Four days of intense thinking, talking, meeting and learning is over and I am writing this as I travel home. As I always find after any conference, my brain is overloaded and my iPad full of notes. This post will be my attempt to make sense of those notes and my ideas.
I am interested and excited about the possibilities of using Alice a 3D design program with my class. Alice was created with girls in mind, its intentions are to inspire girls to learn more about programming. A little like 2D scratch, Alice looks interesting, challenging and well worth exploring further. I can’t wait to try it out with my students.
I attended several excellent sessions on the how and why of making global connection with classes around the world. I have made these kind of connections with my class before, mainly through edmodo but there are definitely possibilities that I want to explore further. I will start by visiting the Global Connections website again.
I particularly enjoyed the keynote from American academic Milton Chen, he asked us ‘Do your students run into school at the same rate they run out? Do we create schools where kids want to come in as much as they want to leave.’ I know I try to do this but it is always good to reflect and plan. Milton also had some great ideas for incorporating real world learning into the curriculum. I am especially interested in ensuring I include real experts as much as possible to assist in my assessments of project based units, as well as planning of curriculum.
Sasha Barab – keynote on how games based learning is transforming education by moving out of the darkened room and into the classroom. They are able to do this because games offer entire worlds where learners are central. Where they are important active participants, where the action one takes has a significant impact on the world. And where what you know is directly related to what you are able to do. I am particularly interested in finding out more about Taiga: Fish kill, a scientific role play games where students investigate the problem of dying fish.
Several of the keynotes and presenters including myself, talked about how learning is social. About how both students and teachers need to feel they are part of a community. Interestingly both my presentations were on this topic. In ‘using social media to transform the primary classroom’ Lois and I taught other teachers about the social cohesion that can come when teachers integrate the social network Edmodo into their classrooms. And in ‘Twitter to Techie Brekkies to TeachMeets’ I talked to and with other teachers about how change in education is slow, glacial even. And as early adopters and leading ICT educators we need to play our part in creating supportive learning communities for other teachers, both in our schools and wider networks.
Yet above all else the real benefit that comes from attending a conference such as ACEC2012 was meeting many of the teachers who inspire and educate me daily, face to face. Thinking, talking, meeting and learning with and from teachers from around the country and around the globe, I am blessed indeed.