The highlight of the conference for me was meeting Sir Steve Redgrave. it was definitely a great draw for me. Although I had already booked to go before I knew he would be at one of the events.
He was taking part in the Wellcome Trust Lecture promoting their sport science packs that will be delivered to schools. The lecture was a good balance between interactivity, information and fun.
The science level was high because Professor Hugh Montgomery was there to explain each experiment in detail. This meant there was plenty learn even for the accomplished biology teacher, so as a physics teacher there was a lot for me to pick up on. I wish I had recorded it.
Another major highlight of the conference was being able to meet the people who contribute to #asechat. On Saturday we had an interesting conversation about the positives and negatives of using Twitter. I still believe the positives outweigh any possible negatives and find twitter and incredibly useful in keeping up to date with resources.
The inclusion of the frontiers lectures in the ASE conference is an inspired idea. There was a variety of subjects and each lecture was given by the staff of the University of Liverpool. I went to the lecture on the Large Hadron Collider, which helped to update my knowledge. (For example I now know that neutrinos have mass but that was unsure didn't when I was at university).
It is useful to know that finding the Higgs Boson isn't the end of the work particle physicists have to do, and it helped my ability to answer questions by my students. The search for the Higgs Boson is a hot topic in my classroom. It was even better having a lecture that was at just the right pace and pitch for the audience to follow. There is a question of whether science teachers try to keep up with current developments in their subject; this lecture was such a positive way of doing that.
Apart from the entertaining aspects of the ASE Conference it was also useful to talk to the exhibiters and gain useful information. I was able to talk to OCR about the Gateway Science course. It is taking some getting used to so a few tips from the OCR team was very useful.
I attended two sessions during my time at the conference. One about numeracy in science and one about literacy. They were fantastic on many levels.
The main thing that I took away from the numeracy session is that we need a consistent approach to numeracy across the school to be "outstanding" according to Ofsted. Worcestershire LA are working on this using their advisors and several schools to build up a pack of resources that can easily be used to compare terminology and procedures in maths and science. This can only help to boost results. (Although there is no numeric data to show the impact yet, the advisors are working on this). I was intrigued by the idea of a collaborative project such as this, and feel that the federation I work in has missed a trick by not working collaboratively like this.
The literacy session was a revelation to me. There was so many techniques brought to my attention, such as speaking frames; point evidence, explanation; nominalisation (turning processes and actions into nouns); using cards to develop continuums to support the students' development of informal talk to formal writing. I have never learned so much as I did in the two hours in that session and it was worth the whole conference to me. Well done Camden and Enfield LAs.
However, the real congratulations goes to the ASE, who organised a fantastic conference. I can't wait for 2013.
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Location:Liverpool University, UK