Sunday, 27 March 2011

The Naace Conference 2011

Well - back from the Naace conference for three days now and I have still not got to grips with my thoughts of the whole event. It was great seeing Sugata Mitra present, he has long been a hero of mine. Sometimes when one is looking forward to a preso it can be disappointing but in this case it was just wonderful. I was slightly worried, having seen You Tube videos of his talks that there would be nothing new but it was superb.

His new pedagogy - " I have no idea I am going now, see you in eight weeks," still has me giggling. His SOLE - Self organised learning environment - is a story to inspire. Some of the new things he added to this talk were about primary children answering GCSE questions in 20 minutes, the children in Hong Kong answering how an ipad knows where they are thus mastering trigonometry without even knowing what it is called and The Hyderabad Experiment where very strong accents were a problem to teaching English and students were not getting jobs. Sugata set up computers with speech to text software which did not understand the children's accents so returned rubbish, he told them that the software was fine they needed to make it understand, then he used his wonderful pedagogy when the children asked him what they had to do. When he returned he met a child and he asked how they had got on, apparently the child replied in perfect English "Fantastic." He queried the children to find that they had downloaded the Oxford Talking Dictionary and learned how to pronounce the words that they knew properly :-)

I loved Ollie Bray's session about gaming! There is so much information about the Consolarium and so many recordings of his sessions I will not attempt to write it up here - but it was inspiring!

Ewan Macintosh kicked off the conference reminding us why ICT needs to be taught in schools, tinkering with the curriculum is what ministers do but what they need to do is invest money into CPD!

There were so many inspiring talks and breakout sessions I can't begin to write it all out. The one session that I really enjoyed though was towards the close, it was Geoff Stead talking about
Mobile learning: Can smaller = more personal AND more effective?
From the programme:
"There is an amazing convergence point happening right now. After several years of creative, disruptive and technological tension there is an emerging consensus of how new and mobile technologies can add real and meaningful value to today’s learners.

This convergence is steering us towards opening schools up, allowing students to use a range personal devices and encouraging schools to adopt “collaborative project based” approaches to new technologies.

These solutions are by no means straightforward. “techno-hype” and “supplier enthusiasm” can quite often drown out the most important of lessons. Sometimes local problems can only be solved with local solutions whatever the global enthusiasts tell you.

Geoff will be challenging UK schools to look at lessons learned further afield. Post-school. In work. In health. In Africa. Across the globe. He will also be presenting a range of tools and ideas to support practitioners looking to adopt some of these emerging lessons."

Geoff started his talk with a video clip from You Tube showing how mobile devices can really help in times of crisis:

He shared a site offering a collection of Research papers - having read a few there is some really interesting stuff here! He did mention that there are some tools in the making - whether these are cross platform, useful for education or what I can't say, still waiting for an answer to an e-mail :(

Sadly this is now well out of date, it seems to have lurked in draft for two weeks - hmmm - some catching up to do!
It has been so long in the waiting all of the conference videos are on-line now - maybe only for Naace members though :-( that seems a bit sad to me - it will hardly encourage membership!!

Also - nearly forgot with the passage of time :-) I receieved my Certified Naace Professional certificate after the gala dinner - quite an honour!

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