Sunday, October 21, 2012

I’m ready to fail … but excited by the prospect

Reflections of the Festival of Learning 2012

My brain is hurting after 2 full days of mixing it with some of the best and most innovative teaching professionals around this weekend in Sydney.

It was with enormous excitement that we all sat down to the first keynote – Adam Elliot of Harvey Krumpet fame. He definitely set the tone of the event – fun, imagination and vision. Adam and other successful animators are people I am constantly talking to my students about when they are tackling a creative task and trying something new with technology – think big and follow your passions. I always have in the back of my mind that when I’m introducing my students to techniques such as animation and film-making that I might have a budding Adam Elliot somewhere in front of me. It was amazing to hear his story of his Oscar nomination and award – so inspiring!

It was then down to business…..with so much choice over the two days – it was a difficult decision about where to head to start my 2 day learning journey. The Everest Theatre space was a-buzz and filling up so I took up a front row seat for “There’s an app for that”. We were treated to a fabulous range of speakers presenting short bites packed full of great take-aways, practical tips and advice for going mobile. I’ve now got a bunch of new apps to investigate this week including: Demibooks Composer (interactive ebook creator) Haiku Deck, Scribble Press, Video Star, Sock Puppets, Photofunia and ibuild (app making software). It was reassuring also to see teachers recommending apps that I have already considered including Skitch, Creative book builder, Popplet, Explain everything, Educreations and iMovie. Greg Alchin’s insight into the assistive capabilities really did show the versatility of mobile devices for all.

Through the day I explored the PLANE website – building relationships with teachers met during the day, investigating the different tools and looking at the possibilities for further professional development once the festival was over.

The theme of risk-taking was addressed by Dr Sarah Howard in the closing keynote for the day. This concept is one PYP educators are familiar with and one that is particularly relevant as I now contemplate the road ahead with technology back at my school. This keynote was an omen of what I was to reflect on during Day 2.

Over the last few years I have been on safe ground with a familiar with a range of tools, comfortable with desktop and laptop computers, increasingly better internet connections and wifi, web 2.0 tools and their possibilities and our easing into working in social spaces. Day 2 proved to be the ‘game-changer’, literally. Opting to head downstairs into the basement spaces for “Permission to Play”, I was ready to be impressed and a little daunted by what I saw and heard about. We’ve dabbled in Kodu and I’ve talked with students and teachers on and off about the possibilities of Minecraft and we’ve created games using 2DIY (2simple software) – however I was blown away by the work being done by Lucas Gillespie with Portal 2 and other game platforms, Bronwyn Stuckey and Quest Atlantis and Kate Booth (pre-service teacher) who presented on Sim on a Stick. This will be where my spectacular failure will begin. Not being a native gamer, its time to muscle up, have some fun, fail dismally and see the possibilities for my students in the game space and the virtual world. I knew it was coming, I’m unprepared, but I’m excited and ready to fail in order to excite.

Game on! 

Dr Jason Fox's closing comments and wrap up gave me permission to feel daunted, suggested the space to think, reflect and dream and allowed us to feel good about what's ahead - all in a set of beautifully crafted conference doodles.
I’m feeling a bit the same as when I was first introduced to Web 2.0 at a conference in Singapore in 2006 – completely energized by the possibilities. So what will be my 4 priorities over the rest of this term and into 2013?
  • ·      Bed down the productivity and creative apps we want in our initial ipad roll out
  • ·      Investigate the possibilities of virtual worlds and quest based learning by signing up to a Quest Atlantis teacher training session and check out Sim on a Stick as a starter to working in VW’s and approach some teachers who might be willing to take a risk
  • ·      Look seriously at Minecraft and Portal 2 and get a little practice in!
  • ·      Move forward with my PLANE journey
  • ·      Excite my teachers to coming along for the ride

A HUGE thank you to PLANE, the generous fellow teachers who presented, my twitter network who showed friendship during the 2 days and my new network buddies, I’m looking forward to following you in the future – it was a brilliant 2 days.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your words. I also enjoyed being challenged at so many turns. I particularly loved the cross sector nature of the festival and I look forward to this continuing! Long live PLANE!