Taken from a painting of Kapiti Island at Sunset.
by Sonia Savage.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

First Taste of a ULearn Conference.

I have just returned from an amazing three days of professional learning at ULearn 11.  It was outstanding as a learning experience and sweeter still because I had chosen to do it myself.  I mainly funded it myself, although my school did make a contribution which was gratefully accepted! To think a year ago, I had never heard of ULearn. Thanks to an Australian teacher who made me curious enough to find out more I entertained the idea of attending, and did.

The keynote speakers were all excellent, however my favourite one was Simon Breakspear and it is to his keynote that I will return.  His ideas were inspiring, some of his imagery memorable.  What an amazing speaker, he knew how to reach his audience and engage them. I felt he deserved a standing ovation!  I should have stood and given him at least a one person standing ovation! I hope his speech will be put on Edtalks, I want to listen to it again and reflect further.  In the meantime I hold an image of a dandelion in my mind.  I will come back to it to a post all by its own.

In the breakouts each of the teachers presenting, were great models of organization and excellent presenting.  I marked them all at the top of the scale: they had prepared, were articulate and had a worthwhile something to share.  Well done to each of them.  I listened of course to only a few of the many options. Not my first choices as I was about 36hrs late when the choices went live online.  However I am sure I was not short changed. I look at my planner sheet of breakouts now, and I admit I am a little hazy as to what each speaker said.  However my mind is brimming over with thoughts and ideas to use in the classroom or to think about.

I attended:
·         1. Our Journey and E-learning tools for pre-teens
·         2. Ingenious ways to use Google Docs in the classroom
·         3. iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, iLearn
·         4. Bringing Literacy to You: transformative possibilities for teacher professional learning.
·         5. QR codes for connected teachers
·         6. The e-Learning Classroom Project
·         7. The Digistore.

I went to the Digistore workshop by accident! It was the last workshop of the conference, I was in a rush, read the event centre incorrectly and found myself in the wrong place. I had been meant to go to Interactive Media – Gaming for Schools on the Cutting Edge (The Easy Way).  I had chosen it because it was something I knew little about and thought it might push me!  However I was very satisfied with the Digistore presentation, and have it as a top priority to use. It is copyrighted so it is  only available to New Zealand schools.  I knew about it, but had sort of ignored it, now I can’t! 

I was inspired by the Literacy presentation – No 4 – and I will explore it further. There is professional development linked to it, if I chose, so I will think about it.  Earmarked for another post.
No 6 -The e-Learning Classroom Project sounded amazing, and I was somewhat envious of the teachers who have grouped together in this project.  This too is earmarked for another post.

All the other breakouts were at the least interesting and at the best inspiring.  I know I want to take the time to go back and explore the notes online from each speaker, and refresh my mind on what I heard.
There were a huge group of people, over 1500 at least. I met only one person that I knew in that ever changing sea of faces!  However as we sat on buses, queued up in lines, sat beside each other there was always someone to chat with.  


  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on ULearn 11. I wasn't able to attend this year, but have been following off and on with Twitter. I look forward to reading more of your posts on what you learned and learning from you. Tina Donnell

  2. I'm glad to hear that you had a great time at conference. I must admit I was more than a little envious of the people going to the event!

  3. Tina
    I hope to reflect some more on what I learned. It will depend on how busy the term gets, but hope to make it a priority.

    Your turn will come I am so sure of that! It was amazing to be among such a huge group and to listen to so many inspiring people. Tired but happy learner!


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