DLTV DigiCon 15 (the #digicon15 summaries)
Twitter is a marvellous beast. We can only go to one session in every slot during a conference, but thanks to Twitter (and the teachers using it) I have resources from dozens of sessions that I couldn’t make.
Over the two days, we discussed a number of technology issues and heard from some very clever and entertaining educators. I’m going to philosophise about a few things and post some links about the things we found out as I try to unpack all of the information shoved willy nilly into my brain. Please feel free to add to/dispute any of the information I place on here. And enjoy.
First up, something I picked up from my first VITTA conference: Storify. I typed digicon15 into the search bar, pressed SHOW MORE about a hundred times and then stuck all 2000 tweets into a storify article. From that point, I could start to order what happened over the two days and create:
WHAT I LEARNED DURING DIGICON 2015.
Teachers in general are a risk-averse bunch. And fair enough – we are providing a product to parents and we are accountable for our stuff-ups to a number of different groups. However, technological innovation is all about risk taking. And surprisingly, people rarely die from taking risks in this arena. So go for it.
Similarly, we are scared of letting our students take risks. But we need to relax and let them free. Just make sure you’re a member of the union first. Wrapping your students in bubble wrap means that they are ill-equipped to deal with the outside world.
Don’t tell your kids “Be risk takers!” and then “…but don’t do this because you might get hurt!” Schools have too many rules. Set them free. If they fail, if they get hurt, they’ve learned something and will do better next time.
On the subject of failure, Anne Edmonds performed for us. She’s a very funny comedian and she extolled the virtues of failure as a learning device. Risk and failure = success (eventually). But only if you learn from your failures and don’t let them beat you down.
Hamish Curry played games for us, ate a banana on stage and was from that point on part of #bananagate, which I still don’t completely understand. During his keynote, the sales of Duet, Paper Fox and Monument Valley shot through the roof.
Morov, Lessov, Ridov and Tossin.
What do you do that works that you can do more of (Morov)?
What do you need to do less of (Lessov)?
What do you need to completely get rid of (Ridof)?
What else can you toss in (Tossin)?
He made some excellent points about authentic assessment and enquiry learning. His Doomsday website shows what students can come up with when they aren’t limited by teacher expectations.
The philosophy of being a teacher came up over and over. One of the better quotes that popped up on the screen during keynotes and Spark events was: There is no such a thing as a teacher or a student; there are only co-learners. Especially in IT, we learn as much from our students as we teach them, and the successful teacher is the one that is willing to take the new on board and have a student explain it.
As for the venue, Swinburne is a great place to hold a conference. The wi-fi was flawless, which is usually where these days fall down. The food was delicious and plentiful. Winthrop provided us with free “real” coffee for the two days. And apart from getting up way too early on a Saturday morning, the public transport was a doddle.
And I reinvigorated my company pen collection:
ICT v Digital Technologies
Digital Technologies = Producer. ICT = Consumer
In one of our sessions, we made the distinction between DigiTech and ICT by making paper planes. I had to make a plane, write down the instructions, post the instructions to Twitter. Then I found instructions from someone else and followed their instructions to make a plane myself. Digital Technologies involves the creation of a product. ICT involves using a product that someone else has created. This activity allowed us to do both.
Implementing Digital Technologies presents the age-old problem of where to stick it. Do we create a separate Digi-Tech class at a year level? Or do we break it up and stick it into a number of different classes?
I attended a session about getting students out of school using technology. The idea is that one a couple of days each year, or semester, whatever the school is comfortable with, the students stay home from school and the teachers present classes digitally. There are a great number of reasons why this would be a good idea. Just as many reasons not to do it, especially in our risk-averse teaching society. But it’s an interesting concept.
The teachers at Nossal High School send their students home twice a year for a school free day. The teachers timetabled on for that day teach their regular period via online teaching. They use webcasting, pre-recorded content and online assessment to present and assess their classes.
This was a daunting task for a number of teachers, but through collegiality, a bit of courage and a good implementation plan, the program worked – and continues to work – well.
I’m not saying that we should all send our students home for the day twice a year – I think our parents specifically would have a kitten over the idea – but there is definitely merit in using a collegiate approach to upskilling the teachers in our schools and getting them to embrace technology. Maybe a Digital Day twice a year where students take classes digitally at school. Something to think about.
I didn’t make it to any of the coding sessions, but I got a great deal of feedback from the other teachers from my school, as well as a friend of mine and of course the multitudes of Tweets.
Some of the better results:
Coding = repetitive failing until you get something that works. – @rissL
Programming, or “coding”, is simply making a list of instructions and having them executed.
I saw someone “coding” a human being. This sounds like a great introduction to the concept.
The 3D offerings at DigiCon15 were phenomenal. The ideas I saw put forward will completely change the way I run the curriculum next year. There’s too much to go into here, so I’ll put up a separate blog post on the subject (and link to it when I’m done).
Questions without answers
How can we shape lesson and curriculum design that keeps us as teachers engaged, creative and innovative? – @CorrieB
So many benefits for teaching students the Arts. How can we make schools value this more? – @wongmichy
Corrie’s session: Redesigning Curriculum for the 21st Century.
And finally, the teachers at Northern Bay being superheroes for the sake of education: