Gillian Macdonald looks ahead to what will be on offer at the Scottish Education and Teaching with Technology show next session and advises you to book your tickets early to avoid disappointment
If you haven't been to a SETT show, put a note in your diary now: this year it is on September 24-25. If you have been before, you will doubtless have reserved your tickets already.
This show is one of the most valuable opportunities available to anyone in education who wishes to improve their understanding of what information and communications technology can do for them in their jobs. As well as seeing the latest ICT products available, visitors can attend three talks of their choice.
What's more, it's free, thanks to financial underwriting by the Scottish Executive and formidable organisation by Learning and Teaching Scotland. It is also supported by TES Scotland.
The conference not only offers national and international perspectives on learning with ICT, but also more than 100 seminars demonstrating how a particular technology can be used in your classroom, whether you work with nursery, primary, secondary or further education students. So it is a good candidate for your professional development folder.
Early booking - preferably before the end of this term - is recommended to secure your first choices of one keynote presentation and two seminars to attend.
The keynote speakers include the award-winning futurist, author and consultant David Thornburg, who is regarded as one of the leading speakers in the United States. His philosophy is that students learn best when they are "constructors of their own knowledge", and he provides staff development in educational futures, multimedia, communications and "whole-mind" education.
Marian Brooks, of Cambridge Education Associates, was a classroom teacher and school head for more than 20 years. She sits on advisory groups across the UK and tours abroad, delivering training on school improvement, curriculum development, industry links, inspection, community education and ICT strategies for education authorities.
Keir Bloomer is the former director of education for Clackmannanshire and now its chief executive. He is also the vice-chair of Learning and Teaching Scotland and chair of its Future Learning and Teaching Reference Group. His pamphlet Learning to Change: Scottish Education in the Early 21st Century was published by the Scottish Council Foundation in 2000. He will conclude the conference with a speech on "Learning Communities in a Changing World".
Increasingly, the seminars are led by teachers, often with pupils to help illustrate their work. So, whether you are interested in early years, 5-14, secondary, inclusion, creativity, school management, libraries, communities or national initiatives, there should be something in the 13 strands to help you.
For example, staff from Glenlee Primary in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, including a teacher for hearing impaired children, will demonstrate how they have developed language and communication skills through a parent-child laptop learning project in their nursery class.
A teacher from Croftfoot Primary in Glasgow will show an innovative, integrated approach to delivering the P6-P7 curriculum in an ICT-rich environment.
A staff tutor from Dundee City Council will describe how the primary curriculum can be revitalised through wireless laptops at home and at school. Digital media, online learning and web conferencing can all be harnessed to develop children's creativity.
West Dunbartonshire Council and Open Scotland have been working with residents of Bellsmyre in Dumbarton, employing primary pupils as "family tutors" to educate them in using the Internet for lifelong learning.
Aitkenbar Primary headteacher Lesley Robertson will talk about the project from her school's perspective.
Auchinleck Academy in East Ayrshire has developed a website to support all aspects of art and design (see panel). Teacher Pamela Baxter will demonstrate how it can be used as an extension to work in the classroom.
Dyce Academy in Aberdeen, one of several BECTA award winners at the show, will send drama teacher Lawrence Young to explain how the school has used digital video to develop creative thinking and team working skills.
For all those who have not yet managed to get their hands on an interactive whiteboard - which will be starring again at the show - teacher Bryan McLachlan, of Netherlee Primary in East Renfrewshire will show some simple and more complex ways in which this technology can increase pupil motivation and improve children's learning experiences. He will be accompanied by some young assistants to illustrate the point.
David Orr of St Andrew's High in Fife will introduce teachers to E-lessons, an e-learning package that simply requires access to a PC or Mac with a CD drive. It can be used across the curriculum and adapted to local conditions.
The National Grid for Learning team will run a showcase of teaching resources and web-based services.
There will also be closed sessions for specialist groups. Three hundred members of the Heads Together Internet community will follow a special strand throughout the second day.
Members of the Scottish Executive's Masterclass training scheme - involving 600 teachers, headteachers, education officers and school inspectors nominated to spread the word about ICT in their areas - will attend their own seminar programme in addition to delivering several sessions throughout the conference.
Prominent names in research will also present their latest findings.
Add to the talks the accompanying exhibition run by Emap Education, with more than 100 exhibitors of hardware, software, online resources, digital technologies and multimedia products, making this the biggest ICT in education event in Scotland, the SETT show is genuinely becoming what Learning and Teaching Scotland proudly calls "a major learning festival".
For more information and to book, tel 0870 429 4490 www.settshow.com