I spent Friday afternoon and all day Saturday at the launch of the PLANE website, aptly termed the festival of learning or #FOL12. it was a wonderful opportunity to learn, to network and to play with other educators from around NSW. Yes, play as a large element of the PLANE style uses gaming to attract and assist teachers to learn.
During #FOL12 I was part of the Dolphin airways team, on a mission to score points by completing activities during the two days. Unfortunately despite our best efforts, Dolphin air failed to do much more than leave the terminal! I also took part in a game of laser skirmish during Saturday lunch, explored a virtual world and learned about Sim on a Stick over the two days. So much fun and while learning too, a great reminder that my students love to play and learn too.
I enjoyed several interesting sessions including several on using the iPad in the classroom. Once again they only served to make me want this tool even more. Luckily I also took away the reminder that an iPad is a tool, just one of many in my toolkit. I may not have iPads in my classroom yet but many of my students almost certainly do at home. I resolve to explore ways to allow them to explore some of the apps I have learned about using their own iPads at home.
There were several excellent keynotes, including one from Dr Sarah Howard who asked the question. What does it take to change practice in a school? She posed that many teachers need to be encouraged to take more risks in their teaching, particularly in their use of technology. Yet to take a risk is hard, it means possibly accepting failure. So school leaders need to shape the risks teachers will take. Teachers need to be supported to take risks, when many may not value the perceived risk. Many teachers still need to have positive experiences with technology in order to continue to have a go.
I particularly empathised with Dan Heasler’s message of the need for support of teachers. So many are leaving the profession after only a few years. He asked us what our schools were doing to keep good teachers within the profession? With my schools emphasis on Techie Brekkies and our own TeachMeet called RoseMeet, I know they do what they can. Hopefully other schools follow this path too. If you are a lone teacher please join your local TeachMeet network.
The final keynote was conducted by cartoonist Jason Fox, besides wrapping up the whole conference with these fabulous cartoons, he urged us to consider what we could realistically hope to implement on our return to school. What one thing would we implement? What one thing would we pay forward?
For me that will be exploring the possibilities of using iPads in my classroom, even if that means using ones my students have at home..
So much to think about, so many ideas. Thank you to PLANE for starting the journey, I’m coming along for the flight.
Other Blog posts about PLANE
Currents of my river– A much more comprehensive wrap up than I have managed by Jeanette James
Trends in Ed Tech – By fellow Dophin Air member Sunny South
ICTEUSE– Rolfe Kolbe- Thanks to Rolfe for my updated PLANE profile picture