CEGSA Wrap Up

I had a go at this last night but obviously didn't save the draft correctly because here I am having another go at wrapping up the rest of Friday's CEGSA Conference. I won't record any more on the Friday morning keynote - I was actually thinking of deleting the post but then Jason and Arti added comments before I could take action. It was very cool to meet and talk briefly with Derek Wenmoth - first person in my aggregator I've met who hails from outside Australian borders. He was also kind enough to stay for our joint presentation - CEGSA Educator of the Year, Al Upton and myself on "Blogging - 21st Century Learning Is Now!"
I'll start with that presentation. It was a real privelege to co-present with Al who was under a bit of pressure as he had to re-do his slides when they failed to copy properly from his USB drive earlier in the day. He talked at length about the future of learning touching on the next thing emerging (his term, in-world learning) with virtual worlds etc. He then moved into his classroom blogging and gave the audience of 30 or so a good overview of his blog and some of his students'. That left me a bit over 20 minutes for my part in order to keep to schedule so I fired up my new slideshow (download here - 4mb, or PDF version Blogging -21st Century Learning is Now! ) and away I went. With the influence of Daniel Pink's "A Whole New Mind", I used the Story of my blogging journey as a way of showing how it can be an effective tool for Professional Learning. I showed a quick snapshot of my original Blogger blog and related the transformation to my current edublog. If you do check out the slides, a bit of extra explanation will help. I talked about June last year during the interview for my current job when I was asked as a final question - What are the emerging technologies that will be important in education? The best I come up with - Interactive Whiteboards! I then told the story of how my blogging started with the fortunate discovery of Steve Dembo's Teach42, whose blogroll led me to David Warlick and then onto Will Richardson. I explained my methods of using blogrolls and public Bloglines accounts to populate my own Bloglines account. I expanded on the content of my blog and revisited my importance of comments to the conversation diagram. I highlighted how comments can breathe purpose and enthusiasm into a blog showing my first comment from Will that took me by surprise. I gave some other example of blogosphere conversation - being featured in a post by Christian Long, my extended comments conversation with Leigh and Alex, and my dabble in the TLF debate in the comments section of Artichoke. I wound up with the following conclusions:

What's In This For Educators?

  • Opportunity for online presence without technical knowhow
  • Professional dialogue with others worldwide when you want it on topics of your own choosing
  • “Big picture" perspective
  • Find out about new technologies and practices first
  • Solve your own education based problems while contributing solutions for others

What's the potential?

  • Grassroots influence on future directions here in South Australia
  • Teachers making better use of their time by sharing resources and idea
  • Gain experience in the openness of Web 2.0 technologies so that students gain the benefit of informed, net savvy teachers modelling appropriate use in their learning
  • Teachers having access to their own just-in-time Professional Learning

Hopefully, it went OK.

Rest Of The Wrap Up.

Yvonne Murtagh's Presentation on Web 2.O.
Yvonne has been a source of inspiration and support for me as I've become more involved in this brave new online world. Her workshop last year The Magic Of RSS gave me a real boost along in my blogging exploits and she has promoted my efforts much more than I deserve. She went to both my workshop and presentation as a supporter, as there wasn't anything I was saying she didn't already know! So as a measure of respect and mutual support I went along to her workshop and I knew I'd learn something new as well! She used Bob Dylan as a starting metaphor to explain the emergence of Web 2.0 and the online apps that have been generated - Web 2.0 list. Interestingly, we had a handful of audience participants who had never heard of del.icio.us. One of her real passions is the concept of mashups - and showed us one that mashed a GoogleMap of New York with audio files geocached to specific locations. All of her presentation resources were tagged in true Web 2.0 style @ http://del.icio.us/tag/CEGSAmyweb2 including the Coming of Age document. She then demonstrated her FeedReader. (I still feel that desktop based apps like this are limited - because you can only access it on that particular computer and the feeds can't be shared.) An excellent presentation that ran well overtime because Yvonne had us all enthralled and she has so much to share. Thanks, Vonnie!

Karen Church's Online Gaming Workshop
Basically, my first ever dabble at playing World Of Warcraft. I've steered clear from gaming, not because I don't believe that they don't have educational value (quite the contrary) but because I know getting involved will suck hours out of my life I would like to invest elsewhere. I reckon my blogging would suffer for a start! Anyway, I managed to slaughter 8 wolves and earn a pair of gloves in 20 minutes. At least now I know what the fuss is about.

Parting Thoughts
The free wireless was great, allowing me to be one of two people blogging live, although Vonnie uploaded pics to Flickr throughout the event.

Leigh Blackall's ears must have been burning in Dunedin throughout the past two days because I heard his work referenced in at least three presentations and several conversations.

As usual, conversation between events with other educators was a real highlight. Maybe we can get next year's event up on Hitchhikr.

Photo from SouthOz's Flickr Photostream
Me on the right, Kay Clifford (eTeacher) on left, Anne De Nicolo and Colin Becker near the wine when the pic was taken at Thursday's Happy Hour. Thanks Al, for filling me in.

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6 thoughts on “CEGSA Wrap Up

  1. Thangaes Waran

    I was quite impressed on your presentation on blogging, although I was a bit amused that you had used a wiki to do your presentation about blogging. I am a great fan of wikis (I use Wetpaint) and have started using them with my students but I am still not sure that how I can use blogs with my secondary science students. I think it is quite easy to use with the students in the primary school and some subjects at the secondary level (Any good examples of science blogs?).

    Regarding, RSS feed readers, I still like using the FeedReader. It quietly pops up whenever new posts appear and it is always there to look at when you get some free time.

    You had mentioned that the feeds can’t be shared in FeedReader, but you can export it as an OPSM file that you can pass on to others. This is what I do when I show people how to use an RSS feed reader, so that they have some feeds to start with. The OPSM can be imported from and exported to other RSS feed readers like Feedshow (a nice looking online feed reader. I am not sure if bloglines can do this).

  2. Bill Kerr

    Thanks for the overview Graham

    It’s always puzzled me in the past why CEGSA conferences haven’t seemed to generate on line conversations. This time we have your just in time blogging and I just read comments from wara on the teachers-it_list, so things are changing.

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    Al Upton and the miniLegends » CEGSA Conference - personal jottings

  4. Al Upton

    Those ‘two other unknowns’ are Anne De Nicolo and Colin Becker, a couple of hard working CEGSA committee members who helped make the conference such a success. 🙂

    Great wrap up mate – I’ve made some jottings/reflections here
    https://alupton.wordpress.com/2006/07/24/cegsa-conference-personal-jottings/

    Bill we need more ‘generators’ of online conversations – and this is now starting to happen.

    Hey Thangaes – wikis and blogs aren’t a choice of ‘one or the other’ but a choice of ‘which one for which job?’ Often online collaborations use the advantages of both. Thanks for the tip of WetPaint.

  5. Graham

    Post author

    Thanks Thangaes, Bill and Al – I love the way fellow bloggers can keep each other honest or at least, on our toes. Our choice of wikis for the presentation notes started out as a joint venture but the failure of SeedWiki on the Wednesday night forced my hand to refit them onto a Wikispaces site. So, our original reason for a wiki about blogging was collaboration and a wiki is perfect for that – a blog less so. I am a Wikispaces fan because as an educator, you can have the ads removed by the administrators. Hope that enlightens our choice. I still stand by my comment about Bloglines being better for sharing than a Feedreader. Granted you can share feeds via OPML, but you can only share with someone you know and you can’t just browse Feedreader accounts like you can via Bloglines. Anyone who has a public Bloglines account can be checked by anyone else and the account owner doesn’t need to do anything or even be aware that others are having a look!
    Bill, there aren’t many of us writing as it unfolds – at the final keynote by Lindy McKeown asked how many people had blogged during the conference and only two hands went up (myself and Derek Wenmoth). And even those interested in getting into blogs are still at the beginning stage of just dipping their toes in the water – first time out of the fish bowl!!
    Al, it was a genuine privelege to present with you. I still struggle to keep up with your mind and you might have been served well to have had the whole presentation time to fully expand your ideas and concepts, instead of having me to pressure you time wise!! Now we have the challenge – how do we get those at our workshops to take up the baton and keep those first tentative steps going…..

  6. Dean Shareski

    Thangaes,

    If you’re looking for a perfect way of using blogs in secondary and even with science, consider how this high school Calculus teacher has his students act as daily scribes.

    Graham,

    As far as using a wiki for your presentation, I not only agree its perfect for collaborative presentations but also its easier to update and organize in terms of pages or sections. I tried keeping my workshops on a blog but found when I redid them, I was awkward. I agree wikispaces is great.

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