After months of organising and promoting The Isle of Wight Conference 2007, Saturday 13th October finally came around and all the best laid plans could be put into practice. Attendance was nearly double what we achieved last year and there was a real buzz around the place as delegates chatted and networked with each other.
The day was intensive and exhausting, yet useful and inspiring for many as they learnt new ideas or developed their own.
Here is some of the feedback I've received already via email:
It was really well thought out and I found it very informative. Many thanks for what must have been a lot of hard work (Sharon Taylor)
The Conference was most enjoyable and gave me much food for thought ............ mix of people excellent and lots of interest in the stuff from Softease (Doug Dickinson)
This message it's just to tell you that yesterday conference was great!! I really enjoyed it and learnt loads of different things that I can put into practise in my every day teaching and will make students much more independent in their learning! It really was inspiring! The podcasting is going to make us save loads of money in all the CDs that we use every year for presentations and GCSE speaking exams... We have now created a weblog in our website linguaryde and see how we can exploit all those ideas and put them into practice... (Eva Campama)
Thanks again for inviting me, Joe. There were some really useful presentations, and at least two will help immediately with work in Hackney. (John Bald)
It went brilliantly - as an event. I got many ALL ideas (mainly from the excellence of the event itself), but the event was good for me personally and there was an attendence of local teachers and a HLTA, which bodes well for the future. (Peter Shreeve)
Just wanted to say I thought it was an excellent day and I got a tremendous amount out of it. Every session I attended was relevant and informative and I came away inspired! (Ian Peach)
Congratulations and well done on what I thought was a really good conference. it is very obvious how hard you work and your enthusiasm and committment is amazing. I was very happy to come along and had 12 users wanting to sign up for 'Flashmeeting'. (John Warwick)
I am writing to say thank you for a very inspiring conference. I came home my mind buzzing and went straight onto the computer. I am certainly coming back next year!! Again thanks a lot to you and all the people who made this conference such an enjoyable experience. (Marie-France Perkins)
Thank you so much (and Heather too!) for a really great IOW conference. I learned so much in such a short time. The Show and Tell in the Castle Inn was well worth driving like a bat out of *** out of Devon Friday night! As for Saturday - where do I start? I wanted to go to everything! I've blogged about it over on Talkabout Primary MFL but just wanted to say thank you directly because it really really was the best cpd I have had in a very long time! And you made it all seem so slick and effortless - you must be exhausted. (Jo Rhys-Jones)
I have really enjoyed learning new skills (animation and use of Windows MovieMaker). A very friendly atmosphere. I recommend it. Joe and Heather, many thanks for the great conference at Nodehill school. What a lovely, well kept and full of resources school! I hope your pupils know! (Daniele Reed)
Sounds like the IoW conference was a great success! Congratulations! Wish I could have made it myself. We'll soon be starting to plan our next eTwinning national conference (which will probably take place in June next year), and I'd like to have a chat with you about it. By the way, heard a programme on the radio the other night about Nodehill's blogging exploits, and your name was, of course, mentioned! (Susan Linklater)
It definitely was a great event - I learnt so much so thanks again for putting on such a worthwhile conference. (Lydia Monroe)
My head is still buzzing with ideas thanks to the conference. It was an inspiration which should get me going until the next one. (Virginie D. Rayner)
Doug, Chris, Leanne, Steph and The British Council have blogged about the conference too and shared their thoughts on the event. The audio of nearly all the sessions was recorded and I'll be publishing the resulting mp3 files in the coming months, editing time permitting. Thanks to my two Nodehill colleagues Richard and Robin, there will also be an official conference film made available via my blog as well as some footage shot by Wilma Clark from Tonbridge Grammar School. I've already uploaded my photos to Flickr and tagged them with iowconference07. If anyone else would like to follow suit that would be great.
For next year, I'm going to organise a two day event over the first weekend of the October half term holidays (25th-26th October 2008) to give colleagues more opportunity to network with each other and for us to recharge our batteries over the break. This would hopefully encourage even more to make the trip down to the Isle of Wight so we can build further on what the conference has achieved so far.
With this in mind, I am considering moving the MFL Show and Tell to the Saturday evening and hiring out a bigger venue to accommodate us all. This year's S+T proved to be a useful opportunity for colleagues to get to know each other and share ideas in the informal surroundings of The Castle Inn. Everyone who had signed up on the wiki was able to speak and despite a rather slow internet connection for the Flashmeeting with colleagues from England, Scotland, Wales, New Zealand and US everything else went to plan.
I am proud to say that The Isle of Wight Conference 2007 has been the best attended of all the SSAT lead practitioner seminars so far this year and I hope its success will encourage the DfES to continue funding the LP scheme next year so we can all continue sharing our expertise in this way.
A big thank you to all the speakers Chris, Rachel, Leigh, Lisa, Oscar, John, Sharon, Lesley for giving up their time and for all of you who attended. I am planning to host a Flashmeeting in a couple of weeks time to give you the opportunity to tell us how you are applying the ideas you've learnt at the conference and to ask more questions if need be.
Keep in touch.