iTEC Conference – Designing the Future Classroom
Boris Berlijn is a SMART Exemplary Educator. He currently teaches geography at Ashram College in Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands. Boris often undertakes student projects within the SEE community and we’re really proud of how he embodies the spirit of inspired collaboration in his classroom. Read about his collaboration with Gert Lemmens at a recent iTEC European Schoolnet event.
I was recently invited to help out in the SMART stand at the iTEC conference in Brussels, Belgium. Together with colleague and SEE Gert Lemmens from Belgium I was at the conference on Thursday. The iTEC conference was held at the Palace Hotel near the central train station in Brussels. Sponsors such as Microsoft and SMART Technologies hosted a stand at the conference in order to entertain, show and share their latest innovative education technology.
At the SMART stand, we were focusing on the new SMART Table, the new SMART LightRaise interactive projector and BYOD solutions such as XC Add-on Beta for SMART Notebook, SMART Response VE and the use of the new SMART widgets. iTEC (Innovative Technologies and Engaging Students) is a four-year project in which European Schoolnet is working with education ministries, technology providers (such as SMART Technologies) and research organizations to transform the way that technology is used in teaching and learning. And I guess this is very SMART, since their goal “redefine the way people learn’” is very similar to this.
The attendees included ministries of education, headmasters and school boards from participating countries. I felt a little ‘off topic’ between all those high officials. In the main ballroom they featured very interesting and inspiring keynote by Kristen Weatherby as well as a lot of speakers who shared there experience and enthusiasm about the iTEC project from the past year.
The presentation about the integration of technology (mainly iPod touch devices) at the Essa Academy from a lower income community in the UK was very inspiring to hear two board members of this school (Showkat Badat and Abdul Chohan) talk about education and students with such involvement. This is something that I remembered from the first time I saw them speak at an Apple Learning Conference last year in Amsterdam.
While the attendants were divided in smaller groups in a workshop kind of setting, Gert and I were able to play a little with the new SMART Table and check out the content that I created for it. During breaks and between the workshops and talks, the attendants were able to walk around in Ballroom II to visit the stands of the main sponsors and talk about their solutions for making the most of technology in the classroom. People came to network and hear presenters, but it was good to show, share and explain about the new SMART solutions.
At the end of the day Ainhoa Marcos and Peter Claxton from SMART Technologies were giving a sneak-peak presentation about the SMART amp collaborative learning software for invites only. At that time Gert and I took over the SMART stand to share the benefit of the shown SMART solutions to the attendants who were interested in hearing the teacher’s perspective. We had a nice discussion with a few European Schoolnet board members about the SMART Table and asked if we thought it was an innovative solution. One particular board member challenged us to create even more innovative content for use with the product. Gert and I took that as a challenge and agreed to upload more lessons for the SMART Table to the SMART Exchange. We’d both love to have one in our secondary class to explore its use with older students. I had great fun with my fellow SEE from Belgium and it was great to attend the iTEC conference and bring some new stuff back home to my school as well.
Boris Berlijn currently teaches at a SMART Showcase School named Ashram College in Alphen aan den Rijn, which was first outfitted with SMART Board interactive whiteboards in 2007. Berlijn is an ambassador of technology in education and of SMART products, in particular, both at his school and within the Dutch government community. In May 2008, he attended the SMART Interactive User Forum in Stockholm, Sweden, which is when he first became a fan of other SMART products beyond the SMART Board.