Waraku Education

Ideas, experiments and observations as they occur [and I have time] relating to teaching and learning in a secondary school - special focus on ICT.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Upping the anti

The Linux.conf.au started today in Melbourne. The Education Mini.conf had two presenters that were to deliver via Second Life. Leigh Blackall from Otago Polytechnic in New Zealand and myself from Grant High School in Mount Gambier, South Australia. There were three different Second Life Venues to be used and the presenters at the live venue in Melbourne were going to present at the venue simultaneously with Second Life. DNS issues in Melbourne meant that the Second Life participants and the Melbourne venue could not come together.

Image 1 - My avatar is in the foreground of the image as I waited to hear news of what was happening in Melbourne.

Bugger. The good side is that I met a bunch of people, got a lot of experience in playing within second life and Leigh got to present to the group that dropped in via this virtual medium. The people at the venue in Melbourne would not have got this, bugger for them.

I've been thinking about Leigh's presentation which was about institutional change, largely from the top down. He talked about changing the way that the institution dealt with IP so that the rules facilitated openness and collaboration. He is encouraging teachers to have a strong online presence which was helpful for credibility, collaboration and improving the institutions Google ranking and public profile. He is looking for a mass of about 15% of the staff initially to be active and believes that when this is achieved that there will be significant changes to the organisation that follow. In the mean time there are communication issues within the institution. He stated that the changes where prohibitive to many teachers - too much of a shift.

My presentation ended up going ahead. Melbourne could hear me, I couldn't hear them. Janet did a great job of text chat which gave some feedback to me as I was speaking amongst all of the ums and r's. I imagine podcasting and radio broadcasting to create the same feelings. It is very difficult to speak when there is so little feedback.

My presentation was aimed at tackling this issue of creating more openness with the students and so bottom up. Providing collaborative infrastructure and support for students to use gives power to the students to learn despite the methods used by their teachers. I have seen on numerous occasions that where students are using tools or showing preference to work in certain ways then teachers want to take notice and optimise on it because they can see the opportunity for better learning. This is upping the anti and might even work better in conjunction with Leigh's plans.

Good on the organisers of the education.miniConf for giving this method of delivery a go. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and while everything did not work I personally gained a lot. I found that I need practise talking to an imaginary audience if I do more of this.

In the second image my avatar, Wati Voss is presenting to the audience in Melbourne via Hazelbyte Hax.

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  • At 6:19 pm, Blogger KerryJ said…

    Wished I could have been there! It's a shame about the DNS issues, but you're right - good on 'em for trying anyway!


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