Saturday, 8 January 2011
#Reform Symposium for New Teachers 2011 - Feedback
The 2nd Reform Symposium was an absolutely fantastic success in my opinion and I would like to say a very big thank you to the tireless organisers and presenters and volunteers for all their hard work. Extraordinary conferences such as Reform Symposium don't just happen - they take hours of dedicated work behind the scenes to ensure there are no glitches and that everything goes smoothly.
Every presentation I attended was more than excellent - it was truly outstanding. I am sorry I couldn't stay up to view all of the sessions, but I will try to view the archived talks from the Reform Symposium site as soon as they become available. Each link to the presenter below has a forthcoming link to the recorded session as well. The links should be available by January 15th, so you will be able to view the presentations for yourself.
All the sessions were via the Elluminate platform and everything went very well. You can view a tutorial on how Elluminate works here. It was a fantastic opportunity for me to keep up with what is happening in education at the moment and it was very exciting to be a part of the audience. All the presenters had great visuals and there was a lot of audience participation via the chat box. People were also tweeting during the conference and I even managed to post a few tweets myself inbetween sessions. I have to confess that I can't seem to focus on a talk and tweet at the same time!
It was lovely to see names of people I recognised in my PLN and it felt really welcoming and there was a very friendly atmosphere and it was also a lot of fun!
I attended the very interesting talk on Glogster EDU by Jim Dachos and I learned a lot about its huge potential as a learning tool. Glogster Edu is used by a wealth of educators and students around the world. The EDU basic is free, and the Premium Glogster EDU comes with a lot of extra interactive features to experiment with. I haven't actually used this before and it is something I would like to try out in the future.
I attended Marisa Constantinides' excellent talk on Professional Development through Facebook and Nings. She told us how social networks help teachers with their CPD and showed a wide range of examples to demonstrate their effectiveness. Marisa plays a very active role on Facebook and her blog is number one on the Facebook network blogs. We were shown Marisa's very popular Facebook group page called English Language Study Group for Teachers and Learners of English.
I really enjoyed Marisa's talk very much and I learned a lot!!
The next talk I attended was the brilliant Opening Keynote presented by Dr Alec Couros. The Keynote was called Why Networked Learning Matters. Dr Alec Couros publishes all his materials and work online and he shares all his resources. He firmly believes in "open" education.
"If there is no sharing, there's no education"
I liked this quote in particular, "If there's no sharing, there's no education". This is so true. I agree it is great to share resources, whenever possible!! He also mentioned that when we blog as teachers, we are enlightening a lot of other people. I won't go into more details here as I highly recommend you view for yourselves Dr Couros' illuminating and very exciting talk. In fact I would like to see it again, as he referred to so many wonderful resources which are freely available. He quoted Downes 2010: "An education is something that we create ourselves" and this is possible in the progressive and evolving networking era that we are living in. I certainly feel that I am developing as a teacher more than ever before as I myself construct and develop my very own and unique "further education programme" with the help of the many resources available online.
"Love your students before you meet them"
For the last session I attended I had to set my alarm for 1.45 am in the morning! Was it worth it? Of course it was!!! I enjoyed every single moment of Greta Sandler's awesome presentation called "Creating Safe Learning Environments".
"Love your students before you meet them" is a memorable quote from the enthusiastic and amazing Greta Sandler from Argentina. In its simplicity, it is such a powerful and positive statement. Greta creates a very positive learning atmosphere in all her classes, where the key word is "respect". She does lots of collaborative blogging projects with her students and has achieved amazing results as you can see in her lovely blog About a Teacher. A great example of the type of work Greta is doing with her students with classes from around the world can be seen in this blog post called Diving into a Skyping Adventure . You can't fail to be inspired by her vitality and great passion for her job. Greta is also the co-creator of the "Blogs 4 Edu" initiative. This is an excellent project, and you can read more about it on the Blogs 4 Edu wiki.
You can read Greta's feedback of the conference in her lovely post "My #RSCON11 Take-aways."
Thank you very much once again to all the Reform Symposium committee for a highly educational and informative e-conference. It was a resounding success!!
Here is a list of all the presenters again for you to view the recordings of the talks when they become available soon. Have fun!!