Friday, May 27, 2016

Write What You Know #FreeDay #My500Words #219

Today is day 29 of the Jeff Goins 500 Words Challenge, and it is is basically a free day. He advises us to write about "anything you know well that you don't have to research". It can be academic or informal - so today I was at the EdTech 2016 Conference and today's 500 words is about this.

The Irish Learning Technology Association's Annual EdTech Conference was held in the Law Society Building in Blackhall Place - I had never been there before. Due to work commitments I could not attend the first day yesterday, but I did get to it today. Learning Technology is something I know about.

Today's proceedings opened with a keynote talk by Mike Feerick of Alison Online Courses. In a very entertaining and informative talk he told us how Alison makes money with their free courses. He is a campaigner for free education and walks the walk. He also told us a lot about cultural differences between nationalities around the world, and how small Ireland is on the overall scheme of things.

After the morning keynote there were four breakout Practitioner Paper sessions - I was the last presenter in one of these. In our session there were interesting talks about Digital Skills in Action, professional development courses for the legal profession, screen-casting for feedback, tools for solving numerical problems, and developing online tutorials for library patrons. For my turn I spoke about reflecting on 10 years using YouTube (what else!) for Learning and Teaching. My talk was short at 10 minutes, but nevertheless I hope that the many delegates who attended shared my enthusiasm for using video in education. The slides from my presentations are below:

During the coffee break it was great to catch up with a very dear old friend, and many other learning technology people. It was just great to be in the same room as so many other educators who are as passionate about Technology Enhanced Learning as I am. After coffee I attended a super presentation on Moodle Analytics and how they inform us on student behavior. There were so many interesting looking talks in the other three that I would have liked to attend - but that's the way conferences like this work. You can't attend everything.

Following lunch, the very entertaining Tom Farrelly of IT Tralee talked to us about designing and developing online "units" for international students (note to self - this is free and is a fantastic free resource, so contact NCI International Office on Monday). We also saw the results of a survey on VLEs which made for interesting listening - particularly the perception by students that the only technology us Lecturers use is PowerPoint.

The final session was a group of Gasta rapid-fire micro presentations. These were fun and interesting, but 5 minutes each was very short. Some presenters found themselves rushing to finish and get as much information out as possible - enthusiasm bursting out of each presenter.

The day went by far too quickly - you know you are enjoying yourself when this happens. Well done to all the organizers on a super day. One to remember.

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