What an interesting 2 day conference that was. EduTech 2013 brought together several people I had not heard from before. Daniel Pink was pretty direct. If you want something, go and get it. Don’t wait for it, fight for it. Stephen Heppell, wow! Trust your students, let them teach themselves. Make it interesting, creative, and set your standards higher than whatever standards you are supposed to work towards. It will all take care of itself. Alan November, Barry Stager, Ewan McIntosh, Dylan Robinson all suggest the same things, from different perspectives.
Even these people were opposed in some areas. One speaker advanced the idea of “flip learning”, yet another suggest that sending students home to do another six hours of school work was setting the majority of students up for failure. When you think about it, I learned more at university outside the lecture theatre and tutorial room than I ever did inside them. Considering that, flip learning is the same as what they will do in uni, only earlier. The fundamental assumptions are that students are committed enough to the studies and are mature enough to know where they need to go. Foolish assumptions I would think.
The main theme of the conference was learning, obviously, but disappointingly, not that exploratory. The workshops I attended were more about BYOD than learning. The workshops themselves were of varying interest, one little more than an add for a product. One workshop clearly outlined what a school was doing but the presentation was very ordinary. Later dialogue revealed there is a little disparity between what the leaders were presenting and what students actually achieving. One presenter from Sydney, Alice Leung, presented an excellent workshop about how her school was capitalizing on some students’ existing skills to upskill other students and staff alike. That is more like what my school is doing, and her presentation significantly increased my confidence that we are really on the right track.
I was very fortunate to catch up with a number of people that I have worked with in the past. Seems things change and people grow unhappy at their changing circumstances. Change is the rule of modernity. If you can’t handle or cope with change, the get out of the way – change is not going to wait for you to catch up. I know this sounds somewhat unsympathetic, but I don’t make the rules, and I do not know who does for this sort of thing. Our ability to adapt is being sorely tested, and those of us who are not adapting well are going to find it increasingly frustrating that have lost so much control of our lives.