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ULearn07 so far has been all new adventures, buzz and networking with friends old and new and meeting up with people who I have only got to know through their blogs. I think it is Will Richardson who says that F2F conferences let him meet the person that goes with the mind. Altogether too true. I know how some of these people think and some of the things that are going on in their lives without ever having met them before. A few people have come up to me and said that I have helped them in some way on their learning journey and that is very gratifying for me- I am honoured. Ewan hinted that F2F conferences aren’t as needed as they might be but I love it that you can engage with the movers and shakers of this exciting new world directly. Not withstanding that comment but I am still looking forward to the K12 on line conference next week.
I had great expectations of Ulearn and have been looking forward to it throughout my 14 weeks LWOP.
Now to put it all together while its still fresh. I have been frustrated with not being able to check my mail, Twitter or read through my Bloglines for two whole days. I was bereft so have paid extra for internet access to my hotel room so I can do what I need to do.
These days on of non-ibiquitous internet have brought to to a sharp realisation of mylove of being connected. I kept Twittering into the vacuum via cellphone but didn’t set it to receive tweets via phone as my American friends were keeping me awake at night and I needed to have my cellphone on at all times to allow myself to be reachable.
ULearn started with a powhiri welcome from local Maori.
ULearn Maori Powhiri
We bloggers Jane, Chrissy, Simon and Rachel sat three rows from the front Twittering and Skype chatting our way through our Minister of Education, Steve Maharey’s opening address. We wanted to do a Mexican wave when Derek mentioned the Blogger’s Cafe but kiwi reserve held us back. Steve says some good things about NZ education and I think he is doing a good job- there you are- you now know my political allegiances!
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Then came to the highlight of the day- Ewan McIntosh’s keynote. I had the privilege of meeting Ewan yesterday and he is a very decent bloke with an easy sense of humour, a wonderful Scottish accent and some new ideas to challenge us. That notion of our private space and public space was something I had only thought about briefly but brought home as we bloggers changed from open Twittering to Skype chat as we wanted to communicate more personal reflections on speakers as they spoke- we understood intuitively the limitations and nature of each tool! That is until people’s batteries started dying.
I totally agree with the reasons why we do what we do- that sense of audience, participation and engagement so obvious in even the youngest children- and adults!
Half way through Ewan’s presentation Jo McLeay from Australia Skyped me and was interested in having a listen so she was able to participate- I gave her access to my notes that I was jotting as I was listening- Ewan later hinted that he had read them also- I should have been more complete but they were only meant to be touchstones to my memory and I would like to listen to Chrissy’s audio replay at a later date.
After the presentation I had to race away across town to Sara Taylor’s workshop on Developing Visual Literacy and how to use Keynote’08 to bluescreen photos and KidPix. Awesome stuff and so simple- she had really prepared well and gave us all a resource CD to take away. What a great start to the conference workshop rounds.
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Next was another cross town trek to Jane’s workshop- Thinking, Moving Collaborative classroom. What fun energisers to encourage us to move, to think and collaborate. Reminded me of Sir Ken Richardson’s TED talk- having to move to think. Hey now I can juggle with scarves- the kids in my class will be impressed. I want more of these sorts of activities- we do our energisers in the classroom but I need more ones that have that collaborative edge to them. Any more links to that sort of thing would be much appreciated if you know of any????? During afternoon tea Polycom sponsored the drinks and had a couple of giveaways to hand out. Rachel had been listening intently to the speech making and got a prize for paying attention and I talked my way to receiving a Polycom Communicator for Skype high fidelity, hands free Skype calls without an echo. They probably didn’t realise but they have given their rewards to a couple of people who will really be able to use them well and get the most out out of the tool! A bit like when I won my Apple laptop in a radio competition- when I was at Advanced Communications Royden said then that it had gone to a good home! Thanks Polycom. Who will be the first to try it out when I go on line??? PS- it doesn’t work on my Mac 🙁
I was able to introduce Ewan to the Waimea South ICT cluster which was an added bonus before we all headed out to the Viaduct Basin for a delicious meal and an evening of laughter and camaraderie.
A big day out!