EduTech 2015: Super Awesome Sylvia – Maker

Super Awesome Sylvia

Super Awesome Sylvia’s page is *definitely* worth visiting.

Internet sensation Super Awesome Sylvia made an appearance on the main stage! She brought one of her bots with her (a watercolour bot which paints water colour paintings from a scanned image) to show what a young person can do with very little parent/teacher input.

Use of maker ideas (doesn’t have to be electronics) develops a love of learning… for the sake of learning.

Ideas for getting started:

1. Take baby steps – you don’t need to create a fully working robot on your first go. How about something that flashes an LED bulb?

2. Cheap is good. Don’t worry about expensive products. Use off-brand – most of the time it works just as well.

3. Failure happens. You will make mistakes – you will learn from them.

4. Be the student – get along side your kids

5. Don’t sweat the small stuff – just get out there and make something.

Go visit her site and get some making happening.

http://sylviashow.com/

Advertisements

EduTech 2015: IntelEDU – Looks like my school’s done a lot right

Sometimes at these conferences it’s easy to become a bit down… there’s all these cool schools with smart people, doing cool things and producing smart kids. But, what’s really cool is that my school is well on the way to being as cool (if not cooler) than those schools. We’ve been re-imagining assessment and its role in the learner’s life. While we’re not yet 1 to 1 (and we never will be… we’ll be many to 1!), we’re well down the path to a BYOD (or CYOD) environment… we’ve got new wifi infrastructure, we’re going to have NBN soon, and our really smart teachers (that’s all my colleagues) are pushing the boundaries of what a teacher laptop and iPad can do… They’re ready, our students are ready… but is the world ready?

So it’s really nice that the guys from IntelEDU pointed out a heap of things that schools need to do prior to actually rolling out B/CYOD and to ensure good learning. Guess what? We’re doing it or have done it. How awesome is that?

#wearecoct

EduTech 2015: Eric Mazur

Eric Mazur

Eric Mazur

Day 1 of EduTech 2015 is here. The opening keynote is none other than Eric Mazur. He’s a professor over at Harvard University and is currently looking at new ways of learning (or actually the stuff that we know but have difficulty implementing… thanks Education ministers). @eric_mazur

Some of the major takeaways here are that our current assessment strategies are aimed primarily at ranking students, rather than helping students learn, or even really assessing the implications of what they know and how they’d use it in real situations. Authentic assessment really is driven by situations that would apply in the world around us. He shows how assessment in the states is all about isolation (apparently they’re not even allowed to take watches in because they could be smart watches). When we work in the world outside the classroom (note: not the real world… what is real? That’s a topic for another post), there’s no-one there telling him he cant refer to other experts in the field, that he has had to know it all before hand, when he’s working on his nano-stuff.

In fact some of the aims the system is claiming it’s working towards are actually penalised – exams promote cramming, which has negligible knowledge retention comparatively.

So what now?

Let’s mimic real life (his words) – let’s mimic what happens in most industries outside of the artificial walls of hte school.

Collaborative learning? How about collaborative examinations. He drew attention to one of his university phyusics classes, where he uses an individual round of testing, followed by a team round. We could plainly see that there was quite a lot of demonstration of understanding, and little stress. It could be assumed that those students who have less knowledge learn even more while assessing. Is this a bad thing? After all, what are school actually for?

4. Resolve Coach/Judge conflict

Use external evaluators. Keeps you from being the executioner, allows you to remain as a mentor/coach.

Calibrated Peer Review.

We Must Rethink Assessment. If we keep doing what we’ve always done, we’ll get the same results. We’ll have great leaders for yesterday, rather than for the future.

EduTech 2015: It’s all about learning. Really

Day one of the EduTech Conference is here.

EduTech Logo

I’m sitting in the main hall listening to Eric Mazur and feeling like this conference will go well. He’s pushing all the right buttons and it’s all about the learning.

EduTech is the leading Education Technology conference held over two days (three if you include the extra cost sessions) in Brisbane. It has lots of speakers from all around the world, who talk to the influence of technology on education. It also has an exhibition which brings most of the leading technology houses who have even a remote link to education. I love this bit… lots of ideas, products and conversations happen on this floor. Microsoft, Google, Samsung… they’re all there. The only one that’s been missing for these last three years is Apple. Arrogant much? Perhaps, Tim Cook, you might want to consider getting your products in front of the decision makers here..

Education Technology conferences can be fun too.

EduTech 2015: ready for learning. Education Technology conferences can be fun too.

Anyway, I’ll be making lots of posts… hopefully from every session I go to. If you don’t like getting my updates, you might want to move away from your WordPress reader and your facebook and twitter feeds. They will be messy. They will be filled with mistakes, they may not even make sense. Hopefully over time I’ll be able to fix them up and reflect upon all the stuff that is being discussed. They talk fast, there’s lots in the discussions and they don’t stop for notes. So my apologies in advance.

Now, let’s go get learning.

When a ‘real’ teenager is not a real teenager

Social Media There’s been a bit of chat recently about a particular blog post discussing what teenagers really think about social media (A Teenager’s View on Social Media, written by an actual teen), with direct referencing of particular social media platforms. As you might guess, I’m pretty interested in social media and how it can be used to engage our students (let alone keep me up to date with the my social world), so I had a good read of the article.

It is well written, and has some pretty great points, and is written by an actual 19 year old teen. But as I read through the piece, I got a bit uneasy about the assumptions that some of us might then make about teenager use of social media in general, based on the views of this one teenager. Not all of it was matching my experiences of how teens used social media… Am I becoming disconnected from the kids I need to be able to teach? Is there something else going on? And I guess the bigger question could be, just because this is written by one teenager, is it actually representative of all teenagers? To my mind, it isn’t (but then, I’m not a teen, just some old guy who teaches them).

Enter dana boyd (no capitals on purpose), author of It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, a well researched study into the use of social media by teens (and very well worth a read). In this book, she’s researched how teens are using technology in their lives and how that intersects the world around them. In her piece (on Medium), entitled An Old Fogey’s Analysis of a Teenager’s View on Social Media, dana responds to the countless people who sent her the original blog post, with a very well written, thoughtful and helpful article.

Perhaps the biggest take away, if nothing else, is:

“Teens’ use of social media is significantly shaped by race and class, geography and cultural background.”

I found myself wondering how often it was that I placed my assumptions of how my students use technology on the basis of a generalised, westernised, white, middle-class techno-centred group that we’ve all come to assume is the teenager today.

Have a read. It’s food for thought.

View story at Medium.com