This year I got the incredible opportunity to go to the biggest education conference in New Zealand, Ulearn in which I was a first time participant and first time presenter. It was a magical experience being surrounded by like-minded passionate educators of all ages and backgrounds, which really reaffirmed my faith that passion, willingness to change, learn, explore, innovate and share is what makes a great teacher. Another exciting aspect of the conference was meeting people face-to-face from my online PLC, many of whom I chat with regularly on Skype and Twitter, and have worked with on collaborative projects. Friendships and bonds where made and strengthened, we all shared, supported and taught one another. One of the most exciting moments for me was meeting Professor Stephen Heppell, what an inspiration!
I left brimming with ideas, inspired and excited, although my brain felt ready to burst (like fireworks not a melon :-) after four days of intense learning. The sheer quantity of amazing presentations meant I could only attend a fraction of them, luckily with a spirit sharing some of us shared our notes and learning. See my notes below for more detail on presentations keynotes and workshops I attended.
As a first time presenter I was somewhat nervous but with support from my PLC and a great audience I believe I managed to impart some ideas and inspiration on using Google Apps in schools. The allocated time was shorter than I expected so I did not get to do all I had planned, especially the collaborative activities and I found the participants ranged from very beginner to advanced which was difficult to cater for. Next time I think I need to be more specific in my target and state it clearly in the abstract.
Below is the Google Sites website I created for my Ulearn presentation.
It will take some time to process all this new knowledge and try out some new ideas. I look forward to sharing some of this with my school staff and spreading some of these exciting ideas. I will certainly be a next years Ulearn, and if you haven't been before, make sure you get there, you will be inspired!