Well it's finally here! The International D&T conference in Dubai, just on our way to Heathrow and flying overnight, arriving nice and early to take in as much of Dubai as possible!
Really looking forward to the main event and sharing my experiences and views on creativity but also to catch up with so many D&T teachers. For a start, I'll be speaking alongside Brian Russell and Brian Smith from ICSAT, Brian Russell trained me in my PGCE a few years ago now at Dixons Technology College in Bradford as a part of the Leeds University PGCE. I studied alongside Michael Bastow and Kathryn Hall who I haven't seen since we completed the course! I've also been fortunate enough to work alongside Bill Nicholl in the last 3 years when training PGCE students from Cambridge University.
There will of course be the added bonus of a catch up with the Technology Supplies staff and putting faces to names from JambleD&T Facebook group!
I'm hoping to put as much info on here throughout the week, images of workshops and presentations!
After only a couple of hours sleep and 60% of 'the hobbit' we arrived in Dubai. Chauffeur drive to the hotel and a beautiful room and view but shattered and decided just to get to the pool for a bit! Bumped into Bryan Russell for a brief catch up as we went off for a walk around one of the malls and for lunch. Booked Burj khalifa excursion for tomorrow but went to see it anyway and was amazed, honestly felt like we were at a film set with all of these huge impressive buildings looking down on us! I'd definitely recommend seeing the fountains outside, they dance to music in such an impressive way every half hour!
Had a walk around the Dubai Mall, was more inspired by the walk through Hamley's than 'Versace Home Store'!!
Bumped into Brian Smith of ICSAT making his way into the hotel.
Finally a couple of Belgian beers with the inspirational Bill Nicholl from Cambridge University, too much teacher talk for Jemma though so we've given in for the night!
Sun burn check - red belly
Random room feature - toilet phone
Much needed sleep until 9am, like a log! Breakfast was a disguised traditional English, not real bacon, not real sausages!!! All coped with well until I cracked my boiled egg and it was brown!
Went to the marina, beautiful beaches, long walk and met a camel!
Went up the Burj Khalifa, amazing 360 view around Dubai and some awesome models/3D prints of it downstairs, basically if anything is learned from Dubai experience, it is what you'd build for a city if you had a blank canvas and lots of money!
Evening time, meeting with tech supplies and all other speakers, top conversations, a few cheeky Belgians and all prepared for tomo! Had a long chat with Martyn, Director at Technology Supplies and came away with so much advice for my business!
Looking forward to it still and a little nervous but on we go!
It's finally here, the start of two days packed with keynote presentations, workshops, stands and loads of networking between likeminded, creative D&T teachers!
Bumped into John Zobrist at breakfast who I'd not spoken to properly, top man and likeminded in his views on D&T and its progression. Watched 3birds tuck into his cereal when he went to get a juice 😁
The conference looked superb and was a huge credit to the staff at the School of Research Science and all of the Technology Supplies team, smart, professional and inspiring! We were welcomed by the Principal, Nan Billingham and were treated to an extra welcome from a Sheikh!
First up, Max McMurdo, talented upcycler and owner of Reestore. Max was inspirational with his passion and enthusiasm and was the ideal professional to start the conference presentations! I knew a little about Max from showing his work to my Product Design students but learned so much more about his career and products. I was particularly impressed with Max's energy and he credited it all to his D&T teacher. On a visit to the mall, he spotted one of his own products as a feature in a shop!
Next, we were treated to an expert in creativity in my opinion, Bill Nicholl. I've been fortunate enough to have known Bill for a few years now and to have worked closely with him on projects and through training PGCE students. Bill made everybody in the room think about their current projects and question the need for traditional work in place of more creative, concept based projects. Bill treated the audience to an insight into the DOT project focussing on inclusive design.
During the break I met many staff who will remain friends and colleagues for the rest of my career and beyond! It was so nice to put faces to names from staff who knew me and the work we do at JambleD&T.
After the break we should have had Gregg Corbett from Technology Supplies but unfortunately a passport issue denied him of a visit! (Sounds worse than it is!!)
Matt and Adam stepped up to take his place and were a credit to the company.
Finally we had David Spendlove, who runs the PGCE course at Manchester. I hadn't heard David speak before but was equally impressed with his ideas and discussion points about D&T and it's need to evolve!
After lunch, the workshops started! I was a part of 'Bootiful design' by 'Mr Max'. We were all given a chance to tinker in the workshop and make some 'boot pulls' from scaffolding board. Realised I took somebody else's home, or they took mine, either way we should know better as teachers, didn't write our names on them!!
My session was next and was able to showcase a range of resources that I use in lessons to tackle the design process. There were resources to help initial ideas, development, literacy and numeracy supports, coursework trackers, the JAMBLE game and SoWs! All seemed to go down fairly well and spotted my KS3 marking criteria up in the workshop!!
Later in the afternoon I met Darren King from Bagpress. He taught all about laminating curved forms using a vacuum press. An extremely knowledgeable guy and I hope to see him again back in the UK!
After a successful first day, Jemma and I went to meet a friend, former housemate and colleague from Lawnswood School for dinner. He took us to the 'observatory' with 360degree views over Dubai and the Marina. Fantastic to catch up with an old friend after 5/6 years and wish him all the best in Abu Dhabi!
My turn had arrived!
Another power breakfast with John, this time he chose to sit inside!
The conference started with a quick recap from Adam, before it was my turn to step up. I had chosen to introduce myself and explain the crazy last 12months for those who had yet to meet me or here about the JambleD&T project. I chose not to use research from an 'academic' point of view but to talk about how everything in the last 12 months has helped to stimulate, support and explore D&T teaching with pupils and teachers. I ended the presentation with quotes from staff in the JambleD&T Facebook group to give it a more personal feel!
Just as I finished I looked up and was bang on 30minutes (my only concern!) and it seemed to have gone down fairly well. The floor was open for questions and the main theme appeared to be about how I manage a work/life balance!
The next speaker was John Zobrist, Head of D&T at UWCSEA, Singapore and recent winner of DATA's 'International support for D&T' award.
John spoke about fixed and growth mindsets and the need to get away from a linear design process. I had already been thinking about how we approach the design process at all key stages and John has certainly given me plenty more to consider as I return to work!
After the break it was the turn for Richard Green, Chief Executive of DATA. Richard covered 'Risk and Reward' and showed the fantastic work that DATA are doing to push forward in supporting D&T teachers with the introduction of the new curriculum, evaluating projects against the NC criteria and the new D&TTV.
Merrick Russell, Co-founder of Designability teacher resources was next to the front. I didn't know a lot about Merrick's work but he certainly knows about the creative mindset and his presentation on 'Default Creativity' was superb!
Time for the final speaker, Brian Russell of ICSAT. I have known Brian for some time as he trained my group as the last PGCE group through Leeds University. Brian is now running ICSAT with Brian Smith and stepped up to give his views on the last 25years or so of exam boards and how they are handling the new proposals. Brian shared a wealth of knowledge and explained the need to get away from typical, similar projects that had plagued moderators for years and how we should encourage more creative and practical responses.
That was it....all presentations done and time for the final workshops. I was really pleased to see to members of staff who were on the same PGCE course as me and was a great opportunity to catch up after 10years!! Again, staff viewed and discussed resources from JambleD&T amongst others that I use and I felt that both workshops were an excellent opportunity to really discuss teaching with staff.
After packing up, I'd missed the start of Richard's workshop and didn't want to interrupt late but managed to take part in Merrick's session later on. He introduced the Power Anchor and Balsa projects he completes with pupils along all ages.
Time was up and after a very busy few days it was a chance for Sandy Brandmeier, CEO of Wall Family Enterprise to close the event. Sandy was clearly inspired by what she had seen and if anything it confirmed that they were doing so many amazing and worthwhile things to support D&T education worldwide through Technology Supplies.
As we approached our final evening in Dubai, we had one last treat to look forward to. A closing dinner with delegates, speakers, support and staff at the hotel. Everyone was so relaxed and enjoyed a wonderful evening in the company of new friends and colleagues. We had a couple of creative demonstrations by a local painter and ate a stunning international buffet.
So, all done and dusted! An experience I will never, ever forget and one that I am truly grateful for being given the opportunity to be a part of. A massive thank you goes out to Martyn Edwards and Technology Supplies, they have been so encouraging and supportive of the little part I'm trying to do and all deserve so much credit for their hard work at the event and behind the scenes! I have no doubts they'll have all been delighted with how their hard work had paid off, especially Roxy for putting up with us all! Thank you to 'Mr Tom', his lovely wife and D&T team who welcomed us into their school and had us in stitches throughout the final meal!
Thank you to all of my new friends who gave me the confidence to get through it all and enthusiasm at the event and during the evening of the meal. Finally to each member of JambleD&T as your support in what I and we are doing is what got me there in the first place!
If I've missed anybody I apologise, way too many to name but you know who you are!
I'll sign off now with the hope that all of the (hopefully) wise words at the event, the conversations, the networking, the ideas and the new connections will continue to push D&T forward. We have a subject that is permanently developing/evolving and we need to keep up and keep ahead! This can only be done with enthusiasm, passion and a drive to give our pupils and staff as many opportunities to be creative as possible. Reflect on what you do and remember that we have to take risks and not be afraid to learn from them, no matter how many times it takes to get to our intended goals. This advice is aimed at teachers and pupils, learn together and most of all, enjoy it!