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.

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Why I banned Google slides in class

NOTE: this is a repost from Teaching the Teacher. It’s not my work, but I do agree with it all… And it applies to all presentation software. Use the right tool for the right job.

Teaching the Teacher

I love Google Apps for Education the services keep getting better. There are oodles of scripts and extensions to further enhance the experience for both kids and teachers. As far as ease of use, ability for children to collaborate and a teacher to give feedback nothing beats Google.

Yet there has one been one tool that has been a niggling problem in class.

Slides.

The first thing that most of the kids in my class do when faced with a classroom task is open a presentation. Despite modelling and guiding the kids in design principles, showing them other creation tools, I was still receiving multiple poorly designed slide decks.

Lots of information, bad photos, poor design and a couple of YouTube videos embedded with no context.

When the kids were giving presentations, they were reading off the slide decks. More problematically they weren’t demonstrating a high level of understanding of…

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On being less helpful…

Students Learning

With a bit of trust – students can teach even us. Image from Pixabay – Free images of high quality (http://pixabay.com/en/students-computer-young-boy-99506/)

I love reading this blog, and yet again, I find a gem.

It’s often all too easy to just go ahead and make changes for the kids and pull them along with you, especially when it comes to technology in education. However, every now and then, it’s really apparent that kids can (and do) employ technology in ways we haven’t seen – they’ll find a way of doing stuff that’s easier and more efficient than what we’ve shown them.

We introduce them to a tool and they go ahead and use it ways we didn’t even think of…

Sometimes, we just need to trust.

On being less helpful….

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