EduGeek Conference 2010
by, 3rd June 2010 at 06:07 PM (1718 Views)
The EduGeek conference in Chorley went very well this year, with suppliers and school technical staff alike descending on the Woodlands Conference centre for another day of talks, raffles and free coffee and curries. There was much on the agenda with software such as the EduGeek Logon Tracker to the mind-blowing Mobotix cameras and a glimpse to the future from Microsoft's teams of anthropologists predicting what IT will be like in 2019.
Please note that, while links to companies and suppliers are mentioned in this post, I am not affiliated with any of them. And apologies if you are forgotten about, jumping from MCM Expo to the other side of the country for the conference with only one night in-between scatters your brain a bit.
Conference talks included:
Bunnyfoot attended asking attendees to contact them regarding any useful resources they find to study what school staff find useful when looking for help. Contact them at Eyetracking, usability testing, user centred design - from Bunnyfoot UK if you do find anything you feel useful.
Will Townsend, formerly Special Agent but now running his own company Education Support Professionals, gave a talk on career development in the education sector for IT workers and how outsourcing companies look like a strong position. I'd go into more details but I was fixing my netbook at the time. Will can be contacted at his company site at Education Support Professionals
EduGeek Logon Tracker was discussed and provides an updated version compatible with the Windows 7 era of networking.
Capita came for a discussion on SIMS and the future they plan on taking. It looks liek they are taking the stance towards cloud software and the competition between VLE and MIS software. There was even screenshots of past SIMS user interfaces including the a scrapped project where the program was running in Internet Explorer 6! A fascinating look into where a widely used piece of school software could have been many years ago.
Smoothwall came to talk about their recent releases plus recent security trends. Gambling, Hate, Gore and Fake Antivirus threats have increased over the past year with pornography remaining at a steady level. Plans for Java-based games filters also came up with a Flash filter already in operation plus improved malware detection. Games sites have also been proving a steadily growing pain over the past year. Check them out at SmoothWall | Web Content Filtering and Network Security
FITS stopped by to showcase their plans for providing a framework for IT support in schools and helping to support workers in the education sector following the collapse of Becta. A number of training courses were mentioned in communications and management skills required to run a network (and as a school tech, a lot of different skills are used!) More information can be obtained from The FITS Foundation - Professional qualifications and support for ICT staff within education
Mobotix came by with some frankly jaw-dropping technology in the form of their IP CCTV cameras. I’ll be honest, looking at the graffiti on the train home, I was wondering how many were caught by one of these cameras. Demos were given of how a single fish-eye camera could zoom in on the face of a vandal on a bus no matter where he is. Same for class-rooms, on seeing the demo I thought that many cameras were used. It was surprising to see just one. Find them at MOBOTIX AG - The HiRes Video Company / IP Video Cameras
By and far my favourite talk was by Microsoft and their vision of the future. Some seemed a bit far fetched, with walls plastered with transparent displays and devices instantly capturing data with a flick of a hand. But with Project Natal coming and Lucid Touch providing touch screens without actually touching the screen (you touch behind it), maybe the frankly crazy ideas from Microsoft are closer then we think. Check out the video below to see what was shown by the Microsoft representative and tell me, what important device in most computers is deliberately missing?
Lastly Ruckus came along for their talk on wireless technology but I’ll be honest, it wasn’t my favourite of the lot. After all, why would I need a 50km wireless signal that can serve 3000 people per 15 access points or something? The ideas of load balancing were good but it didn’t feel as relevant to education as the other talks apart from the few bits on the Access Points in a conference room. Sorry guys, though larger educational institutions such as universities may find it useful, unless your LA plans to make a borough-wide Wireless Network.
Back to recovering from the large amount of food and drink consumed at Prego using my swag from MCM Expo. DVDs that play the movie on the surface, now there is a futuristic idea.
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