Some of the presentations that stay in my mind are:
Stephen Heppell – his presentation style is more like a conversation than a ‘keynote speech’. His talk addressed:
– the importance of arranging the physical space so that it promotes learning and collaboration. Students having a role in building their learning spaces.
– students helping peers and teachers with their tech issues. A ‘Genius Bar’ idea staffed by students.
– gave examples of how new devices now are encouraging collaboration (example, students gathered around an iPad – much easier to do this with an iPad than a laptop or a desktop).
Alan November – talked about the work of Dr Eric Mazur on the use of peer instruction, where students read the content outside of formal lectures and use class time to discuss questions related to the content with each other. An example of the flipping of the traditional classroom setup, with ‘kids teaching kids’ is Mathtrain.tv, a site with maths tutorials created by children for their peers.
Pymble Ladies College – a Principal’s account of change in a school that was already well resourced. So the focus was on getting teams to change the way they work rather than on the provision of resources.
Alan November’s excellent keynote was shortened so that a sponsor’s (Dell) ‘keynote’ could start on time. There was a stark contrast between the two keynotes. Alan November highlighted the importance of the child at the centre of learning, where the Dell keynote focused on how their products make learning easier and more collaborative for students. Sponsors have a role in conferences like this and the trade-off for their presence is that conference fees are lower. For me, I’d rather higher conference fees if it means no presentations like this one. Educators can see through the message to the marketing exercise. I left before it finished.
Was the conference experience worthwhile?
For me, yes. Hearing leaders like Alan November and Stephen Heppell is valuable in that helps to provide a way for us to know that we are ‘on track’ with what we are doing to bring about change in our schools.
The 2013 Congress website – EduTech Congress and Exhibition 2013