I think it’s difficult to really summarize all that went on during this second day. I have to say that all the Keynotes and Helen Keegan’s spotlight were fantastic. I was sorry i didn’t attend Catherine Cronin‘s talk and I have to say that certain presentations during the parallel sessions were a bit of a let down after such stimulating and thought-provoking keynotes.
So let me start first with Alec Couros‘s keynote. It was really, really awesome. Thank you Alec. Since Alec Couros is also involved with preservice teacher Education, I could really connect with what he was saying.
Social Media and Open Education is all about thinning the walls of communication and creating an openness that reflects what is actually happening in society at the moment rather than what is actually happening inside the classroom. I think that this is a recurring theme throughout a lot of the presentations here at PELeCon. Simon Finch remarked on it yesterday and said Something better change. Alec Couros mentioned it this morning and Keri Facer described ways in which we can exploit what we have in the present to build a stronger economic resilience through the people coming out of schools and higher Education.
However Alec Couros also talked about the power of the community, and what the people out there are doing. One can just look at some amazing crowd sourcing projects like Kutiman’s video projects, or other projects like the Johnny Cash project, or initiatives like couch surfing to realize that what the present contains can be so much powerful in the relevations of empowerment and learning.
So where does this leave us? Most of us agree that we need a change, many agree that the change in the classroom doesn’t come from adding tools or spending millions in the educational structures and tools. most agree that we really need to have classrooms, teachers and learners who transfer between real life and academic life seamlessly – so that context becomes part of the classroom and vice versa. A kind of transfer from the real life to the classroom environment reaching out to methods that can provide the bridge that allows crossing without even realizing that the environment is changing. Keri mentioned – learning for the love of playing with ideas… i love that phrase. I feel that it conveys so much.
I also think that another feature that is emergent, also apparent in this PELeCON 2012 is the belief that we need openness of knowledge – open access to information to celebrate learning for the sake of learning – oh how much I love this phrase as well…we celebrate learning. Let us stop celebrating ignorance through the mere issue qualifications please. Stop this certificate-giving educational system we are living through because it is simply NOT working in today’s world. This was also mirrored in Keri Facer’s final keynote for the day. It can already be seen – people emerging from University waving their degree – and still ending up on the unemployed list. What do we need to teach our students? Do we need to teach them how to follow lists and orders, or should we teach them how to survive in the world? Should we give them the fish, or should we show them how they can make a rod so that they can fish… or something of the sort…
An interesting blog which one can look up – I would urge all teachers to have a look at this and maybe decide to take some action. Mrs Cassidy, a primary school teacher, uses a blog with her young ones. It’s a fantastic way of making learning visible.
Alec Couros asked two very important questions which are worthy of reflection and which I am looking forward to pose to my own students next time I meet up with them. Question 1 is: How are you making learning visible? and Question 2, which is equally important: How are you contributing to the learning of others?
Well I might have to go to the confession booth here at PELC, for this because I think that there there have been 1 or 2 failures in my own teaching along the way. But I also believe that we learn more from failures than from successes and therefore I want to use the times when I failed to be able to improve for the sake of my own students.
Again, whereas 10 or 20 years ago, shouting out loud about one’s own achievements might have been taken as bragging by some, we are now living in a society where working in isolation, producing something in isolation and keeping it to oneself, no longer works – because the power of the community is so much stronger than the power of the individual.
One quote which I will also take with me … no … 2 actually….quotes which I will paste on all my online public student communication are the following:
“If you generally think of the Internet as the place to look up stuff then you’re missing the best part” and Quote 2: “Don’t limit a child to your own learning for he was born in another time” ~ Tagore
The parallel sessions I attended were quite good. I especially liked the Kinect and the Minecraft project ones. Me, being so interested in GBL are always interested to see how students and teachers are reacting to the environment. Well well. One other motif which I can take with me home, was tweeted from someone’s presentation – I was not following that presentation unfortunately but it ver simply states: “Connect, Do, Share”…. wonderful three-word summary of what many people have been talking about so far.
I did cover Helen Keegan’s spotlight talk extensively so will not talk about it again but will instead refer to Keri Facer‘s keynote that was the last keynote for Day 2 at PELeCON 12. I think that one of the things which Keri Facer mentioned and which is important is that we cannot predict the future, more so, the future of Educational Technologies. It is important to keep in mind that learning is a complex activity that cannot be oversimplified with trivialization. So then – what to do? Does one give up? Surely not. Does one keep trying to predict what’s going to happen? No. Does one spend millions on trying to shape the future? Would that be useful? No. According to Keri Facer what is needed is finding the important strong points in the present and use these to develop the future. We shouldn’t look at what will emerge – we should look at what we have – and try to build on these for the good of learning and learners. That’s a good point which our policy makers should definitely take up on. Stop wasting money and start treating teachers as professionals. It’s the one resource that you have and that you’re discouraging with too many predictions!