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ULearn 2010 – Day 1

Wow! What a great start to a great conference! I’m going to try to highlight the key points of the day. Basically my aim is to pick out no more than 5 points for each session. So here goes…

Keynote 1: Lee Crockett – Understanding the Digital Generation

Lee Crockett was a very good speaker. One of the things that I got from this keynote session was not so much what Lee was talking about but the style of his presentation slides. Very few slides had any writing on them. Most were just an image that supported what he was talking about (not diagrams, just pictures). A good thing to remember for presentations I have to do. http://fluency21.com/

  1. Children are maturing very fast. This is due to digital bombardment and is happening outside of school. Their brains are developing very fast.
  2. The brains of our students are ‘hyperlinked’. They have developed in a very different way to us. We have developed linear connections. Students’ brains connect in all directions and continuing to change all the time physically and chemically.
  3. F-pattern of reading. Our students will not read the bottom part of a page unless it is really engaging.
  4. Digital learners prefer to process images, video and sound BEFORE text.
  5. Digital learners prefer to learn ‘just-in-time’. Teachers often teach ‘just-in-case’. Digital learners prefer learning that is relevant, active, fun.

One key to this keynote is for us as teachers to be fully aware that our students are different to us. They learn in different ways. This isn’t to say that they should learn in ONLY the way that seems suits them best. They need to learn in a variety of ways, but we as teachers must also not get stuck in teaching the old traditional ways.

Breakout 1: Mark Treadwell – Whatever were we thinking? – How the brain works

Well, my laptop had a very flat battery for this breakout, so I only got a few notes down.

The main part to this breakout was that most peoples understanding of how the brain works is quite an old understanding. Many have not moved on from believing that neurons are the brains pathways (or only pathway). The human brain also creates learned pathways with astrocytes. These are the pathways that form so that you don’t have to think about repeated actions (eg. sitting down or driving to work at 8am every morning). The astrocytes map the repeated patterns.

Breakout 2: Trevor Bond – Learner Questioning: Making a difference

I was really keen to hear what was to be said at this breakout session. I’m really keen to not only develop good questioning myself, but also for my students to learn to question effectively. This was a big help towards this.

Trevor’s wiki http://ictnz.com/

  1. Neil Postman – “Questioning is the most important intellectual tool”.
  2. Kids when they’re at home ask over 50% questions.
    Kids at preschool ask about 5% questions.
    At high school 99.8% of the questions are asked by teachers – 0.02% by students.
  3. We, as teachers need to encourage questioning (students are actually scared of asking questions during to negative, “angry” response from teachers. – We must change this attitude!
  4. Core skills for effective questioning:
  5. · Identify the need/problem
    · Identify relevant contextual vocab
    · Ask a range of relevant questions
    · Take them to a variety of appropriate sources
    · Persist, editing questions as necessary until you get the information you need.

  6. We must also make sure we (teachers) are asking good questions! Modelling is so important!
Keynote 2: Steve Wheeler – Transformation and inspiration through social media: meeting the needs of the 21st Century learners

I was really keen to hear Steve Wheeler speak today. I’ve started following his blog recently and he has a lot of good things to say. Here’s just a little bit of what he had to say today…

  1. Every new technology has people against it. It’s important that teachers take the technology and use it effectively.
  2. Get a vision! – Helen Keller – “… it must be tragic when you can see but have no vision.”
  3. Teachers should be LEADING the change not REACTING to it!
  4. Schools are like airlines: sit in rows; put your trust in someone you’ve never met; turn off all electronic devices. – – Let’s use these devices!
  5. What do this generation of learners need?
  6. · Digital literacies – are websites accurate? Trustworthy?
    · Engaging and fun – eg. Games; interactive narratives; role play simulations
    · Personalized learning – go back to ‘just for me’ environment.

And one more thing…
· Arthur C Clarke – “Any teacher who can be replaced by a computer… should be”.

Here’s Steve’s blog.


All-in-all this was a great opening day! I can’t wait for tomorrow!

3 thoughts on “ULearn 2010 – Day 1

  1. Thanks for this. I did not go this year with colleagues, but aim to remedy that in 2011!. The summaries you heve here are so good – almost like being there when taken with the bits left on the u-learn site. We are busy with reflections on the year and have just had a big conference feedback. This post has filled in some gaps for me from that!

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