So, Friday morning was an early start, up at 5:20am for a 6:20am train heading to Reading and an ANME and Microsoft event at Microsoft’s offices. As always, I had my concerns regarding potential travel mishaps as often happens with me. I was however prepared with multiple cans of “the Bru” to keep me going throughout the day; I suspect Microsoft arent yet forward thinking enough to supply the Bru. As it was, it turned out my expectations were correct; Many less acceptable brands, such as Coke, were available but not a single Bru in site, so that’s the event marked down not long after it had even started!
It promised to be a busy but good day, with this event originally having been planned for late in 2022 with it cancelled at the last minute due to adverse weather conditions. It was a shame this happened, albeit understandable.
Networking with the IT network folk.
So, like a lot of events one of the key features was catching up with quite so many great people all contributing to the use of technology in education. The ANME’s Rick Cowell introduced the ANME and Microsoft even before others such as Alan Crawford and Kevin Sait presented on various topics. Then there were the ANME ambassadors, Peter Othen and Ian Stockbridge to but name a few (and apologies to those I have missed off).
Ian interestingly enough was wearing a T-Shirt which relates to a little project we have both been working on during Jan; Further info on this to be shared soon.
Every event I attend continues to emphasise the fact the “the smartest person in the room, is the room” and therefore the more people we share, interact and collaborate with, the better, with this being one of the key purposes of the ANME.
In terms of the presentations and the event itself there were some techie discussions looking at Intune, a really useful session exploring Microsoft licensing as well as more strategic sessions looking a school 1:1 journey and the benefits of the MIEE (Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert) and Microsoft Showcase School programmes. From my point of view, I took quite a bit away from a number of the sessions particularly in relation to Microsoft licensing and the use of Intune. The use of Intune is definitely something I think we need to build on. Additionally I noted references to the importance of having a plan regarding infrastructure including ongoing replacement, and the need to consider cyber security/resilience; Both these issues are key and should be part of initial planning ahead of tech deployment, particularly in relation to mobile devices or 1:1 programmes. They also need to be continually reviewed in relation to changes in technology usage and changes in the available technologies themselves.
On the way out
Upon the conclusion of the event and after a nice group photo, which hopefully will be shared in the near future, I arrived at the train station a little early. I therefore availed myself of a bar next to the station for a quick pint. There I ended up chatting with a stranger also waiting for a train. This highlighted to me the continuing importance of social contact and the totally random interactions which technology doesn’t tend to currently provide. Technology continues to be a tool but we need to use it to support and enhance our lives, where our lives are that of social animals who crave interactions and especially those which are outside the norm. It was very nice to share a pint and a chat while waiting for a train.
It was great to visit the Microsoft offices, to catch up with so many people I already know and a few new people along the way, while listening to some technical tips and some more strategic insights. This was my first in-person event of 2023 and I can only hope that the events later in 2023 will only build and enhance on this. Onwards to the rest of 2023………