I feel a little like an international jet setter these days as I presented two workshops at a mini-conference in Tauranga hosted by the Waimarino ICT cluster. Unfortunately I missed all of Michael Pohl’s opening keynote as I struggled with the Bethlehem College protocols of not allowing non technicians to connect any devices without a technician doing it- including plugging in the data projector! I had made a wiki showing some of the ways I embed ICT into my classroom practice and was trying to add the links in tabs in Internet Explorer one by one and the their PC lab computer froze when it got to something it didn’t like. After fighting the good fight a couple of times I gave up and went back to plan A and asked for help from the technician’s to hook my Apple onto their network which he did in a few seconds. I had made a back-up plan C of a Keynote of screen grabs but that would have been a lame imitation when trying to show the interconnectivity of the web
After lunch I moved onto a second group of folks wanting to podcast with a PC. An exercise fraught with complications I hear you say but I had asked them to download Audacity and the Lame Encoder beforehand to save time. I showed the assembled group a smattering of our podcasts and then we got down to business.
Following a similar practice run session with Upper Moutere School last week I managed a work around to record a digital story using PhotoStory3 and export it as a .wmv file which I converted using www.zamzar.com to a .mov file which can be uploaded to Podomatic which makes these podcasts with graphics ready for iTunes. But these sorts of digital mazes can be a bit bedazzling for novices.
The final keynote was by Neil Melhuish, our MoE e-Learning Project Director. I had not heard him speak before and found his message interesting and challenging. I asked him if I record and edit his keynote. I was not disappointed. Unfortunately the sound quality of the recording left something to be desired so I won’t post it. Note to self- don’t chaw your way through crustly chocolate bars while recording with an iPod. They are very sensitive.
Neil spoke about the way that we record knowledge in the 21st century. The challenging thing (for me) that he talked about that I hadn’t thought of before was the culture-centricity of the way we organise knowledge through the Dewey system. I have always accepted it as being the way that it is and thought of it without challenge. Looking closer though at say the Religion 200’s category. From 200 to 288 all of the subcategories are based on Christianity. All of the rest of the world’s religions lumped together only get 11 subcategories. This is the way Encyclopedia Britannica organises information in its 39 volumes. The way we can co-create knowledge in Wikipedia means that the rest of the world gets a look in- that’s a good thing.
Neil spoke also of the advances in giving children in developing countries access to 21st century learning via the OLPC scheme. I went to order one myself a Give1-Get1 OLPC laptop last Christmas but didn’t realise that the deal finished in 2007. I really do like the idea of giving a laptop and getting a laptop. Neil had a few to pass around. So much for my geekiness- I couldn’t even get the thing open!
I had to hop it smartly to the airport after the keynote and once there had a few moments to spare so opened my laptop to see if there was any chance of open wi-fi. I knew Neil’s nearby presence because I noticed olpc-mesh in my nearby devices. Even closed the clever little things were roaming looking for laptop friends to play with as Neil checked his luggage without shutting down the laptops! LOL