The first ever Peterborough CAS meeting was held last Thursday (as I write this). I had pimped this out on twitter, on here and it was on the CAS Community site too. So getting 10 eventbrite replies to say that people were coming was not bad I thought.
Anyway the prep for the first meeting had seemed to be going well, until a hiccup over refreshments for the evening occurred. But with some fancy work from one of our section assistants the refreshments disaster was averted.
9 teachers from 5 local schools turned up in the evening. I knew most of them, some just from brief conversations at our recent STEM Fair, a couple had beaten me up when I was dressed as a bear at a video game show (but that is a story for another day) and one was an ex-student of ours now teaching at a local school. On top of this was myself and my co-hub leader, and two colleagues. So for a first meeting not a bad turn out I thought.
The evening started off with the usual round the table introductions, and then we went straight in to our first presentation of the evening by Joanna Scott from e-skills. I say presentation it was more a round table discussion, with Joanna starting it off by describing who e-skills are and what they can offer teachers. Followed with those round the table giving feedback to Joanna about what e-skills could help them with. Joanna did point out that there were some great resources available for free from e-skills on their website, which it seemed most people are not aware of. There was to be a demonstration of the Big Ambition web site, however there was a problem with it which was down to either our firewall or version of flash. So that wasn't able to be shown. Which is a shame as the site looks like a great resource for students. They answer about 14 questions or so about themselves and then the site suggests IT or IT related careers that they might find of interest.
I think almost everyone got something out of this presentation including the speaker!
After a short break for refreshments, it was my turn to talk about project ideas for students using the Raspberry Pi. This was basically my brain dumping ideas based on stuff I had done with students, and future planned stuff to do. I tied this in with a kind of show and tell of the add on boards I have for the Pi so that people could see what they were like (but not running). Plus I had a large selection from my personal library of Python and Pi books for people to browse through as well.
After my talk we had a brief discussion to get feedback on the evening and to find out what people would like to see at the next one. The overall consensus was that it had been a good evening and folks had got some useful stuff out of it. But next time they wanted a more hands on practical session. So next time there will be two practical sessions being run. The first will be an arduino session being run by one of my colleagues (nicely co-opted into doing, dangers of going to a CAS meet I'm afraid), and I will be running a Raspberry Pi session using an add-on board (most likely the Pibrella).
What I would say is that if you are teaching IT/Computing and you are not part of the CAS Community go sign up here , find out where your nearest hub is and get along to the next meeting. It's a really friendly community of teachers and industry sharing resources and knowledge. It's great CPD (or whatever it is meant to be referred as now). And the face to face of a local hub makes a great networking opportunity and to find people to share ideas with locally.