If there comes a day when we are able to plug a USB into our brains and download all that we have encountered over a period of time (a bit like Dumbledore’s pensieve) the experiences, conversations and ideas from the past couple of days at ELH would certainly be pushing any download limits.
For me personally, the conference was not only about gaining new ideas and seeing how other teachers are experiencing ICT in schools but also about strengthening the online connections that I have made in recent times. Meeting people face to face that I have ‘tweeted’ with on twitter and strengthening that connection through conversations has been invaluable and has again inspired me to pick up the pace and to try and inspire other staff members within my department and beyond it.
A tweet from Jenny Luca this morning has further inspired me to try and encourage more people within our school to see beyond our school and the potential for extending learning that connecting and collaborating (beyond the school walls) will bring. Not only student learning but also, and perhaps more importantly, professional learning. Professional learning that can be done in classrooms, in the staffroom or at home. You don’t need to travel far or be taken off class to do it.
I attended a variety of sessions at ELH and was aware of many of the tools that presenters were discussing but it is always important to see how others are using those tools (like prezi) and being inspired to use them in different ways. However, I was not only interested in the content of the sessions but also in the way the presenters were presenting (i.e. teaching) the information. I felt I could learn a lot from my teaching peers by simply watching them and seeing how they presented the information, the tools they used to do that and the manner in which they did it. And, I did – I learnt a heaps. I was also inspired by their passion, their knowledge and the tools that they used to get their message across. I learnt a lot through the presenters’ use of ICT and am sure that my students can benefit from ICT if used for the right reasons and in the right situations. ‘Tech for techs sake’ will not add value to the classroom and…
The question now is how do we spread ‘the message’? How do we get teachers using technology effectively? We perhaps need to try to get more teachers into each others classrooms as part of their professional development. Team teaching, mentoring and sharing in the classroom. There is no simple solution but this surely is part of the process. The next image needs to be read from the bottom tweet up.