Tips and tricks for cutting edge educators

Expanding Learning Horizons

Last week, the annual Expanding Learning Horizons (ELH) conference was held in Lorne Victoria.  In my humble opinion, this conference sets the benchmark for education conferences in Australia and globally, especially for schools who have moved along or are looking to move along the 1-to-1 path.

The rich mix of critical conversations, keynote presentations, and break-out workshops was masterfully balanced.

This year, discussion was heavily fixed on both the importance of having a digital stylus in education and the need to assess technology by its potential to improve pedagogical opportunity, rather than by its potential to make a school ‘appear’ innovative on the surface. Here are some key observations made by Travis Smith:

  • Schools need to be careful to evaluate technologies on the basis of teaching and learning not mass market appeal. Schools have always been a different market and there’s good reason for it (Tablets need a stylus).
  • Work out what you think powerful learning with technology looks like and then make decisions about devices….not the other way around. Multi-media / video / audio / creation / programming etc.
  • Its not that slates don’t have a place in learning….its that they do…that’s the important thing to remember…..btw….haven’t we kind of been here before?
  • At the moment we still need to have processing power….we still need HDD….and we may always need a stylus.
  • We have to drive the idea that a pen/stylus is a valuable tool in learning (who would have thought 10 years ago we’d be justifying that?)
  • We need to make sure that we don’t compromise learning opportunities through having multiple devices that do some things instead of all things.
  • Are we really ready for true cloud computing….I would argue not yet. I would also argue that if all you’re doing with the technology can be work on online, you’re not pushing the potential of the technology.. So, some cloud / some local – I like it! Once we can be connected anywhere, imagine the possibilities….
  • We are very much looking forward to  a slimmer lighter Tablet PC which meets all needs of the contemporary learner – ie. keyboard, stylus, processing power etc.

Comments on: "Expanding Learning Horizons" (2)

  1. We were discussing just this week in our Smarter Classrooms committee about the need for tablet computers for mathematics. I\’m still trying to get my head around what we can do with tablet computers that we can\’t do with pen and paper. I guess collaboration and sharing of work, but again, is that really that much different to using butchers paper in groups or writing on the blackboard. Perhaps I have to get my hands on one first and play before I learn anything more from it.

  2. You\’ve inspired me to write another entry explaining why stylus based tablet is so much better than a laptop with pen and paper.

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