Fobissea Primary ICT Conference 2012

LogoI had the pleasure of attending the Fobissea Primary ICT Conference at the weekend. Thanks to Rik Millington of the British School Manila for hosting.
It was great to be in the company of over 20 keen and enthusiastic ICT teachers and coordinators focusing on primary teaching and working for British Schools in the region (SE Asia).
It was interesting to see the total dominance of Apple within the room, and the dramatic upsurge in the iPad as the primary computing tool (at least for these teachers on the go).
Almost all the schools were deploying iPads in the classroom, and all were finding management of hundreds of iPads daunting. Though some tools for iPad management exist (including Mobile Device Management from Air-Watch) there was a feeling (and concern) that Apple would soon enter this marketplace as they seek to make the iPad more enterprise friendly, and so purchasing a third party tool now might lead to an expensive and inappropriate lockin in just a few months.
App purchasing and deployment was also a huge issue, with various schools purchasing physical gift cards in the UK, so they can buy from the UK app store whilst being located in Asia (a reasonable requirement for British Schools in Asia), and there being much confusion about how many licenses were required to be purchased to place apps in an educational institution over hundreds of iOS devices, with answers varying from country to country even after consultation with the local country's Apple rep.
Among many interesting sessions, I was particularly enthused by Clive Dawes session on Games-Based Learning, but appreciated the need for educating parents and management on the educational benefit for the children.
I also enjoyed the hands-on session on using the NXT Lego Mindstorms robots. Despite failing in my task of navigating and touching a number of towers with my robot, it was my first experience of the new NXT range (though I know it's been out a couple of years), and I remember with fondness buying the original Lego Mindstorm robot over a decade ago.
A valuable weekend that will allow me (with help) to continue to develop the ICT strategy for the British School Manila over the coming years.

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