I got back Saturday from the National IWB conference (referred to as IWBNet09 as the event is run by IWBNet) tired and glad to be back in quiet old Adelaide. I went with a group of colleagues from my school along with Dr. Trudy Sweeney and Cate Berden from Learning Technologies in DECS. Our main goal was to get some sort of idea about the national picture, to gauge how we are travelling as a school compared to others and bring back leading edge ideas and experiences to share with our staff to keep our own technology use moving forward. I was quite excited about the two day conference, having volunteered to be a part of several presentations but hoping to catch enough other leading practitioners in action to help inform my own journey as an effective educator.
But now I’m back, I find that as a conference experience, IWBNet09 was not what I was hoping for. For me, there is still too much focus on fancy equipment, software solutions, too much basic click’n'drag demos. I’m sure that people could say the same of my own presentations – I was reasonably happy with the flow of my Effective Design presentation (much better than than the ramble I presented at CEGSA) and I think that choosing to cover Social Bookmarking in a presentation format was not the best idea. Talking at people for fifty minutes about the benefits of online bookmarking isn’t ideal – but only having nine people in the session meant that questions were freely asked and I could track around my initial pathway to address these ideas.
I’ll pick through my notes and publish my take on some of the sessions I did attend, but I guess what I felt was missing was the conversation about student learning in the classroom and how teachers are using technology to help facilitate that. I kept wishing for more in the sessions I did attend, with the exception of John Short who tied some pedagogical purpose to his Powerpoint Learning Games. I suppose when one attends a conference that purely focuses on one piece of technology, then said piece of technology takes centre stage. I think that I’m more interested in a conference centered around learning and technology’s potential role – and not the other way around.