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Ulearn 09 June 1, 2009

Posted by davidit in Uncategorized.
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I have started to submit my submissions for Ulearn 09. I have decided that this year I will try to present at more breakouts than I attend. So far I have submitted two proposals and am working on some others. I really enjoy presenting.

I wonder though how useful, long term, these show and tell sessions really are? I have found that I get positive feedback from my sessions at the end of each one that I have run. I certainly have not had someone come up to me and say that I have just wasted 90 minutes of their time! I expect the average conference attendee is too polite and the anonymous paper feedback forms do not indicate dissatisfaction. However, I never hear from my audience again, despite me encouraging them to comment on my blog or e-mail me for more assistance. Do they use my tools once back in school? Are my support materials so thorough that I have dealt with every single possible query? I doubt it. So just how useful to the ordinary punter are these sessions? Is it simply a case that even though attendees leave Ulearn enthused, the enthusiasm is dissipated by the realities and restrictions of the school environment they return to? Do the ideas illustrated at Ulearn remain just that, ideas? I doubt that, but the reality must be a hybrid of the above.

Then there is the perpetual worry about pitching the session, where should I pitch it? I fear that Ulearn breakout presenters are stuck in a perpetual model of pitching their support at entry level or first time users. If this is the case, we will be forever stuck in a model of showcasing the latest idea or tools for new users, teaching skills that could be learned from 30 minutes in Google and on You Tube. We never see practical sessions at Ulearn labelled “advanced Blender users should attend” for example, why not? We never see abstracts that say “integrating Inspiration for elite users.’ If Ulearn is the premier ICT PD conference for New Zealand teachers, then I think that we need to see this kind of differentiation. Otherwise presenters like me and the plethora of other highly skilled attendees have to resort to Google and YouTube for our PD and use the breakouts as a pulpit to reach out to the yet to be converted. A perpetual beta of PD.

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Comments»

1. Kirstin (Keamac) - June 2, 2009

Funny you should mention that, I thought much the same thing after ULearn last year. It occurred to me after my 90 minute workshop, that really I need to offer workshops pitched at 2 different levels. I made a decision then and there to do just that – so this year I’m putting forward a proposal looking at the same tool(s)/idea(s) but with a beginners session & an advanced session. I plan to stipulate which group each is best suited to. Also, I look forward to the availability of some workshops with a more challenging aspect to them for my own professional development. See you there.
Kirstin

2. davidit - June 2, 2009

Hi Kirstin, long time no speak, good to see you back on line again.

I have been mulling over my presentation topics again today (assuming of course that I will be asked to present!) I am currently working on my third submission. I am kind of leaning towards a series of presentations based on the following model: ‘Here’s what I have done, this is how it worked, these were the results and some of the pitfalls. You (the audience) work out the details if it interests you!” This will liberate me from the kind of ‘how to’ sessions of the past and automatically differentiate by outcome. I am suddenly reminded of the saying; “Those that can, do. Those that can’t, teach.”

Hope to catch up for a pizza again or something similar in October.

3. taffy32 - June 2, 2009

Go you too. I am also of the opinion that sessions need to be geared to different levels of ability and delegates have to choose one that is leveled for them.
I have found though that often attendees either underestimate their own competence, thereby choosing the beginners. Or Not reading the blurb closely enough and end up in a ‘beginners’ or ‘advanced’ session by mistake.

Hmmm… not sure how presenters can overcome that with writing For Beginners nice and large.
Good luck with the submissions.
I’ll be up for Pizza one night no worries!

4. Simon - June 2, 2009

Not sure why I was logged in as my wife for the taffy32 comment. Apologies. It was only me Dragon09.

5. davidit - June 2, 2009

Simpn/Taffy it is always a pleasure to break bread with you and top the odd beer or two too. You are on. Booked my tickets and accommodation today nice central location, so all set to go. Fly down nice and early on the Tuesday.

As for the presentations I like now how a commercial session is now highlighted, like your goodselves. With this information a delegate can make a judgement. I also think that sessions should be levelled. Case in point is the Scratch session at Rotorua this year. Great session, really informative about how Scratch has been used in that cluster, but on a practical front, I went to find out how to really bend the program. A hot house session, but left with no greater practical knowledge than when I arrived.

Maybe the onus is on us to start to be specific rather than take a ‘catch as many as you can’ slant in our in our abstracts? Maybe we should differentiate with categories such as:

Dip you toe!

Total immersion – but you can touch the bottom.

No life jacket supplied, you are on your own!

A delegate could really make a judgement based on that kind of abstract! Do you think that Core could run with that categorisation?

6. Allanah King - June 2, 2009

I did that at L@S. Only thing is that I never had a minute to sit down and engage in conversation with anyone- I so busy being in different places. This time round- seeing I’m pretty much paying my own way, I am going to offer one workshop and learn from others. The question is what do people want that I can offer????

7. Kirstin (Keamac) - June 11, 2009

I’d certainly be up for pizza & a chat.
I love your differentiated categories. I think Simon makes a fair point about people underestimating their abilities. Not sure what you’d do about that as at the end of the day the onus is on the individual… provide extension tasks maybe? I think your “Here’s what I’ve done…” etc model is probably a good way to go.
Allanah -you have heaps to offer. I’d be interested in learning more about the Adobe stuff for starters.

8. mrsbee - August 1, 2009

Interesting indeed! It seems there are many of us reflecting in the same way – surely this reflects our growth and progression as educators, nationwide. I put in two submissions with a colleague who is (possibly) one step behind me… She will be leading the intro to wiki stuff… I will be leading the “leading school to web 2″… It will be interesting to see which workshop we got… šŸ™‚

9. rowwar - August 18, 2009

If it was not for you brave presenters, teachers like me would not have been hooked into digital. you are sounding like we attendees feel. are we good enough to be here?


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