Tag: Conference (page 2 of 2)

JISC Online Conference session on digital literacy (#jiscel11)

JISC Online Conference - Digital Literacy panel discussion

I’ve just been in an interesting panel discussion at the JISC Online Conference on the subject of ‘digital literacy’. The recording of the Elluminate session is available.

The session reinforced to me just how diverse people’s views on digital literacies are. Most new to the field make the assumption that digital literacy is singular and consists of basic skills in the digital realm. In effect, digital competency. Those more experienced in the field, such as Helen Beetham, talk of the importance of this baseline – the ‘ABC’ of digital literacy as she called it, but higher-level skills as well.

Helen talked about how difficult it can be for learners to know what it is that they need to know, and also how to express it. For example, they may be confident using blogs, wikis and social networking sites, but be extremely unsure as to what’s expected in the form of a 5,000-word essay. The problem comes because we lack a coherent approach: different people and organisations own different parts of the digital landscape.

Another panellist who ‘got it’ was Dave White. Happily, both Dave and Helen are expert consultants to the JISC Developing Digital Literacies programme I’m supporting! Dave expanded briefly upon his idea of Visitors and Residents but spent most of his time talking about his intriguing idea of there being a ‘Learning Black Market‘ in education. Students, he contends, develop their ‘user-owned’ literacies that are highly effective, but these are devalued or ignored by institutions. An example of this would be their use of Google searches and Wikipedia, which they are loathe to admit to because of uncertainties around where line around ‘plagiarism’ is drawn.

It was a very interesting session, with the 102-strong members of the backchannel having a conversation at the same time. Ewan McIntosh, for example, who’s giving the closing ‘crowdsourced’ keynote trying to make sense of the whole conference, asked how we all came across our digital literacy skills. It was, in effect, a rhetorical question, as we all reflected on the fact that they were primarily self- or peer-taught on a ‘need-to-know’ or ‘interest’ basis.

It certainly got me thinking about the best ways of developing the essential elements of digital literacies I’ve identified in my research and thesis.

What I Learned at #MobilityShifts last week in NYC.

I spent last week in New York at the Mobility Shifts conference. No, I wasn’t there on JISC business; I took some annual leave and got there thanks to the generosity of Scott McLeod, Director of CASTLE. In return, Scott gets my undying gratitude and the following blog posts:

I’d usually put this on my conference blog but, well, I spent longer than usual crafting these posts and they constitute a body of work that (albeit predicated on the thoughts of others) I think you should go and read.

Only got time to read one of these posts? Try Day 5 featuring my interview with Cathy Davidson! 🙂

7 upcoming events about which I’m super-excited.

Update: We’ve decided to postpone the Purpos/ed event and I’m no longer involved with the Google Apps for Education workshop.

I’ve got a busy time coming up. Of the following seven events, I’m either organising or speaking at six of them. I’m also looking forward to going on holiday to Malta (or, more accurately, Gozo) in the middle of this at the end of October!

Mobile Learning Now and the Future (28 September)

Today I’m off down to London to present at the above event at the College of North West London. I thought it was going to be fairly small, but it seems to be turning into a bit of a who’s-who of mobile learning. I’m presenting with Steve Boneham from JISC Netskills about Implementing Mobile Learning in Your Institution based on the Mobile Learning infoKit.

Future of Technology in Education (7 October)

Tickets for FOTE are free and usually go very quickly. Last year I managed to snag a ticket but then had to look after my son as we had childcare issues. I’m delighted to be able to make it this year and to be presenting with my colleague (and co-kickstarter of Purpos/ed) Andy Stewart. We’ve got a slot in the #140challenge meaning we’ve got 140 seconds to talk about our vision of the future of technology in education. We’re going to argue, provocatively, that it’s fairly bleak.

Mobility Shifts (10-16 October)

Due to the generosity of Scott McLeod, Director of CASTLE, I’m attending the Mobility Shifts conference in New York. I’m going to be writing about my experiences over at his blog, Dangerously Irrelevant. The conference programme looks like it was put together just for me! I’m going to be one tired Doug when I get back from…

Mozilla Festival (4-6 November)

I’m a big fan of Mozilla’s work, and especially the more recent educational stuff around Open Badges. Matt Thompson asked if I was going to this festival – yes, of course I am! Can’t wait.

Google Apps for Education: from Zero to Hero (16 November)

Along with fellow Google Lead Learner, Zoe Ross (DoDigital) and Google Certified Teacher, Steve Bunce (Vital) I’m helping organise a day-long workshop on Google Apps in Gateshead. It should be very Google Teacher Academy-like and inspirational! Get your ticket here.

Guardian Innovation in Education (17 November)

I was surprised and honoured to be on the keynote panel for the Guardian Innovation in Education event this year along with Lord Knight, John Dunford and Ian Fordham. We’re talking about the impact of technology on education and I’ve been interviewed as part of the lead-up to the event.

Purpos/ed Oxford: Hacking Education (19 November)

If you’re thinking of joining me at just one of these events, make it this one! Purpos/ed Oxford is all about ‘hacking education’ for the better and we’re delighted that Prof. Keri Facer (who inspired Andy Stewart and myself to start Purpos/ed in the first place) will be there in person this time. We’re going to be crowdsourcing the sessions and it promises to be an event not to miss if you can make it!

 

The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies (#digilit)

Soon after Grace, my daughter, was born earlier this year I was invited to Australia to keynote the Association of Independent Schools, New South Wales ICT Managers’ Conference. At the time, Grace was having some problems with lactose intolerance and so I couldn’t commit to being the other side of the world. The organisers still wanted me to present and so I produced the above ‘TELL Talk’ on The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies along with giving a 50-minute workshop on the same subject.

It felt a bit strange getting dressed to present at 2am in the morning to co-ordinate with their schedule but the technology worked well and the session seemed to be well-received.

If you’d like me to present either virtually or in person at your conference or event, do check out my presentations section and get in touch!

Update: watch the Zipcast of my presentation here

Weeknote #29

Weeknote 29This week I have been mostly…

Getting JISC-y with it

It’s finally finished! The mobile and wireless technologies review I’ve been working on for the last few months is finally ready. I’ll not link to it until I’ve presented at next week’s meeting but, at 17,000+ words it’s a fairly substantial piece of work.

I also attended the JISC Online e-Learning Conference this week. It was variable.. Keri Facer’s keynote on the future of education was awesome, as was Anne Miller’s session on innovation and barriers. Graham Brown-Martin’s session on mobile technologies was entertaining and I wish I hadn’t been commuting during the session on Open Educational Resources. There’s not point linking to the sessions I didn’t like; suffice to say that I’m not fond of people bigging themselves or their institution up and delivering little in the way of new ideas or sharing good practice. Overall, worth virtually attending though – more on my conference blog. 🙂

Trudging through snow

It’s a winter wonderland up in Northumberland at the moment. It won’t be long before I’ll be able to do this again (January 2010):

Receiving a free netbook

I’m not sure whether it’s because I spoke at BETT a couple of years ago on netbooks in the classroom, my pre-release review of the LG Shine from a few years back or uncomissioned videos such as my hands-on review of the Dell Streak, but I was approached this week to review the Dell 2110 education-focused netbook. It was delivered yesterday so expect a review soon!

Planning a conference

Andy Stewart and I are planning a conference. No, I’m not going to tell you when, where or what it’s about. Suffice to say these things take a fair amount of thinking about. Good grief. If you’ve experience in these matters, feel free to get in touch!

Top 10 links I’ve shared this week

The following links were those most clicked on (according to bit.ly Pro‘s stats) when I shared them via  Twitter this week. I don’t include links back to this blog.

Links given with number of clicks given in brackets:

  1. Telegraph | 200 students admit cheating after professor’s online rant (83)
  2. Spin Collective | Sea mural sticker set (49)
  3. Guardian | Students protest (40)
  4. hu2 | Water Cycle wall sticker (35)
  5. The Importance of Teaching – The School White Paper 2010 (27)
  6. BBC News | Teacher training at heart of schools reform (25)
  7. Twitter | Alfie Kohn: critique of Math instruction (25)
  8. Literature and Latte – Scrivener (21)
  9. Through The Phases (18)
  10. Amazon.co.uk | Boettinger: Moving Mountains (9)

What goes into my conference bag?

I’ve had time to refine what goes into my bag when I go away to conferences now. Whilst I’ve still a lot to learn r.e. preparation and making sure I’ve got everything with me, here’s what I’m taking to the Scottish Learning Festival today:

(not pictured: headphones, business card holder, Booq laptop bag)

TeachMeet SHP Edition 2010

Date: Saturday 3rd July 2010

Time: 5.30-6.30pm (British Summer Time)

URL: http://bit.ly/TMSHP2010 (link for FlashMeeting: http://bit.ly/9zohvf)

Hashtag: #TMSHP2010
Read more →

Some reflections on the organization of #BectaX

Introduction

I don’t often post about conferences at which I’m not a presenter or workshop leader. Whilst it’s useful to share the resources I produce for such events, reporting the content or organization of a conference as a mere participant can be, well… a bit boring.

I’m making an exception, though, with #BectaX for three reasons:

  1. I was fortunate enough to be one of the 150 people invited to attend.
  2. There were massively high hopes regarding the outcomes of the conference.
  3. It was a very ‘open’ event.

Some caveats:

  • My experience is likely to have been shifted towards the positive due to the fact that many of the people I interact with regularly on Twitter.
  • I had to leave an hour early to catch a flight back from Stansted to Newcastle and so missed the feedback session.
  • I’m can be a bit over-analytical (and critical) at times, especially when the opening session was on the subject of my Ed.D. thesis.

The Good

The conference was set up expertly by a team including Ewan McIntosh and Josie Fraser. As you’d expect from such finger-on-the-pulse luminaries, there was as much – if not more – stuff happening in the ether as there was physically in front of us. The ‘speed networking’ event, whilst ultimately a bit frustrating due to the length of time allocated and the resultant din, was a fun way to meet new folks with similar interests.

There was also an attempt to get students involved. In fact, 14 schools were invited to take part via a video link (not live two-way, unfortunately) and Twitter hashtag (#BectaX). There was a cool Flash-powered map that appeared on the screen every so often showing tweets from the schools.

The Bad

It’s difficult organizing a conference. Not that I’ve ever tried to (yet!) but I can imagine that there’s no way you can please everyone. Here’s the things that I thought could have been better:

  1. A clear announcement at the start about the potential self-censorship of tweets. It’s hard to put something damning – or even slightly negative on Twitter – when you know it’s going to be flashed on the screen in a few seconds’ time. As it is Ewan cleared it up nicely, but it could have gone the other way.
  2. A more engaging first session. I found that the presentation on digital literacy conflated several issues, wasn’t very interesting, and was by someone who either doesn’t present very often or doesn’t present well very often (lots of text on-screen and bumbling)
  3. Hands-on activities in the morning session. Something to get your teeth into before lunch and the desire to nap kicks in.
  4. Power sockets available at seats. If you expect people to be tweeting, provide them with some power – especially if we’re going to sit there on-and-off for 3 hours or so.
  5. Find a way to get students more involved – perhaps by them actually being there?

The Ugly

Whilst I’m willing to hear from all parties involved in education, I really do take exception to representatives of companies mentioning their products in every breath. I also had no sympathy for said man from Sony when he complained that there was no mechanism to sell to all UK schools at once. He moaned that Sony would have to “literally go and knock on every school’s door”. Boo hoo.

Conclusion

#BectaX was by far the most unconferencey conference I’ve ever been to. The digital and physical really were blended and it was great to see the debate ranging across international boundaries, never mind leaking out of the hall. Ewan and Josie prompted and probed participants in the discussion sessions and led the event well.

But… will it change anything? The cynic in me noted that it was organized on the last day of the financial year by a government organization that is, by all accounts, under threat after the next election. However, I’d like to think it will mix things up a bit. If nothing else, just getting some of the finest educators and grassroots educational thinkers in the country together in one place can’t help but spark something… :-p

All photos CC BY-NC-SA Mr Ush

The difference between ‘crowdsourcing’ and being lazy.

Crowd

Image CC BY-NC-SA Samuel Stroube @ Flickr

I don’t usually get involved with things explicitly concerned with education in the USA. But there’s been one issue recently that prompted me to reflect on a wider concern: the difference between ‘crowd-sourcing’ and just being lazy.*

In fact, it’s more than being lazy. It’s taking a concept and twisting it for your own ends to look like you’re doing something you’re not. It’s an attempted shortcut to being seen as ‘innovative’. It’s bandwagon-jumping instead of hitchhiking. 🙁

The current Wikipedia definition of ‘crowdsourcing’:

Crowdsourcing is a distributed problem-solving and production model. Problems are broadcast to an unknown group of solvers in the form of an open call for solutions. Users—also known as the crowd—typically form into online communities, and the crowd submits solutions. The crowd also sorts through the solutions, finding the best ones.

When done well, the results can be outstanding. Take, for example, The Guardian‘s decision to open up and make available the 700,000 documents involved in the UK MP expenses scandal. They received over 20,000 responses highlighting irregularities.

However, crowdsourcing is something that can be done very badly and for the wrong reasons. Take, for example ISTE’s decision to ‘crowdsource’ the Keynote speech for its 2010 conference. On the face of it, and for those involved with ISTE, the idea must look cutting-edge and innovative. It’s got a Digg-like voting system for proposals and has created a buzz about the conference on Twitter and blogs. However, although it looks as if it’s ’empowering’ people, it’s actually doing the opposite.

As Miguel Guhlin points out,

…I’m tired of hitching my carriage behind some writer’s idea of what could be in business but is designed for education since they’re the chosen keynoter. While research may say something, the fact is, research has been speaking up for years in school change and reform…and you know what? People aren’t listening.

Go and read Miguel’s post in full, but to summarize it briefly here, he says that expecting a keynote to change things at the coalface means putting faith in the following process:

  1. Educators go away and learn how to use a tool to the extent that it becomes part of their practice.
  2. The tool is appropriate to use within the context of their school and educators are free to use it as they wish.
  3. Educators are able to get their school leadership onboard and stay at the institution long enough to make a difference.
  4. Parents offer little or no resistence to flattening the walls of the classroom through the use of Web 2.0 tools.

Put in that way, it’s clear that ISTE’s decision is far from revolutionary. As Miguel states, it’s time for a ‘radical reboot’ in national and interational approaches to innovation in education. Isn’t it ironic that we use a lecture format to encourage teachers to be innovative and move away from such a format? 😉

So if you’re a leader and are looking to be innovative, please do look about you to see what others are doing. But once you’ve done that, go back and think about what the objectives of your organization/business/conference/whatever actually are. Then see if the process/innovation/tool that you’ve come across is appropriate. Ask yourself if you’re going through the process/using the tool for the right reasons.

Do you know of any other examples of thinly-disguised laziness?

* That thinking was started by reading Charles Leadbeater’s We-Think: mass innovation, not mass production (my review forthcoming)

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Skype Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Nick Dennis and I are at the Schools History Project Conference this weekend. We’re doing a couple of sessions entitled Skype Captain and the World of Tomorrow: using new technologies to promote collaboration beyond the classroom. The page which goes with our session is at:

dougbelshaw.com/blog/shp

If all goes well, we’re planning to broadcast the second session (10.30am BST, Sunday 6th July 2008) live over the Internet via UStream. The broadcast will appear in the box below and at this URL and will be recorded for later viewing. 🙂

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