Numbers up as teachers' conference attracts 180

Eva Liardet (12), of Oamaru Intermediate School, shows (from left) Jules Clunie (Mosgiel), Bevan...
Eva Liardet (12), of Oamaru Intermediate School, shows (from left) Jules Clunie (Mosgiel), Bevan Collie (Silverstream) and Dan Dilkes (Palmerston) programming details at a teachers' information technology conference in Oamaru yesterday. Photo by David Bruce.
About 180 teachers and presenters are back in the classrooms at St Kevin's College during their holidays to improve their skills and get new ideas on technology.

The North Otago Primary Principals' Association teaching and learning conference - "It Takes a Whole Village to Educate a Child" - follows a successful inaugural event in 2008 which attracted about 140 participants.

Conference convener Deidre Senior said most of the teachers were from North Otago, but others had come from as far away as Dunedin for the conference, which started on Sunday afternoon and ends today.

The aim is to offer professional development for North Otago teachers and their schools in Oamaru, rather than the teachers having to travel away.

"Out-of-town conferences can be very expensive with accommodation, travel and, if held in school time, paying for relieving teachers.

"It's relatively cheap to have it in our own backyard," she said.

The conference is focused on giving local teachers high-quality professional development in a range of areas, with a view to providing children with 21st-century opportunities.

The success of the event could be measured against the number of people who attended the 2008 conference returning this year and bringing more people.

The conference includes keynote speakers, including one from Melbourne and others from the North Island, then "breakouts" into workshops offering a huge variety of subjects, many based on the use of new technology.

One workshop - "Just Scratching the Surface" - on programming using the Scratch programme, enlisted the help of three Oamaru Intermediate School pupils to "teach the teachers".

Another conference is expected to be held in 2012.

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