Thursday, September 30, 2010

Scottish Learning Festival 2010

A week has gone by since the close of the Scottish Learning Festival, so I thought it was well past time time to jot down a few thoughts and impressions.

Meeting Moby
Originally uploaded by DavidDMuir
As always, one of the best things about the Festival is the number of people you meet. I found it difficult to get around the exhibition area because it seemed that every couple of stands, I'd bump into someone else I knew and would stand and chat with them instead of looking at the exhibitors. I met colleagues old and new; former students and current students; friends and acquaintances. I met some virtual friends (from Twitter among other places) in the "real" world for the first time. I even met a virtual person in the shape of BrainPop's Moby - officially now my favourite big orange robot.

Some people I didn't meet but meant to include Mark Pentleton (I saw him briefly at TeachMeet but wanted to go to his stand in the exhibition area) and Alan Yeoman from 2Simple (I've always liked the 2Simple stuff and I'm really impressed with the way they have put so much of it on the web and provided a pile of resources to boot on the Purple Mash site).

I was glad I met Jenny. Despite meeting her last year, I had almost walked past without recognising her; thankfully she said hello to me. Her round table session at TeachMeet was outstandingly good! (John Johnson was impressed too.)

I was also glad to chat to Jamie on the XMA stand. In particular I was really impressed with the new iPod Nano I saw there. I was surprised by how much I wanted one when I saw it as I hadn't been overly impressed with the Nano when just reading about it. It clips onto clothing/ties/lapels/whatever like the shuffle and while playing music it displays the album art. I heard someone say it was like people wearing badges to show what groups they like, except with the Nano, you have a badge that changes with every new track you are listening to.

Apart from the Nano, there wasn't much new that caught my eye in the exhibition. I was vaguely impressed by an LCD Interactive screen that was being touted as an alternative to Interactive Whiteboards. The brightness and colour were hugely impressive as was the viewing angle, but it was a bit too expensive and perhaps a bit too small. However, give it a couple of years...

I've already blogged about the sessions I attended but I want to highlight two in particular:
  1. Sugata Mitra's Keynote. I had heard about Sugata Mitra's Hole In The Wall project but this was the first time I'd heard anything on his ideas of self-organised learning. I tried to capture what he was saying live: The Hole In The Wall: Self Organising Systems in Education.

  2. Stephen Heppell. As always, hugely quotable. (My favourite this year was his complaint about "Dick Turpin Teaching" where teachers "Stand and deliver!"). See my attempt to keep up with him in Why our Young Embrace Technology to Engage in Learning. I love the way Stephen Heppell presents. He doesn't use a linear Powerpoint style but draws on a collection of icons on his desktop that he pulls up when necessary to illustrate what he is talking about. Brilliant.
So another year, another useful Learning festival... and I've still to do a reflective blog on TeachMeet. Hopefully next week.

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