I’ve been somewhat quiet here on the site over the last couple of months. Partly this has been due to the usual madness that ensues around report writing season. It’s also been partly due to me beginning to prepare for my new role as Head of Digital Learning and Innovation across the JESS schools here in Dubai.
Not wanting to start small, one of the first things I’ve been up to is planning and coordinating the first JESS conference – known as the JESS Digital Innovation Summit for October this year. I’ve been working on this with the other half of the original iPad Educators tag-team, my good friend Luke Rees, as well as the Director of JESS, Mr Mark Steed. It's taking a lot of work but it's shaping up into something really special for educators here in the Middle East.
You can find out all about the event over on the Summit website – www.digitalinnovationsummit.ae and find us on Twitter via @JESS_Summit. Registration is now open and early bird passes are available at a discounted price until July 7th!
There are tonnes of reasons that teachers in Dubai, the UAE or the broader MENA region should make sure that they’re at the event. Here are my top ten picks specifically for the iPad enthusiasts across the region:
1. Mark Anderson is our Keynote speaker! One of the most innovative educators I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet, Mark “@ICTEvangelist” Anderson is the keynote speaker at the event. Mark is an Apple Distinguished Educator, author of “Perfect ICT Every Lesson” and the host of the incredibly popular #AppShareLive show.
This will be the first time Mark has presented in Dubai and I can’t recommend him highly enough. He was our first choice for keynote speaker and I am so grateful that he agreed to join us and make the event so unique and special.
2. #AppShareLive - LIVE For the first time ever Mark will host a special group of ADEs during a live edition of the amazing #AppShareLive show. See behind the scenes of how he facilitates the event and join the conversation on Twitter live from the crowd!
3. A host of other Apple Distinguished Educators are presenting I could be wrong but I think we have more ADEs presenting at The Summit than any other conference in the region ever. Alongside Mark, myself and Luke, we are proud to welcome Ciaran Kelly, Stephen Cox, Ronan McNicholl. That’s a whole heap of talent right there!
It's not all ADEs either as we have some fantastic iPad themed sessions lined up from the likes of Kate Jones and JESS' own Tom Edge, who recently wrote an excellent guest article for us here at iPad Educators.
4. iBeacons in action One of the first projects that I am spearheading in my new role is an iBeacon project that we have coordinated with Aspire 2Be from the UK. The iBeacons will be re-purposed from classes especially for The Summit and delegates will be able to use the soon to be launched JESS app to trigger content around the site relating to speakers and sessions! Director of Aspire 2Be Simon Pridham will also present remotely alongside myself to share how the project was developed and how we have harnessed the tech in classrooms.
5. There’s a dedicated Arabic language stream Are you an Arabic speaker who would rather enjoy your CPD in your native tongue? We have you covered. The dedicated Arabic language stream includes a wide range of content including the wonderful Moustafa Mahmoud who I recently co-authored an Apps For Islamic Studies article with.
6. Badr Ward will present on Lamsa As a part of the Arabic language stream, we are proud to welcome Badr Ward - the founder and CEO of Lamsa, the Arabic app that won a United Nations WSA award and led to him becoming the UN regional expert in e-content and innovation. This is an amazing highlight for Arabic staff from across the region.
7. Hands-on with the Appy Kids Playkit Set for imminent launch, this innovative new learning toy for Early Years students will be presented by Appy Kids founder and CEO, Dinesh Lalvani during the event. See for yourself why I have ordered one for each of our FS1, FS2 and Yr1 classes (as well as one each for my own children!)
8. VR and AR in action As a part of our emerging technology stream, sessions will be held demonstrating applications and ideas for harnessing Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in the classroom. These will be a lot of fun and ones to watch out for.
9. Coding on iPad Our STEM/Coding stream will include sessions exploring coding on the iPad. David Murphy, who is replacing me at JESS Jumeirah as Head of Computing will be leading a session on the often under-utilised Hopscotch platform that is not to be missed.
10. It’s at JESS! JESS is 40 years old this year (in a country that is only 43!) and one of the most respected, prestigious international schools in the region. We have built a reputation as innovators, especially when it comes to technology and this will be the first time that the school has opened its doors so widely to educators from across the region. Come and find out why JESS is so special.
That’s all from me for now folks. I hope to see many of you at The Summit in October!