Taking a trip through #exabytes18

Reviewing #exabytes18

Last Friday, we hosted our third annual #exabytes conference, an all-day conference that’s all about delivering fantastic CPD, introducing teachers to new possibilities & approaches, and giving guests some unforgettable experiences. Taking place across the day, #exabytes18 featured a huge variety of sessions covering everything from curriculum advice to innovative lesson approaches, ways to develop the profile of Computer Science in a school, and a whole lot more.

We’ve written this blog to give you a look at some of the sessions we took the time to visit at #exabytes18, whether you weren’t able to attend the show or missed out on some of the sessions.

With #exabytes18 depending upon volunteers, we’d like to take the time to thank everyone who offered their time to make the conference special! We hope you all had a fantastic time at the event, and we’re looking forwards to #exabytes19!

Some great sessions from #exabytes18

With 25 fantastic sessions (along with keynotes and a plenary), there was more to see at #exabytes18 than time let anyone explore - all part of making sure that guests at the conference were able to choose from a range of sessions to take away genuinely, personally useful insights. We went through a great day of events at #exabytes18 - below, we’ve put together a short quick summary of each, along with links to resources from a wide selection of the day’s sessions.

Blocks Beyond Scratch: Following an introduction to #exabytes18, Miles Berry took some time to explore the effective use of block-based programming languages at all levels of teaching Computing, discussing the ways in which the relatively simple interface of a block-based language can enable the effective teaching of Computational thinking.

Making a Difference: It’s vital for Computer Science to be an accessible subject. In an intense early session, Phil Bagge explored some key ways in which teachers can transform students’ attitude towards Computing, developing effective attitudes while building up subject understanding over time by reinforcing key Computational Thinking aspects.

Blockbuster on a Budget: This really engaging session took a look at a few free/ low-cost apps designed to make it easy for students to add high-powered effects to videos they create, from AR cards (creating and controlling 3D models on screen) to simple greenscreen apps (replacing backgrounds with other video/ imagery) and more.

Script to Screen STEM Roles: Students need to be aware that the market for STEM-related jobs is far more than just ‘sitting behind a computer all day’ - this guest session from the Emmerdale experience took a look at some of the more glamorous roles opened up by STEM subjects.

Online Safety Round Table: Online safety is a key concern for schools, with this session seeing exploration and discussion of some major topics within that wider field, with teachers talking about some of the most pressing topics in digital safety, from parent awareness to the potential misuse of popular apps.

Escape the Classroom: In many cases, Computer Science is taught as a somewhat individual subject, which can put people off. In this extremely fun session, Claire Wicher gave a demonstration of how escape room-style puzzle solving can engage students, while developing teamwork and lateral thinking skills.

Links to slides/ resources: Below, we’ve linked some of the excellent slides, resources and projects shared through #exabytes18. We’ve tried to link to all the resources we’ve seen, but let us know if you’d like us to add links to your work!

Phil Bagge - Making a Difference, Programming Progression, Y3 Planning, Maths Quiz

Christine Swan - Computing on a Shoestring

Dan Aldred - PyGame Introduction

Nic Hughes - Teaching Robotics

Miles Berry - There’s More to Blocks than Scratch, micro:bit Binary Counter

Duncan Maidens - Teaching Network Topologies

What’s next for #exabytes?

Next year, you can expect #exabytes to look quite a bit different. We’d like to ensure that our conference has something for absolutely everyone, which may mean not exclusively focusing on Computing-related topics, broadening the scope of #exabytes19.

We’re also discussing quite a range of different possibilities for the conference next year, all looking at different ways to create an engaging, useful and genuinely accessible approach to CPD. With 2019 a long way off, we’ve got a lot to look forward to - get in touch with us via Twitter @exafoundation if there’s anything you’d like to see at #exabytes19!