I am very grateful to the PD committee/BOT at my school for funding my ULearn experience. Part of the PD process at my school is to give feedback about what you got out of the opportunity and how you are sharing it with colleagues. I thought rather than hunt down one of the forms why not "blog it" and then send the appropriate people the web link... we are in the 21st century and ULearn is about using this type of technology.
Ulearn08 was in Christchurch. It was attended by OVER 1600 teachers. It was 4 days packed with inspirational people giving keynotes and workshops sharing their amazing ICT. The internet connection was alarmingly fast and we were able to blog and twitter (watch the back channel) while listening to the keynote speakers.
I got so much out of attending this conference. The keynote speakers were motivating and filled the audience with enthusiasm for integrating ICT and making the pedagogical shift that the revised curriculum will demand. A focus on the 21C student and when, how and why they learn. They did not give us the answers but definitely inspired us to embrace the changing times.
Over the last two years I have been focusing on implementing a virtual learning environment (aka LMS - learning management systems) Moodle to deliver my lessons, I have made some pretty satisfying progress. This conference enabled me to meet so many other like minded people and the opportunities to learn from these people were endless. Endless in the sense that many of these people I now follow via twitter on a daily basis. We "tweet" about all our developments and problems but to non-twitterer's I'd call it being "connected".
Andy Coltham (ePrincipal WelCOM) ran the first workshop I attended, he is a Moodle guru! He taught me how to embed video, sound, websites and learning objects. I now understand some html code. As a result of completing his workshop we have now implemented "books" and "gold stars" into our Moodle site. I shared this information with the digital learning teachers and we agreed that this will enable us to make more sequential for lessons that require this type of structure.
I attended 7 workshops in total. I blogged my reflections each day so for a more detailed account please go to the blog entries dated October 7th, 8th and 9th.
What have I done on returning back to school since attending the conference? I have been offering *bonus* PD sessions to our staff on Thursday mornings. While the number of staff have been small they tell me that the information I am passing on is invaluable and allows them to implement more student-centred ICT tasks. The biggest problem is finding a time which suits everyone as we all know teachers have very busy lives.
I really hope that the school will see value in allowing me to attend ULearn09 in Auckland. I know that I have had my fair share of the professional development pie (and I am very thankful) the experience was incredibly valuable and I am more than willing to share what I learnt with the rest of the staff.