Conferences, expectations & ponderings #rscinspire13
I think the way that I attend conferences is changing. Tutors on my Tech for Learning Delivery course were laughing last week at just how many conferences I’ve attended – and I suppose as an FE tutor, it probably is quite rare to have such opportunities.
Recently, I attended the RSC-YH e-learning conference in Leeds. I’ve been a fairly regular attender and presenter at this event over the years, and although I had the usual pre-conference nerves as I approached the venue, it was really lovely to walk in and recognise, and be recognised, by friendly faces.
I had also been checking out the conference hashtag #rscinspire13 on the train. It was good have a preview of who was attending, who I’d met before and who I already had a twitter-relationship with. Someone posted asking what people were hoping to get from the event, and having had such a focus on getting my workshop ready I had been pretty naughty and not pre-registered for workshops, so I wasn’t really sure what I was expecting.
Choosing my workshops on arrival was quite a speedy affair, I had a quick flick through the workshop lists and found myself attracted to the Big Philosophical ‘how is technology changing education’ sessions more than the more practical ‘here’s a technology and how I’ve used it’ session.
Reflecting on this I’m still pondering if I am actually surprised by this. Certainly, not so long ago I would have been very clear in wanting to take practical ideas of how I can use technology in my classroom and with my learners. And despite not attending any such sessions, I do have a couple of new technologies I would like to explore further:
I have a colleague who has been using this so had heard of it, and I had a vague idea what augmented reality was. I struggled a little with the practical teaching and learning application of this and need to try to see past the gimiky-ness.
This was demonstrated in the interactive area, rather than in a workshop, and I had chosen this over a workshop as I wanted to be a little ‘freer’ before my workshop which came next. What was interesting for me was that when I approached the area I was initally directed to a demonstration on how to make one, however I asked if we could talk about the teaching and learning application first. It was only once I had some idea of how it could be used, was I interested in seeing how easy (or not) they were to make (and I’m not sure they are very easy to make in comparison to what students would get out of them)
Having said that, I will keep them in mind and keep it in my ‘to check out’ list.
Beyond these two technologies, I think the biggest thing I took from the day was becoming aware or being reassured that I have delivered a pretty good course. The issues I’ve had all year with designing meaningful learning opportunities for the busy tutors doing the course whilst also ensuring they are able to provide the evidence of criteria from the syllabus are still going round my mind. This links to the question raised repeatedly in the key note, and the first two workshops I attended:
Can you measure learning?