Sunday, October 7, 2007

uLearn07 Reflections

For me the conference was primarily about people. My previous 2 posts reflect this…making connections, professional dialogue and learning from each other (including our students).

Additionally some highlights over the three days included:

Ewans McIntosh’s Keynote: Set the tone for the conference, raising even more questions for me and importantly highlighting the importance of being open-minded.

As educational leaders we must continue to take notice of the impact emerging technologies are having on the way our students live and learn and question how this will inform and change our practice.

“Without that lead in the leading edge, then we risk floundering in a bunch of cool stuff but without a sense of direction and the robustness of our convictions and research to know we're doing the right thing.” (McIntosh, 2007)

Ewan’s Keynote will be available through the uLearn website.

Rosemary Hipkins:
What can the key competencies contribute to assessment for learning?

Rosemary’s presentation challenged us to question how both the key competencies and assessment for learning can “contribute to making traditional models of teaching and learning more effective” and consider the role eLearning strategies may play in this transformation. Rosemary explored what Key Competencies and assessment for learning might have in common and supported this with some very enlightened examples of how ICTs can support assessment (backed up with the research). Some key messages:
  • Don't rush to assess. There are implications but we don't know enough about the impact yet.
  • Look for synergies and connections (means rethinking how we involve students in learning) eg: Key Competencies focus on building dispositions for life long learning & Assessment for Learning, where the learner is monitoring their own learning.
  • Adding values questions to assessment: Why is it important to think about more than one piece of evidence? This is a challenge as many traditional assessments measure knowledge gains and sometimes the ability to apply this, not the appropriate use of knowledge in meaningful tasks.
  • Assessment is not something we add to the end of learning: Assessment is an inquiry…what does it mean to know? (Delandshere, 2002)
Rosemary’s presentation can be downloaded from the uLearn07 website – recommended.

Apple iWork ‘08 Suite including: Keynote, Pages and Numbers
We were provided with an overview of the suite that now includes Numbers a new spreadsheet application. If you are using MacOS I highly recommend iWork as it integrates with the other packages in iLife. I have been using it for a couple of years now and have found it has sped up my workflow considerably and also through my work with schools have already experienced its potential to add value. There are some great new features including masking and animations and what I saw of Numbers it definitely has potential as a tool for both teachers and students. The MoE will also be funding sessions to support schools updating to iWork ’08.

Sunnybrae Normal - Central North Shore Cluster
More Photos Here

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