I have been back a fortnight from the magnificent ULearn10 ICTPD conference in Christchurch and it is time to put my thoughts here for sharing.
A number of people have asked me what I got most out of it and for me the highlight is meeting the people. Once a year I get to meet up with many of the people who I connect with virtually throughout the year. Online or blended learning is a fabulous thing but you can’t beat the real life connections made with real life people. Through virtual learning I have made many friends, some of whom I will probably never get to meet but wouldn’t it be fun if we were able to get together. As an example of the ULearn experience I met Barbara Reid virtually some time ago, we met at ULearn, we became friends, she invited me to Hamilton to speak at her cluster call back day and this year we had a ULearn10 road trip from Nelson to Christchurch photographing and laughing our way down to Christchurch. Some people say that on line friendships aren’t real- they’re wrong!
Another really powerful take away from the conference was during the first keynote by Steve Wheeler. Amanda Signal was not able to attend to attend this year and I missed her ability to type, link, hyperlink, tweet and listen all at the same time. We needed a another way to archive Steve’s keynote so I created an open Google Doc and tweeted its existence. My network kicked in. It was exciting to see a heap of people viewing and editing the document in real time so I took a screen grab. Through the power of my network I was able to listen intently to what Steve had to say and record and share the notes.
Of course we went to ULearn10 to learn. The learning for me started off with the the regional cluster feedback session on Tuesday afternoon followed by the Pecha Kucha. Ewan McIntosh introduced me to the Pecha Kucha presentation style while he was in Nelson but I was far too stressed with the timing and the slide moving to hear a single word he said! It was fun to hear some talented presenters share their ideas in this fast-paced, entertaining genre.
Then the conference started at full pace. Three days of fast packed learning. I was lucky that I got all of my workshops that I wanted with a mixture of personal interest and cluster goals in mind.
First up was ‘Finding Your Way with Digistore Learning Paths’ with Fiona and Rocky. I was pleased I went to this one as I had been struggling with making Learning Paths- I’m still not proficient but with a bit more practice I will get there. I need to use it a few more times to embed the learning.
Cluster wise I then went to ‘A Journey with MyPortfolio’ with a couple of teachers from Tawa Intermediate. The more practice I get with MyPortfolio the better. People say it’s easy but I haven’t made sense of it yet. I sat next to a woman who bred equestrian horses and she showed me her stunning photos.
I loved Dorothy Burt’s Apple sMACdown. The Smackdown was an opportunity for a pile of Apple types to share some of the cool Apple apps. Geek heaven. I was wracked by iPad envy at that stage- surprised at how many people already had one. And now the 11inch MacBook Air has come out I want one of those as well. Probably more than an iPad! Great for conferences and travelling!
Then there was the conference dinner on Thursday night- what goes on conference stays on conference.
Friday morning I was on the graveyard shift with my presentation- The World is my Classroom. I tried to be all sparkly and fun and only got half way through- if you were there and wondered what happened to the last half of the presentation it is here!
Then came the long drive home!
On my return Cheryl Eden from Richmond started a ULearn wiki where people could open out and share their presentation out from behind the ULearn usernames and passwords. We have asked people if it is OK if we share their presentations in this way. If you read this and would like to add your resources to the wiki it is totally open and I am monitoring it so please share your learning.
Thank you very much to everyone on the CORE team who make these conferences such a great learning experience.
You may like to add your reflections orally here.