After a hectic 3 days at #ACEC2014 conference in Adelaide where students were pushing the barriers of active involvement in advancing education and technology integration as outlined in this post, I want to provide a wee bit of reflection.
The students as a Digital Leader Thought Group were such an integral part of the conversations, the thinking, the social media presence and the media creation/curation that they simply could not be ignored. Their presence, insight, fearless approach to awkward conversations and willingness to think deeply for 3 days resonated with all that came into contact with them. They worked hard, they behaved professionally and grew as the conference developed. For a small insight into their their reflections, I urge you to read: this reflection, thoughts on the value of workshops and a further reflection of a personal change one of the students describes. Furthermore, you can also read about how a parent sees the effect of being a Digital Leader at this event had on his son. For a taste of their extensive tweeting just take a look at @ACECDLs the profile they used to cover the conference and lastly, it is worth having a look at some of their media work
Yet, the huge success of the Digital Leader Thought Group could not be achieved without the energy and flexibility of key players. Myself and the mega-trooper: @alupton, know how much we put into this but there were other, important players in making this work: @gabyr115 and @melissamulh. These two teachers at Wirreanda High School, were such a vital ingredient in making it work as it did. They took up the mantle from the start, provided structure and guidance but ultimately rolled with the punches as the whole thing shaped differently during the conference. I can’t wait to see how the conference and their students involvement in it is used to affect their school.
If any educator has reservations about involving students in educational thinking, staff development and the advancement of teaching and learning then what happened in the last few days needs to be looked at very closely. I urge someone else to now take up the mantle and push student involvement, student action on to the next level. Surely a conference without students is missing vital ingredients from this moment on…
These three days have been phenomenal and being part of Digital Leaders- thought group is one of the best decisions I have made in my life so far. Everyday has been a great experience, and every day I have learnt something new. Listening to keynote speakers has been a wonderful experience and the best part has been the capability to put our sentiments out there, where everybody can see our point of view related to the topics.
There were four keynote speakers, Alec Couros, Kathy Schrock, Alan Noble and Sally Ann-Williams, all of the presentations were brilliant in their own way, but my favourite was Alec Couros. The motivation behind why it was my most loved is on account of how I felt more connected with it and I could plainly see what he was attempting to say and I agreed with the majority of the topics.
Alec Couros’s theme was ‘Beyond selfies, likes and pokes’ His presentation was about how we can use technology to build a connection with people, and how technology is beyond selfies, likes and pokes. What I gathered from the presentation was that the main purpose of it was to persuade people to use technology in school to build a strong connection between students and teachers, however I don’t think that this was fully demarcated. Alec revealed the true power of technology and how we can use it to make better connections, and a better environment. Before that day, to me technology was basically just talking to friends, posting pictures and liking, however after the presentation I realised the value of the technology.
I consider myself very lucky because if I hadn’t attended #ACEC2014, I would have missed a presentation, which has totally changed my perspective on technology usage. We can shape the future with technology that we have access to, which is a very powerful tool we all have. An example would be: with networking and just social media tools we can connect to other students, teachers and share ideas and create an environment which will make education more than just going to school doing assignments and passing.
This is a change that has developed in me after going to ACEC, and after going to a Alec Couros speech I realised something that I probably never could have in my normal life.-Isbah
Today on the 2nd of October Daniel and I attended the 2nd day of the ACEC 2014 event hosted at the Adelaide convention centre. We attended the e-portfolio presentation held by Anthony Speranza. His presentation was based around the idea of using various google apps to cover certain literacy parts of the school curriculum. He wasn’t disregarding the use of pen and paper or physical work, just the fact that digitally, work is more interesting for students to achieve better in when its online or on a device. I agree with Anthony’s presentation, as being a student I find that working on a device increases my work ethic and makes my world look more presentable and fluent then it does on paper.
In Anthony’s presentation on Google Apps, the primary focus was incorporating technology into teaching. It is not a complete replacement for the traditional method of using pen and paper, rather a supplement. He emphasised the simplicity of using many features of Google to compliment each other (google docs & google drive ect.) Using these programs, students will be able to create an e-portfolio that they are proud of (not throw away after school) and build on from primary school, throughout high school and beyond. It however, it not limited to portfolios. It can enhance standard work as well, making it more professional and accessible from anywhere.
Today during the ACEC workshops which we attended, we found that they just relayed information that is easily accessible on the Internet.
The first workshop: YouTube in the classroom, was how to use YouTube and what all the different buttons do. Do teachers really need this? For children growing up in this era technology is their life, including YouTube. A teacher doesn’t need to take a ‘How To Course’ for YouTube, when they have the experts right in front of them – the students. The students are also there to help. I was disappointed that the workshop didn’t show how YouTube is beneficial to people’s learning and how it could be used as a learning tool.
It was really clear to me that the teachers in the workshop were enjoying themselves and found the information useful, but form a student perspective, I feel that the teachers could have used this time more effictly – the students have all the answers when it comes to YouTube.
The other two workshops: ‘parents opinion towards the use of iPads’ and ‘iPads and early creativity and collaboration’. Those workshops just relayed information from studies that they conducted. The information from the studies was telling the audience the facts, not how to apply the ideas conveyed. It would of been great if the speakers talked not just what they did but how others can apply it to their classes.
From a students perspective it is great to teach the teacher something because we are all at school to help one another, whilst learning something.
By Hannah year 11 and Brandon year 11, 1/10/14.
We’re Isbah and Deepali . We are year ten students and are part of the digital leaders thought group. We spent our morning with Alec Couros. Alec gave a presentation about social media and technology that we have access to in order to connect with others on a bigger scale. He talks about the positive side to it and is trying to persuade people to use technology, be part of technology and include technology in education. No doubt it was a brilliant presentation (it was really engaging and including loads of funny videos) but, we personally, believe that he didn’t show the negative side of using technology in schools and classrooms. The negative side can result in low self-esteem, cyber-bullying and privacy issues because everything will be on social media the individuals may have low communication skills. These are just some of the issues which can result from using technology in school. We believe that technology has a bright side to it but involving it in schools can be a big issue. The idea of using technology is good, but will this help every single student? Can it help all students and will it be a good idea? As young students, we have millions of questions in our mind which don’t all have a one answer to it, as everyone has a different opinion.
We think people with different ways of learning should be respected and should be given a fair chance to prove their ability without using too much technology, after all we are all great individuals. Even though Mr Couros didn’t mention solutions to some of the downsides (negatives) of using too much technology, his arguments to try and persuade people to use technology to share their views was worth applauding. The thing we liked best about his presentation was that he engaged the viewers as well as getting his point across. There is no doubt that technology improves literacy skills and teaches people something new every day. Mr Couros used great examples during his presentation, and even included examples where tech hindered us, but gave inspiring, fun examples of the amazing tech can do. However, we still do not completely agree with the fact that technology should continuously be used to learn as we can still learn by talking to different people face to face. This can help improve communication skills and boost self-esteem, which will help a lot when looking for careers to do with people, for example- teaching.
For the first time in the history of education, a group of trained students will attend a national education conference and be an integral part in addressing how the theme of “Now Its Personal” develops throughout the 3 days. At ACEC2014, they will provide their perspectives after attending all keynote presentations, questioning the keynote presenters in a panel format, having free reign to attend workshops and sessions, mingle with delegates and provide tech support. The Digital Leaders Thought Group will be given an official voice in the social media ‘backchannel’ to share their thoughts and observations.
Not only that but they will also be taking over this blog! Everything from now until the end of the conference will be their words, their views, their reflections, their voice, their calls to action.
“why be on the waltzers when you can be on the rollercoaster” (anon)
Although I am sure I have made this point before on this site and at the risk of becoming the old man who repeats himself too often, the concept here is Student Action NOT Student Voice.
Student Voice is of course a wonderful and essential element of modern education but having Digital Leaders (or whatever you want to call the students you are recruiting as part of technology integration in your school), is NOT what we are talking about here. Of course, having a voice is a part of what many of them do but it is not the main objective. Action is. Having Digital Leaders means that they are engaged in activities that involve technology and the school where they operate from is actively taking steps to positively affect the use of technology in the institution.
Here is a prime example of such action. Read through this and tell me that’s Student Voice and while you’re there, please tell me that this isn’t something that should be happening everywhere. Go on.
I needn’t say much in this post as @SteveBrophy3 has said it all really. I would like to highlight another morph in the concept, though. This time it comes from how he promoted and recruited. His use of gamification, almost treasure finding mission-like activities made me smile from ear to ear. The use of QR codes and the whole effort put on the students to get to take part in DLs is to be applauded. Watch the Youtube video he has on the blog if you don’t believe me but better still, read the whole post, here. It’s very good, trust me
I have just read ‘Innovators, Not Hackers: Stop Portraying Youth as Digital Deviants’ by Nicole Mirra. This was a little wake up call for me and I suspect for many who read it. We are too quick to judge especially where technology is concerned and in many ways, adults have an ingrained lack of trust of young people with technology. Changing this lack of the trust is the foundation of OzDLs. With that trust in place, young people can really provide so much to the enhancement and development of an education that truly embraces the power of technology. Look down this blog and get in touch with people who have started to trust young people with technology, utilise the power and knowledge, the lack of fear, the willingness to get involved and innovate. See for yourself and for your school what this new of working and thinking looks like. Student action with technology.
I regularly read the DMLcentral materials and if you aren’t aware of them, they have some really inspiring materials and viewpoints. Today, though, I was particularly gripped by their piece on Co-inventing the Curriculum. This, to me, is something that a lot of Digital Leader schemes can aim for. If you are going to set ambitious but achievable targets then why not take heed from the experiences detailed by Howard Rheingold. There is much to learn about technology integration from this approach.