San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver #STACCE13

So far it has been a bit of a whirlwind tour during our time here in the states. We have spent the last 10 days touring some of the tech giants of the world (Google, Intel, Microsoft, Adobe) as well as visits across the education system (from elementary, to secondary, right up to district level).

To hear from the tech companies and their take on education was interesting. There are a few developments in the work at each of these companies, and there is a definite recognition that consumers want applications and services that will run across devices. Hardware and software alike are continuing to improve to provide richer and more powerful experiences, which the consumer will ultimately be the winner as this innovation continues.

There is also a big emphasis on BYOT and BYOD concepts, not only from the industry perspective, but also from the education systems. There is no doubt that this will be coming like a steam train, and is already a reality in several secondary, and of course, tertiary systems.

However, large questions remain around some of the age old questions that we always seem to face. How is the technology enhancing teaching and learning? What are the factors of educational technology integration? How can ubiquitous access be provided for all students?

It seems that in some sectors of education here and back in Australia, that there are some schools doing extremely well at answering these questions. On the other hand, this is not a reality nor a consistency across the sector. I do feel though that the systemic and collective understanding within education over the last few years has improved in this regard. My fear however, is that given the rapid development of technology, the early adopters will continue to steam far and ahead of those who have not come to grips with powerful teaching and learning that is enhanced with technology.

Today is a day of transit for our group as we had to ISTE13 in San Antonio, which will no doubt, be an awesome experience!

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The ACCE Study Tour 2013 #STACCE13 to #ISTE13 ramps up!

Last year, I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at the Australian Computers In Education Conference 2012 in Perth. It was here that the ACCE advertised their annual study tour for expressions of interest from educators wishing to take part. After hearing about the learnings, stories and experiences from previous participants of the tour, the ACCE13 study tour sounded like an amazing opportunity to expand my horizons. Needless to say, I signed up straight away!

 

Less than 1 year later, here we are, one day before departure, bags packed, ready to hit the USA for the tour. Tomorrow, a group of passionate educators across Australia will be departing Sydney, Australia for the West Coast of North America. We will be conducting industry and school visits in San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver. The tour will then arrive at San Antonio, where this year’s #ISTE13 conference will be held. This, no doubt, will be the epic highlight of the tour.

 

Over the next few weeks, I will be blogging about some of my experiences from the tour. You can join me on this blog or via the twitter hashtag #STACCE13, which is the official hashtag of the tour.

 

#STACCE13 tour participants, what are you most looking forward to?

Have you attended the ISTE conference before?

Web2 Course: Final Reflection

This is a reflection post as part of a Professional Development course our school is undertaking.

 This is the final (reflection) post as part of the Web2 Course that our school in enrolled into. When deciding to participate in this course, it wasn’t for the reason of learning about Web 2.0 tools. Rather, it was the opportunity to learn and lead with colleagues. Particularly as our senior school has embarked on a 1:1 laptop program, this movement forward was vital. As equally important is the capacity of teachers in the years leading up to to the senior years.

 

Although I didn’t gain a whole lot of new information from undertaking this course, I still enjoyed it for a few reasons.

 

Firstly, by being familiar with the course content, it allowed me to lead other staff at our school in supporting them to utilise ICT effectively for our collective students. We often held “Techie Brekkie’s” where we could come together informally to discuss and share resources and ideas to support teaching and learnings. I thoroughly enjoyed this, and have been inspired by how some staff have really taken this course in their stride to increase their own understanding of current and emerging web 2.0 tools.

 

By participating in this course, it reaffirmed my beliefs and knowledge regarding the wide range of tools at our disposal, and the myriad of ways to use them. However, one mainstay for me is that it still comes down how these tools are used…for better or worse; as I believe poor pedagogy and the introduction of ICT can at times only amplify the ineffectiveness of teaching and learning.

 

Have staff developed their capacity to effectively use ICT to enhance learning? Hard to say.

 

Did the course build confidence for staff in pursuing ICT tools, and expose them to the reality and necessity to harness technology to its true potential? Probably, yes (hopefully!).