I really enjoyed the conference which had the focus of "What's IT got to do with Education". I tweeted my 4 stars and a wish about the conference, but I had other highlights and thoughts.
I thought the size of the conference was just right, not too big (to get lost) and not too small (so you could still attract great presenters). The renewed format for the annual event seemed to pay off, so congratulations to the organising team and thanks all the hours that when into the preparing for the event.
There was also a great balance in the key presenters, the workshops and the playground with lots of useful information about what is coming up in IT education and also ideas that can be implemented in the classroom tomorrow. I also enjoyed the input from students, which I think could be further increased next year, both as presenters and as participants.
It was also great to be able to meet face-to-face with my Twitter PLN, meeting many of them for the first time, such as one of the stars of the conference, student Nick Patsianas @nickpatsianas.
Project-based Learning workshop by Cameron Patterson (@cpaterso)
I really enjoyed Cameron's focus on the pedagogy of PBL, with the understanding that it can only work because of the underpinning technology. As a computing teacher I have always taught by using projects so I am interested in how the different models of PBL could improve how I teach.
As always Cameron presented lots of challenging thoughts and ideas:
- one that got a good response on twitter was about the BOSTES not requiring marks to be used until year 12 (see tweet below).
- Another that I will go back and show my staff and students was a video on Austin's butterfly (watch here) which showed how peer feedback can work
One of the streams of the conference was EdCamps. I was excited by this stream because it hands the power and learning over to the participants. What is discussed and covered is driven by the people in the room.
I was not let down, in the EdCamp I participated in were some of my most valued twitter PLN (I think I was just lucky). We had 2 discussions, including an amazing discussion about "the paperless classroom". There were many different view points and experiences in the room and it challenged my ideas and thoughts. The discussion ended up about the pedagogy and learning of students.
Augmenting our educational future using ICT by Matt Bower (@mattgbower)
I really enjoyed all the keynote presentations, but the one that stood out for me was Matt's about Augmented Reality. I think AR has the possibility of having a big influence on education; although it has been around for a long time, it is now ready for the classroom, I think we are just waiting for the killer app for it to take off.
The ability for blended synchronous learning is exciting, where the boundaries between the real world and the virtual one disappear. The idea of overlaying data with what you see opens up so many possibilities in education.
See Matts presentation here>> http://bit.ly/ictensw15bower
On Friday there was a bus tour of 3 sites, Bradfield Senior College, UTS Lindfield and Google offices. I hosted the visit to my school, Bradfield Senior College.
We moved our College last October into a totally refurbished building at St Leonards. I enjoyed taking the teachers around to look at our learning spaces and to explain how we are using them to engage students and to deliver vocational learning and the HSC. It gave me an opportunity to verbalise what has been successful and what still needs work. (See images below).
The feedback from the participants who did the bus tour was very positive. I would recommend it to teachers next year.
Two areas for improvement
- Get more students involved both as presenters and participants
- Make more time for conversation such as longer breaks and more EdCamps.