Sunday, October 12, 2014

uLearn14 - "The ultimate modern learning & teaching conference"

One of my highlights this year was the uLearn14 Conference.

Not only was this my first year attending, but the one in which I presented on my eFellow14 inquiry.

uLearn14 also gave me the chance to meet some of the wonderful people I have been interacting with on Twitter [and to catch up with the ones I've already met].

However, it was not all about 'socializing'...

The CORE Website stated: "The uLearn14 programme was structured around three key strands that focus on aspects of modern learning and leading:
- Modern learning practices
- Modern learning environments
- Modern learning technologies"

Therefore, I've chosen my breakouts carefully to as far as my eFellow schedule allowed, as uLearn was after all really about learning how I could enhance my practice.

  • Breakout One:  Making the Most of the Early Years: Learning to Learn & Inquire at 5 with Bridget Casse
This workshop covered the SOLO Taxonomy, Inquiry & Pedagogy in the Early Years and we looked at how a learning environment can contribute to the education of young learners.

"Our youngest children are natural wonderers; from birth, every moment is a new experience. Our youngest children could well be the MOST experienced at creating new learning! What if we made more of a conscious effort to talk with them about how and why they think they are learning? What positive outcomes could result if we expect and encourage our youngest to explore the learning process while they explore the world around them?

We frequently converse with children about what they are seeing, doing, exploring and finding. How often are we talking with them about how this learning is being constructed?  What if we use the common language of learning to deconstruct their learning with them? Is ‘kidspeak’ really necessary? Are we making the most of the early years when our children are so creative and open to learning by empowering them and teaching them learning to learn strategies and skills?"
"We explored how the use of SOLO Taxonomy and modeling of an open to learning disposition can help overcome young learners’ fears of making mistakes. Together we realise ‘not knowing’ is the first step towards understanding! Even better, we know exactly how to meet our goal! Meeting our very next step is attainable. Ownership and pride in creating new understanding is contagious and intrinsic motivation is naturally triumphant."
  • Breakout Two:  iPads - a day in a junior classroom with Marion Kirby & Alison Willis
"Integrating technology, embedding technology, blended classrooms - all phrases for how we use modern technology in our classroom programmes."

In this workshop Marion & Alison shared their journey of how they use iPads throughout our day to enhance children’s learning.  From oral language to writing, reading, maths and more. We learned about the apps (Book Creator, Explain Everything, Dropbox, Camera app, Doodle Buddy) they're using - the how, why and when, activities

Day 2:
  • Breakout Four: It's bigger than Inquiry with Lane Clark
"What does it mean to learn?
Is there a difference between knowing and learning?
What is authentic learning?
What is integrated learning?
Is there a difference between theme and authentic integration?
What does real learning look like?
What are the similarities and differences between ‘real life’ learning and ‘in school learning’?"

According to Lane "If it‘s our goal to see an increase in student levels of engagement; an increase in levels of high school retention; an improvement in student performance standards; and learners skilled and ready to contribute to their world, we need to re-think what we are doing, and how we are doing what we are doing, in schools.  We need to teach our kids how to think and how to learn through a comprehensive learning process that mirrors the way in which learning occurs in the outside world.  We need to ensure that intellectual rigor, depth of knowledge and understanding, authentic, relevant and purposeful curriculum, our priorities   We need to change the way learning is planned, designed, implemented, assessed and evaluated."

And then time for the Gala Dinner...

Day 3:
  • Breakout Six: Developing a vision for school leaders with Rob Clarke
"This session shared an example of a facilitation approach for developing a shared vision. This approach ensures that everyone has a voice and an equal input into developing a consensus for the ideas generated." 
We've heard that the quality of questions we ask, will have a strong influence on the quality of dialogue. Also that a vision should not be static, but fluid.

Keynote Speakers:

Keynote 1: Prof Yoram Harpaz - The Ideologies of Education : In search of the pedagogical sentiment

Keynote 2: Adam Lefstein - Teacher Professional Discourse and Learning

Keynote 3: Dr Katie Novak - Universal Design for Learning

Keynote 4: Quinn Norton - MacGuffins, hackerkids and the troublesome 21st century
Note: I was unable to attend Keynote 4, as it was time for our last lunch as eFellows14 together... 

Two of my favourite Blog posts about uLearn14:
ULearn... I thank you - James Hopkins
Embracing the Tigger in Us - Reflections on #Ulearn14 - Annemarie Hyde

As part of Connected Educator Month some uLearn14 events were also Live Streamed.

~ "Man's mind once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions" - Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. ~

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