IWBNet09 – Some Initial Thoughts

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.


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2 thoughts on “IWBNet09 – Some Initial Thoughts

  1. Marita Thomson

    I know exactly what you mean about IWBNET09. The two presentations I got the most out of really had little strictly to do with the board.

    One was Matt Bower from Macquarie Uni looking at the research basis for principles of presentation design related to cognitive load. This is applicable to IWBs but much wider.

    The other was David Seedhouse demonstrating The Values Exchange – a very exciting online space for reflecting upon and talking about one’s ideas about issues.

    I went to some good practioner presentations which reinforced what I already knew – and these were not disappointments as most were well described in their abstracts. There were many people who appreciated these presentations as new material. So pushing the boundaries is a very variable thing.

    I presented within a subject area – English literature & reading – and I think the subject specific aspect was what brought the attendees. I was trying to show the value of the IWB as an excellent vehicle to make, share and present this type of program, especially as it makes it easy to use multimedia files and online interactives along the way. Don’t know how well this came across though. Didn’t get through all I had planned.

    I would like to have seen more advanced sessions which jumped staright to the deep end, but often the audience means that isn’t practical.

    Have attended the last two ACEC conferences where Trudy Sweeney’s IWB research was a highlight. Pity she wasn’t presenting at this conference. I didn’t get to your sessions because of clashes – would have been interested in the inquiry learning one.

  2. Graham Wegner

    @Marita. Despite my whining, there were quite a few interesting sessions on offer – but unfortunately for me, the best were on at the same time as my own! So, that could definitely coloured my experience. I would like to have seen Matt Bower’s presentation and Ben Jones would have also been good. I originally wanted Trudy to consider presenting her framework at IWBNet09, but she was of the opinion that it was geared more to classroom practitioners and her emphasis on theory would not have attracted much interest. But, maybe it was what was really needed to “push the boundaries”.


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