East London primary teacher Dawn Hallybone picked up the coveted Special Achievement Award at the Handheld Learning 09 conference in London.
Part of a grass roots movement among teachers to bring appropriate new ICT tools into the classroom to support learning and engage young learners, Dawn Hallybone has been trailblazing the use of Nintendo DS handheld computers with her colleagues for a range of learning activities including 'brain training' for maths.
In accepting her award from TV presenter Jason Bradbury (The Gadget Show), Dawn Hallybone thanked her pupils (who had earlier presented their work at a packed practitioners' event at the conference), colleagues at Oakdale Junior School, Redbridge, and Scottish educators associated with the Consolarium project who had provided the inspiration. She had been picked from a shortlist which included education innovator John Davitt and E-Learning Foundation chief executive Valerie Thompson.
Primary headteacher Carl Faulkner picked up two awards - Primary Practitioner and Primary Innovation - for work at Normanby Primary School in Middlesbrough, where pupils use Nintendo Wii and PS machines, PDAs and laptops to support learning at school and at home.
The other award winners were: Sandra Taylor, ICT co-ordinator at Ashton Sixth Form College (Secondary Practitioner); Learnosity (Secondary Innovation); Keith Burnett, ILT development manager at Chichester College (Tertiary, FE and HE Practitioner); APLS Programme (Tertiary, FE and HE Innovation); KC Kelly-Markwick, ILT co-ordinator, Oakwood Court College (Special Needs and Inclusion Practitioner); CapturaTalk (Special Needs and Inclusion Innovation); DRONA by Deltecs InfoTech (Business and Training Innovation).
There were 200 nominations for the Handheld Learning 09 Awards. They were whittled down to a shortlist of 36 by a team of 8 independent judges, and the results for all the categories, apart from Special Achievement (a judges' award), were decided by more than 4,000 open votes delivered by mobile phone texts.
"In a democracy I suppose we must be doing something right," event organiser Graham Brown-Martin (left) said of the voting system. He paid tribute to "the huge amount of talent, innovation and passion for learning, improving people's lives and, despite obstacles, helping people reach their potential".
"It's quite rare for teachers to get rewarded for their innovation," he added. "Performance metrics are all about league tables and geting meat through the factory. My experience of the people here tonight is almost a rebellion, where practitioners and innovators still hold on to the belief that positive change and transformation are possible."