Saturday, May 24, 2008

EdTech 2008

I attended the EdTech 2008 Conference held in Dundalk Institute of Technology on Thursday 22nd May. The Conference is the main activity of the Irish Learning Technologies Association (ILTA). I have been on and off the ILTA committee over the past two years and did not take much part in the preparations for the Conference. I pulled back from ILTA activity when I took on the role of Acting Head of School for three months before Christmas last. This was also the first year that I did not submit anything for the Conference - I regret not finding the time to do this.

I picked up my colleague Stephan Weibelzal at 07.30 hoping to arrive early in Dundalk. However, we spent just over an hour between the M50 toll bridge and the M1 exit - literally inching forward. I can't believe that there are people who do this every day. I was in my car because it was raining - how I wished I had taken the Harley instead! Nevertheless, we were only about 5 minutes late for the opening keynote presentation by Larry McNutt of IT Blanchardstown.

Larry's presentation was one of the best I have been at in years - very entertaining and informative. The title of his talk was "An exploration of the habitus of educational technologists: What does the research tell us?". Lots for us educators to think about. At the end he presented everybody attending with a small gift - a "high-tech device" that he said we should all use to improve our teaching. It turned out to be a mirror! Fantastic!

The break out sessions were good - I attended the following sessions:

Developing educational screencasts – practical tips and pedagogical issues from the chalkface
Damien Raftery of IT Carlow.

Using an Interactive Whiteboard to Efficiently Create Instructional Multimedia to Support Student Learning in a Numerate Discipline
Seamus Ryan of Athlone IT

Using RSS Feeds to make your Lecture available on Moodle, iTunes and the Web
Brian Coll of IT Sligo

Voice: The killer application of mobile learning
Gavin Cooney of Learnosity

Conceptions of Digital Literacy: Implications for Research Design
Leo Casey of National College of Ireland

Usability and Behaviour Observation in e-Learning
Stephan Weibelzahl and Leo Casey of National College of Ireland

Afterwards I attended the ILTA AGM at which I was nominated for the committee again. I also successfully pitched for NCI to host the EdTech 2009 Conference next year - now the work begins!

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