't best designed for presenting in this large venue, and there was also a bit of 'reading' the slides going on.
I made most of my notes while there were images being presented which were being explained with additional content not shown in the notes... and have quite a few websites and new ideas to follow up, such as the Sendai Framework for Risk Reduction.
A useful pack of notes and slide thumbnails was provided, and our students took plenty of notes, and enjoyed the experience overall. Sue Warn kept the event running to time and was a firm and good natured host keeping the mood focussed on the work which was impressive.
This is a useful experience for 6th formers who need to be immersed in particular topics - I guess this would work with other topics, perhaps a Changing Places event or similar topic which people are unsure of.... and I also wondered about the people who might be invited to speak at events like that...