Doug Belshaw's keynote at the Digital Futures in Teacher Education dissemination conference (2 October 2012)[ 27:08 ]Play Now | Play in Popup | Download
Today I’ve been at the Digital Futures in Teacher Education conference in Sheffield, where I gave the opening keynote. My theme was ‘Remix’, loosely applied to three areas: the concept of ‘Openness’ (in particular Open Educational Resources, or OERs), digital literacies, and the purpose(s) of education. You should be able to see my presentation above. I used Prezi for the first time in years and (surprise!) it’s no longer clunky and hard to use.
I’m not too sure what I was expecting from the conference other than I was initially invited to present when I was working for JISC infoNet and involved in the JISC-funded OER programme. As it happens, it was a fantastic example of how Higher Education Institutions can be funded to do innovative work with schools. The audience was a diverse mix of teachers, academics, learning technologists and those from the ‘education industry’ (as it were).
In the morning I attended a session featuring presentations from Kate Cosgrove (@Mrs_Cosgrove) and Chris (@hairbyslice). They both focused on the use of social networking in primary schools – in the first case Twitter and WordPress-powered blogs, and in the second Instagram and blogs. It was great to see examples of the development of critical digital literacies that didn’t give way to a shiny shiny culture that can develop around the latest educational technologies.
After lunch there was a session with presentations from Michael Payton-Greene from Wales Secondary school and Christine Bodin from Notre Dame High School. Michael focused on some research he’d done in school around making practices more open – including staff feedback on school policies on blog open to the public! Unsurprisingly, that has now moved within the walls of the school’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Christine, on the other hand, gave an overview of her career (which started before I was born) and showed how her use of Moodle has reinvigorated her language teaching.
Bob Harrison did the second keynote of the day, on the one hand painting a rather bleak picture of how the current government is systematically rolling back the state so that private providers can come in – especially when it comes to ICT advice and provision. On the other hand, not only was he entertaining, but his message was that we might not be able to directly affect policy, but we can certainly affect practice.
The panel session at the end threw up some interesting questions, but unfortunately quite a few people had left by then and there wasn’t really enough time to go into questions in any depth. Nevertheless, I was very impressed at the way the DeFT OER project had been structured and the quality of the learning that teachers had inspired in learners was evident. I was delighted to have been able to contribute in the small way that I did.