Last week the entire Alaress team including managers, developers and support flew from Melbourne to Sydney for our Annual Schoolbox Meetup at Wenona School. Our goal was to meet with customers in order to break down boundaries and open up communication. After so much hard work crafting Schoolbox, our whole team was excited to learn about its application in the classroom.
We had a great turn out with over 40 people from 12 schools flying from all over Australia and New Zealand. Before the event even started people were engaged in great discussions about Schoolbox and the future of technology in education.
Dr Nicole Archard Dean of Academic Studies at Wenona School opened the Meetup welcoming everyone. The first session was a presentation by Mr Colin McClure, ICT Integrator at Wenona demonstrating how the school uses the system and the features they love. Colin captured the system beautifully by explaining that ‘it just works’.
Teachers from the Junior School and Senior School followed and presented how they use the system in very different ways. Ms Helen Dallas showed how she has built portfolio’s for students and linked them into the class page and allowed students to interact and create their own spaces. It was great to see the rules being broken and teachers using Schoolbox outside the square. It demonstrated to us that Schoolbox is more than just a tool it is also a platform with which whole strategies can be built.
A highlight was certainly hearing from Dr Louise Webb and how integral Schoolbox has become in her daily routine. She gave a great presentation on the tools she uses at a Senior level, these included the online submission system and the assessments. Dr Webb demonstrated a technique that she uses to quickly test students at the end of the class to ensure they have understood and comprehended the class.
After lunch I presented a discussion on the past, present and future for Schoolbox. For those who could not attend or you would like to share this content, parts of the presentation have been uploaded to our new Schoolbox YouTube channel.
The final session at the end of the day was a workshop to find out from all of the schools in attendance what features they thought were most important for future development of Schoolbox. The recommendations gathered are still being reviewed but the top 3 items were:
- Lesson Planning
- Curriculum Development
- Mobile (specifically iPads)
These will no doubt feature high on our list for development next year. We have already started work on many of the ideas and it was great to have our vision reinforced and supported by our clients.
The entire team at Alaress would like to thank all those who attended and participated in the Meetup. We would also like to specifically thank Wenona School and their staff Dr Nicole Archard, Mr Colin McClure, Ms Helen Dallas and Dr Louise Webb for their great presentations and sharing with us and the rest of the Schoolbox community how they are using Schoolbox. We are all looking forward to the next Meetup in 2013.
Check out the photo album from our 2012 Schoolbox meet-up.