27 September, 2007

A message to CISCCON from Harry Poulton

Harry Poulton is one of our tutors, and the driving force behind the Chess-Squared Program.

A mastery learner is one who perseveres and doesn't give up. Let's just say this video is a victory for man over technology!

09 September, 2007

Aberdeen CISCCON Report

It seems strange travelling halfway around the world, to participate in something related to your work, only to fly home again before you feel you can write about it. The whole Scotland thing was simply amazing: a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The night before the conference there was a dinner at The StageDoor Restaurant in Aberdeen.

The luck of the draw at the restaurant table seatings was interesting. The 3 aussies were surrounded by Chess Grandmasters with lots of banter about rankings, ratings and who the next big thing in chess would be. (It wont be an aussie).

Sam Grumont saved the night. I never thought I’d be so happy to hear his stories about China and America that I’ve heard a 100 times - but they were an absolute bloody lifesaver.

It seems the conference had two sub-cultures: the educators and the chess-elite. Educators can see the benefits of chess, while the chess-elite want chess in schools but don’t understand the subtleties to make that happen. So it was a fascinating mix filled with mutual respect and sharing of knowledge.

But the tide turned the morning of the conference, when conference organiser Dodd Forest informed us the Vice Chancellor of the University wanted to talk to us specifically about our project. It seems Aberdeen University prides itself on all things Innovative and Enterprising- words used in the description of our presentation.

When the conference started we felt back in our comfort zone.

Janet Shucksmith, from Teeside University, started the conference with her presenation about ethical issues involved with children and educational research.Ferdinand Gobet presented his research into brain studies and the chess player.

Susan Polgar, bought up as an experiment by her father to prove genius can be created, told her amazing life story, followed by Fritz Gaspard who co-ordinates the $4million Chess In The Schools Program in New york.

Day 2 saw Virginia Morrow, from University of London, kick things off with a presentation about Social Capital, that had elements of CSC’s Enterprise Education Project, and resonated big-time with Chess-Squared. After our presentation on Day 2, Virginia came up and said how excited she was schools in Australia were involved with building Social Capital.

The final presenation, and one of the most interesting was from Fernando Moreno (pictured with Steve Tobias), who uses chess as a tool for counselling and well-being. I’ll be doing a separate post exploring some of Fernandos work.
Apart from the conference itself, the hospitality was par excellence. It left you with a great endorsement for any country you visit: what a great place, and what great people.
It will be interesting to see what projects spin off from the conference. Informal conversations indicate people from Aberdeen Uni (Scotland), Belfast Uni (Ireland), Turin Univesity (Italy) and programs in America are interested in developing some sort of collaboration.

07 September, 2007

National Literacy and Numeracy Week Award Ceremony

On the Tuesday 4th of September the Mt Alexander School Cluster Chess/Numeracy contingent met at Castlemaine Railway Station to travel to the Melbourne Zoo to collect a ‘National Numeracy Award’ for the chess squared program.

Leeane Preece, Liz Granger (acting principal Winters’ Flat P.S.), Harry Poulton (chess tutor), Paige McDonald (year 6 student Winters’ Flat P.S) and Shay Kielor-Reed (CSC jun campus) were there to represent our Castlemaine Secondary College and our primary schools.

It was an enjoyable trip, with Leeanne having organized everything in advance, we arrived on time at the Zoo. Shay and Paige were mesmerized by all the possibilities to explore the animal kingdom offered by the venue. We spent about twenty minutes wandering about the zoo and our two young chess aficionados got to meet the lions and an assortment of exotic creatures.

When we entered the actual conference venue were greeted by a rather loud gentleman on stilts, and dressed in a coat covered in numbers, who took an instant interest in our little group, and on the other side of the entrance was a fellow similarly dressed, and riding a one wheel bike.

Inside the conference hall the festive atmosphere and humor was maintained by a remarkably amusing compare who kept us in fits of laughter with his one-liners, often at the expense of the audience and the prize winners. His humor was light hearted, witty and fun with impeccable timing.

In all it was a wonderful celebration to recognise what we have achieved, through community collaborations, in such a short space of time.

01 September, 2007

Postcards from ABERDEEN Scotland

A message from Susan Polgar

We have had technology hassles so have not been able to bring updates from this amazing conference in Aberdeen.
This has really bought together a global context of goodwill by people wanting to improve education through chess.
Susan Polgar very kindly signed pictures for each of our primary schools and each of our tutors. And here's the picture to prove it.
As usual, Steve and Sam are hard at work in the background.
These links from Susans blog are stories from the conference.

Conference dinner

Supporting Chess-Squared

In action!