Daily Archives: July 17, 2008


Our annual CEGSA conference is underway and being hosted at the fabulous ASMS (Australian School of Mathematics and Science) here in Adelaide. For a small scale conference, the line up of keynoters and sessions is pretty good. Here's what unfolded today.

Opening Keynote - Martin Westwell, Director, Flinders Centre for Science Education in the 21st Century,
Flinders University. "The Future Of The Mind: how technology changes the way we think."

My key takeaway from his presentation - video games do hone specific skills in students but should education be including these in the classroom or is our role to focus on other skills that are also valuable but less likely to be part of the students' lives.

I went to a very good workshop run by Pam Thompson on classroom blogging. Check out her class blog here and give her a shout out on Twitter.

Chris Betcher delivered a great keynote after lunch based on the conference theme of "Learning Is A Conversation" and gave a great big picture view of the PLN concept and the key tools that can be utilised.

Key notes - "It's not what you know, its who you know!"

So, if learning is a conversation then the more people you converse with then the more supercharged the learning. Showed an opening example from Sheryl's blog where three educators in Texas hooked up to another in Winnipeg, Canada as part of the K12 Online Conference organising committee.

How to explain and sell what an online PLN is until you dive in and experience it. If you get a large enough group of people, then it is possible to create wisdom from crowds. You need diversity in your network, but you need independence. You also need decentralization _ related the story of how Linux got started as an idea of one person, assisted by decentralized individuals contributing. Final factor is aggregation - but have to beware of the echo chamber. Not much learning if everyone agrees about the same ideas. Best learning happens when there is conflict.

My key takeaway from his presentation - It is hard to explain and sell what an online PLN to educators until they dive in and experience it.

I had two presentations in the afternoon - one with Peter Simmonds where I did a basic re-run of my parent info night on Student Blogging and another which ended up being a ramble about starting up one's own PLN. It sort of flowed on from Chris's keynote and used the contributions of the educators who added comments to my Kickstarting A PLN post of a few days ago. Thanks, guys! Hopefully, you all get a few more subscribers out of it and a few more voices to add to your network.

Day two tomorrow, and thankfully there will be no candid birthday pics.