Posts Tagged ‘unconference’
Representing Trabasack, I have recently had the opportunity to attend Learnpod11′s unconference in Doncaster. The experience was definitely something that I hope to attend annually. The main focus was social media and its use in education. This gave me the opportunity to mix with professionals from new backgrounds and to learn about technology being used in our classrooms and colleges.
I also the opportunity to share our new design, Trabasack, and my growing knowledge of social media tools. The event was entirely free and it was great to be able to show trabasack as a practical item for use as a conference bag or for mounting and holding new educational tools such as iPads and other tablet computers.
The key themes the event was based around were:
What innovations can we use to reshape education for the benefit of teachers and learners?
How can we use social media to change teaching & learning practice – and should we?
How do practitioners and learners work with management and strategists to make technology work for them?
These themes were of great interest to me, as I am keen social media enthusiast and use it for our business marketing and promotion as well as for information and obtaining services and mentors. I find it a fantastic resource which I have been able to use to connect and help others as well as becoming part of a new movement and community of people sharing ideas.
Advantages of an unconference
This was my second unconference. The first being the inspiring ‘Design for all’ unconference hosted by EnabledbyDesign.
The ‘unconventional format’ ensures that all delegates have a good opportunity to participate and ensure that the day is rewarding for their own personal interests. At the beginning of the day presentations were invited from delegates and the agenda was decided there and then. It was an exciting prospect to get involved and hear inspirational speakers including Rob Wilmot (pictured using one of our Trabasacks).
All information shared used open access (Creative Commons) principles so after the event ended all participants, speakers and others were able to continue their discussions. Twitter was used to promote and continue the event using the hashtag #learnpod11.
With access to free Wi-Fi access delegates could enjoy and share their experiences of the unconference online and even gleaning knowledge from presentations occurring in different rooms. It had a very pleasant, informal and friendly atmosphere in comparison to some conferences I’ve been to and I’d love to get more involved with future events.
Throughout the event, I used my Trabasack with its effective lap tray mode to take notes and use it to position my laptop comfortably during the sessions. I also left some examples of the different styles and shapes of trabasack with the ‘Playing with Gadgets’ team who showcased them alongside some of the latest technological gadgetry.
Moodle and LinkedIn
I attended a very interesting session on the use of Moodle in schools. I was amazed by the clunky and boxy appearance of the virtual learning environment that our pupils and teachers use! Rob Wilmot led another great presentation on using LinkedIn for business. I found this very interesting as I have neglected my LinkedIn account not really understanding its benefits. I now know how to use it for expanding my business contacts and making faster connections. I also realise that I have been too generous with my adding of contacts on there, and will review them to list only very trusted colleagues.
Another workshop was led by the founder of Twicket, Jon Popham which I would have liked to attend. I had heard about twicket and find the idea of real-time streaming of local events very interesting. The potential for including people who may not be able to physically attend such events but are still able to participate is particularly good from my perspective.
Facebook for Education
I also attended a ‘Facebook and education session’ with Doug Wallace.
Doug is running a series of virtual networking and learning ‘#coffeebreaks’ each Wednesday and using Facebook to host these events. Participants are able to invite friends and each week there is a fairly structured plan of demonstrating and discussions around a theme. I have attended several of these and have benefited from the knowledge shared. Doug discussed with IT and teaching staff how this style of event could be used to engage students and pupils. The penetration of Facebook among young people being virtually 100% this seems a good idea but there was some resistance around policing of the events and school bans of Facebook use. However the benefits and opportunities of using Facebook ‘events’ to advertise and for engaging students in after school discussions were obvious.
I’ll be there!
The whole experience was very valuable and I’ll definitely be getting involved in the next Learnpod event. I also look forward to seeing more trabasacks in schools and colleges and on the laps of entrepreneurs and business enthusiasts! I am grateful to the team for putting on the event and for Doug Wallace for inviting me to it and giving me a tour of Doncaster afterwards.