ULearn – final day

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:

Mel Gibb, Iain Cook-Bonney, David, Fiona Grant, Allanah King, Sarah Jones, Toni Twiss, Simon Evans.

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!

4 thoughts on “ULearn – final day

  1. Thanks for mentioning my blog with regards to my Ulearn reflections. The internet speed was incredible while sitting in the auditorium. While listening to the keynote speakers I was able to twitter and blog and I also managed to log onto the http://www.nile.co.nz site, buy Steve’s “unleashed NZ” book plus logged onto my bank website and made direct payment. You can not do that with 200 odd others surfing wirelessly without a fairly impressive internet connection. Ulearn08 rocked, thanks Derek, CORE did an amazing job!

    PS – Just to let you know, your Steve link on your next blog post is not working…

  2. Derek you are so right to end your post with the challenge to BOT’s and Principals to now hear the clarion call and take up the challenge. Isolated pockets of innovation and passion within a school need to be nourished but do not a revolution make. Wholesale change is what is needed and soon. The challenge is how? I for one want to be part of that change leadership mindset project, I will be in touch.

  3. David I couldn’t agree more. I am doing presentations to a number of BOT’s in my cluster this term, so that start really thinking what they would like their school to look like in 5 years time, and how they are providing a meaningful learning experience for our young people. I missed ULearn due to illness, and was really looking forward to going to Carolyn’s workshop “I just want to teach” as I think it begins with the principals and the BOTS

  4. Attending and listening and learning are an honour… Big shout out to those organising and booking everyone who spoke and presented. Another fabulous PD opportunity.

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