Thursday, July 19, 2007

Building Learning Communities....let the games begin

Day 1 of the BLC conference is an early one with a lot of people attending the "earlybird workshops", grabbing a bite to eat and then off to the keynote....all before 8:30 am!

On most seats was an egg remote called Activote. The key note Dr. Tim Tyson used this in the first couple of his slides. Several questions were A, B, C or D for your answer. And instantly a graph appeared on the PPT slide showing the results of the audience.

A few things that stood out for me from Tim Tyson's presentation:
  • "Can we shift control (in the schools) to the kids to empower their learning?"
  • In examinations....are we testing memorization or are we testing accessing knowledge/information. If the latter then students should be able to bring all of their resources with them into the examination room.
  • "Who is doing the thinking work in your classroom?" Usually the teachers while the students think passively and only do what is asked of them.

Tim Tyson spoke of what a Web 2.0 school should look like....the relationship of technology and the student body:

  • learners authentically engaged
  • self-directed learning
  • project driven instruction
  • independent problem solvers
  • empowered by technology innovation
  • collaborative learning environment
  • relevant

Session 2 - Marc Prensky:
Marc presented several points for the audience to think about. He believes there will be several things to look at for the future:

- programming as the 21st century language
- exponential change
- the new paradigm of learning
- the new rules of engagement

We should have our kids master:
- oral communication
- logical thinking
- the 7 habits of highly effective people (this isn't a secret from the adult world...share it with our kids)
- programming

The last session of the day was Ewan McIntosh had a great presentation on Public Body (and private faces). He talked about the different spaces we use.....Secret Spaces (such as mobile, SMS and IM...), Group Spaces (Bebo, Tagged, Facebook, etc...), Publishing Spaces (LiveJournal, Blogger, Flickr, Photobucket...), Participation Spaces (Marches, Meetings, Markets...), Performing Spaces (SecondLife, Presentations, World of Warcraft, Home...), and Watching Spaces (TV, Gigs, Theatre, etc...).

Ewan talked about EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES make the biggest impact. For example...CD ROMs have the least amount of impact on technology....but still used it education.

Ways to share it all will have the biggest impact! is a wiki that Ewan and his colleagues have put together to help their educational community have a voice.
A colleague of Ewans (okay well actually his boss) runs an interesting blog called Don's interesting article is Emeging Leadership issues...which has a huge impact on moving forward (or hoping to) in brining emerging technologies into your program or school.
Last session of the day is Marco Torres - Lights, Camera, Learn: Movie-Making Made Simple and Fun!"


Nicole Carporn said...

The presentations yesterday raised many questions for me to. Dr Tim's students had inspiring messages and creating their videos was obviously a valuable engaging, learning experience. My challenge is to convince the teachers back at my school that the depth of learning is worth expending the time given the constrainst of the external assessment. Ideas?

BF said...

Hi Nicole,
I have had the same challenge and I am sure many have :) I think I would look at your early adopters. Work with them on some projects first. I have found that others will be curious what they are doing and then be enthusiastic to give it a try as well. If video is the focus...try using video that will impact their programs. For example: science...creating recorded lab experiments for online resources. Students can view the the experiments prior to entering a class and then view them again for review for an assignment or test. School wide: part of digital portfolios. Phys.Ed: video combined with a program such as SiliconCoach is a very powerful assessment tool. Let me know if you are looking a specific curriculum area and you can email me at:

Nicole Carporn said...

I guess it is about balance and the pressure of the external exams. You are right about teacher peer pressure and friendly competition. You can use it to help communicate a message from within!

It is not that the teachers I work with do not use video themselves and create open ended tasks that allow students to use what ever medium (video, animation, audio, hand drawn posters, essays etc) to present their understandings. To me it is more the question "What do you have to say to the world?" and also the challenge of teaching our students to balance the demands of school.

It is interesting to work in a school where the students actually understand that a computer is a tool and at school it is used to do work! The computer itself has lost its motivational pull, just like the pen did years ago. The students have worked out how much effort goes into producing a video or audio product that they can actually be proud of.

So now more than ever the teacher must engage the students with the task or they will chose an alternative focus for their time.