Wow – three amazing days of keynotes, spotlights, workshops and future focus presentations has come to an end. Some great discussions, challenges, inspiration and new friendships forged. The conference has meant many things to many people – and their reflections appear all over the blogosphere – some are listed below:
There are also lots of great photos of ULearn08 on Flickr – scroll through to find the ones of the amazing dinner on Thursday evening which was themed as “Rouge” with entertainment from the Moulin Rouge genre.
I had the privilege of chairing the final keynote presentation, consisting of a panel of presenters from the early childhood, primary and secondary sectors. Tania and Beverly from Mania Kindergarten shared examples of what their young charges are doing everyday with a variety of technologies, including using blogs to maintain a record of their learning. Carolyn from Tawa Intermediate provided an overview of her work in the school since taking over as principal a couple of years ago, focusing on the importance of developing a shared vision among staff. Linda who has been principal of Lincoln High School for more than 10 years put success in her school down to developing teams of staff and supporting them in pursuing their own ideas, giving them permission to try things out, make mistakes and learn from them – all working towards identifying the things of real value that can be embraced and implemented on a wider and more sustainable scale.
The purpose of having this group share was to expose some of the practical ideas and advice that may be of use by others in the audience as they returned to their own schools. I summed up with a quote from James Allen:
You will be as small as your controlling desire
or as great as your dominant ambition.
No matter what our experience of a conference such as ULearn, we will end up changed in some way – the challenge is what our response will be when we return to our “day jobs”. My key message was for school leaders – for regardless of how inspired individual teachers may be, it is the collective change in our whole school system that is important. It’s not enough just to desire this to happen – we need more educators who are set alight with ambition, determined to see it happen!