Access for every teacher

19th September 2003 at 01:00
Raymond Ross reports on how the Highlands will be actively involved in the show

This year the SETT show is piloting a satellite site at Drumnadrochit on the shores of Loch Ness where, courtesy of Glenurquhart High, 200 teachers will be linked live to the second day's proceedings in Glasgow.

The primary and secondary teachers from Highland and Moray, along with central support staff, will have video feeds to two keynote speakers - David Thornburg and Keir Bloomer - allowing them to put questions to them and gain a flavour of what is happening live in Glasgow.

The National Grid for Learning stand will also broadcast SETT TV on the Internet throughout the day enabling pupils in Glasgow and around Britain and Ireland to link with pupils in Highland using video-conferencing equipment to explore the topic of tourism, as well as allowing them to communicate through the educational chatroom "A Ticket to Space", with links to the European Space Agency.

If successful, Learning and Teaching Scotland hopes to extend the video-conferencing links to Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles for next year's show.

"The purpose is to overcome geographical difficulties which make it difficult for teachers and others to attend the SETT show," says Highland's information and communications technology development officer, John Fisher.

"This is the biggest video-conferencing link of its kind to happen in Highland and we would hope in the future to establish live links with other major events happening in central Scotland," he says.

Glenurquhart High, which is a designated School For the Future, opened at the beginning of this year by the First Minister, Jack McConnell, will host a mini-SETT exhibition with stands of ICT and education suppliers set up in the school.

"I think we were chosen partly because we are an ICT rich school with a system designed to be upgraded easily and efficiently," says headteacher Eddie Broadley.

"Last year I was a Masterclass delegate at SETT. I found it very exciting and suggested that, given distance and travel time difficulties for teachers, we have a mini-SETT in the Highlands.

"The next thing I know is that LT Scotland and Highland have decided to have it here. It is a tremendous way to put the school, the community and Highland on the map," he says.

"On the topic of tourism, we're going to try to link live with a school in Ireland, one in England and one in Edinburgh and the pupils will present a case for coming on holiday to their respective areas. This has already involved our pupils in producing their own DVD footage of the area and amenities," says Mr Broadley.

There will also be 10 seminars delivered by Highland and Moray teachers on the day and Glenurquhart High pupils will demonstrate to the teachers how they use digital video.

Seminars include how to use the primarysecondary maths software Maths Alive, the science software Pasco Data Logging, software for modern languages and music software which allows pupils to input, change, multitrack and play back compositions.

Highland Library Service will deliver seminars on ICT support for pupils'

learning in library areas of schools, support for teachers and for lifelong learning as well as demonstrating the benefits and uses of the Highland Virtual Library.

"The pupils are excited about it though my main concern will still be the running of the normal school on the day," says Mr Broadley.

"That said, and fingers crossed that it goes well, we'd be delighted to host this annually," he says.

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