This was the first major conference where I have been part of the twitter back channel. For me this is what made the conference. As I tweeted at the end of the conference “Without the back channel I would have missed half the conference” now this may have been a bit of an exaggeration, but twitter did so much for me:
- It allowed me to made direct connections with the presenters, asking questions, that lead to an amazing face-2-face conversations with @tombarrat and @ewanmcintosh
- I saw what other people were thinking about a presentation
- I heard what was going on in other workshops
- The sharing of resources, links and related material in real time about presentations that enriched the content (I loved the tweet of the iPhone harmonica app that was downloaded, installed, and screenshot within minutes of being mentioned in Sir Ken Robertson’s presentation)
Every classroom should have a back channel!
The conference brought together a number of amazing presenters, who presented ideas that matched where I am up to on my own journey. Here are some of my thoughts and notes; this was going to be short but… It is in reverse order.
Sir Ken Robinson’s closing presentation was great, but what else would you expect. Even via video link at 2am in the morning he was still about to punch out an engaging and witty story. He is an amazing storyteller at his peak and loving it, which relates directly into his latest book “Finding your element”. Some takeaways:
- The Purpose of education
2. Adaptability, to help develop creativity
3. Culture, for social engagement
4. Personal, it is a human process
- Education can transform lives and enable them to flourish
- Everyone creates their own life – all humans are creative
- People are in their element in their job when
o They love it and that passion lifts your energy
- He also created an excellent table summarising the conditions for growth in education.
Alan November, presented an excellent explanation and justification of the flipped classroom. I’m more convinced that this is a viable model to engage students and it is not about teaching putting up lots of videos. I loved the question, who should work harder? Answer, students should, they should be suffering more. Through suffering you learn. This covered the concept of who should own the learning (students of course). Most of his material was based on Eric Mazuc. Some takeaways:
- Has technology stopped the growth in learning?
- You can have a good school if teachers own the learning, but you can only have a great school when students own the learning
- Replace Ritalin with gaming or Facebook (student can spend out on both in total concentration)
- If you teach beyond the test and over reach, you will be better prepared for the test
- Change the purpose of the work, teaching a peer is doing it for a friend
- Flip model definition
o Every student asks a question (for homework)
o Teachers study questions
o Students work in class on problems
o Students debrief one another – Defend and question.
o Instructions move towards personalisation
- He presented a better way to do quizzes/tests
o Student then matched with a partner (who had a different answer), to defend and question their responses to come up with a group decision
o Students reflect on what was covered in the quiz and they define a new problem to be solved. (as you only truly learn when you can apply understanding to a new situation)
- Teachers don’t need to produce videos, get students to do it, they like hearing explanations from their peers
- Finally, teacher are more important than ever
- Change how I do quizzes, using the model above.
- Homework I set is about every student coming up with questions!
- Revisit Poll everywhere, if used similar product before but this was so much easier
- Revisit Ed.TED.com (no ads, can set up in a lesson)
- Next SDD, teachers join and research a social media product they have never used before and present on the SDD.
Michael Beilharz, who talked about using MineCraft to gamify the classroom. I’m convinced that MineCraft is something that needs to be used in classrooms. It is being used through after school clubs to develop non-commissioned work which is a theme which was discussed on the first day.
- Talk with some staff about setting up MineCraft
Martin Levins, discussed BYOD. I loved his concept of Digital normalisation: When things are going well with technology it is when no one notices them, they lose their specialness. This is a nature growth of technology.
Kynan Robinson, looked at the modern learner and how learning and teaching is changing. Takeaways:
- Do passion based blogging, which allows connections to real communities in the outside world
- Tradition publishing = best work (only see the final product), online publishing = joining/starting a conversation, ok to published failures to get feedback
- Publishing work continuously opens up more feedback
- Be prepared to put my ideas out there, quickly even if rough. Feedback is the most important thing… Do my blog
- Talk with staff to get students to put project work online throughout projects
Stephen Happell, who looked at what the rage is for the next year. I loved how he presented, a desktop of resources, videos, slides, images and links, which he dipped into to tell his story. Takeaways:
- He loves boats :)
- Over 60 beats per minute affects learning and driving (??research link??)
- Get students involved in the development of their learning spaces
- Learning spaces can be playful, every space is an opportunity for learning and engagement
- It is the decade of the learning professionals
- Let young people take control of their learning, it is their decade and century
- Learners are changing: synchronous is important, real time rich data, informed consumers, reduced teaching costs, hyper connectivity…
- Should I give my girls mobile devices…to develop the skills they will require?
- Get students involved in the development of new learning spaces
- Get raspberry pi into the IT classroom
Gary Stager, covered the creative technology revolution. What energy and so much to think about. Takeaways:
- DYI/maker faire revolution in America, “Show and tell” which is moving online – YouTube
- A good prompt is worth a thousand words. To build a better prompt (for making/projects),
o Ambiguity – allow different types of solutions
o Immunity to assessment
- He mentioned computational thinking and coding/programming should be part of the K-12 Curriculum
- Teachers need to have learnt in the 21 Century to be able to teach in the 21 Century.
- When do kids get to be good or lost in the flow? Deep learning.
- Less is more. Less us (teachers) and more them (students)
- Projects create memories
- Get his notes
- Investigate Maker Faires, can we run one?
- Revisit my project and task, is their too much prompting?
Stephen Harris, looked at change management, what a great leader of a community. Takeaways:
- Do then think
- Can he be my mentor?
- Reduce(remove) staff meeting times
Ewan McIntosh, looked at design thinking. A great presentation, I have more to find out about design thinking. Takeaways
- People come to school because they love a good story
- What happens to people curiosity?
- It allows student to be immersed in the learning
- People need to be able to not just solve a problem but find the problem!!
- Most important thing why are you learning this
- Googleable vs non-googleable questions
- Feedback and feedforward are important
- How does design thinking relate to how I already teach?
- Make sure students know why they are learning things when I teach
Dan Pink, look at the research on motivation. He is an amazingly motivating speaker; you can see why he was a speech writer. He covered motivation research on “The big idea”, kids, teachers and artists. Takeaways
- We have more implicit knowledge of motivation than we realise, we know what works
- Reward and punish model only sometimes works
- The Big Idea: Paying more = more motivation, only works on mechanical skills, but for even rudimentary cognitive skills no benefit
- Kids: “If then rewards” do not work for complex or long term and when you need creativity. The problem with “if then rewards, is control. If you control people, they either comply or rebel, neither of these are conducive to learning
- Teachers: Money is a motivator, norms of fairness, just have to pay similar amounts, for teachers you just need to pay enough to take it off the table
- Artists: are significantly less creative on commissioned work. In most schools work set is commissioned. Non-commissioned work is where you see innovation
- What works:
o FedEx days – 24hrs to do what they want, as long as it is not related to their current job, (or 10% time)
o When people know why they are doing things they do it better
- Next SDD day is a FedEx day! Come up with and implement one idea for improving the college. Then present back.
- Look for ways to make staff and students more autonomous and to do more non-commissioned work.
- Have 2 fewer conversations about how and 2 more conversations about why!
Wow, if you read to the end, thanks I hope it was worth your time. Again, feedback suggestions welcome!