Friday, 18 October 2013

Janet's Reform Symposium 4 Feedback

I am still on a high after one of the most enlightening weekends of Professional and Personal Development I have ever experienced. The 4th Reform Symposium Econference was a very exciting event!! A full list of all the session descriptions can be found here.  All the sessions were recorded and you can scroll down the list and choose which one you would like to view at your leisure. Here is the recordings link.

To imagine that the Reform Symposium Conference was all for free is an incredible thought.  I appreciate all the tireless support and great dedication by all the superb organizers included in the note below.  Each and every single one of them played a massive role in ensuring that everything went according to plan, each with their own specific duties to accomplish. They all did brilliantly!!

What can I say except that I was blown away by the whole event.  I actually felt as if I was physically present at the conference.  Everything was carried out in real time via the sessions, and the special Future of Education Ning chatbox area for presenters, which was buzzing with messages. For a period of time, I felt totally connected in a truly global way and it was exhilarating. It was just as good if not better than attending a conference in person.  I was in the comfort of my own home and it was very relaxing, attending whilst drinking endless cups of coffee.

A United Show
The presenters, moderators, organizers were all sharing, enjoying, helping, supporting each other as a united group and for me personally, this was a huge motivational boost.  I had been temporarily feeling very down and low immediately prior to the event starting on Friday.   However, attending inspirational sessions, presenting at my own session on Sunday, and moderating on the lovely Jennifer Vershoor's session,  was just the tonic I needed.

Some Highlights
With over 100 presentations over the 3 day event and with so many members of my PLN doing sessions, I knew it was going to be very difficult to choose which ones to attend in person, inbetween other duties.  All the sessions I attended were wonderful and I learned a lot from the presenters' input. I will outline 5 of the sessions below. Apologies for not mentioning everyone's presentation, but rest assured, the level and quality of every session I attended was superb and thanks so much to you all!  I have earmarked so many recorded sessions for viewing as soon as I can.......

The Welcome Address and Nicky Hockly's very informative Keynote, The Future Present set the tone for the whole magical event and I was well and truly hooked!! Musical entertainment was provided by the Bookseller.
Recording HERE.

Dr Sugata Mitra's opening plenary, The Future of Learning, provided great food for thought and left me feeling so impressed with what he has achieved in his life, and how he has helped transform the lives of pupils in areas of great poverty, especially with his hole in the wall initiative, which originally started in India.
Recording HERE

Cecilia Lemos :  'I am NOT just a teacher. A new mantra'  This talk was excellent and thought-provoking. It provided great tips on how to value ourselves as teachers.
Recording HERE.

Carla Arena :'Digital Metamorphosis based on Sir Ken Robinson's Three Flourishing Principles'. I enjoyed listening to how Carla successfully applies these three principles into her own teaching.
Recording HERE

Jennifer Vershoor's Jazz Up your classes with technology, which I moderated for.  I always learn so much from Jennifer, and feel very inspired by the creative work she does with her students.
Recording HERE.

Information to access all the other wonderful RSCON4 sessions and links to all recordings can be found on this page:

Visually Inspire Your Learners!
Finally, I would like to mention my session.  I had a lovely time and I really enjoyed interacting with the audience via the chat box.  Apologies if I didn't catch all the comments while I was speaking.  A huge thank you to everyone who came to the session.  It was so nice to see so many familiar faces and new ones, too. Also a very big thanks to everyone tweeting about it before, during and after my session had finished. I appreciated all the lovely support, very much indeed.

My fabulous moderator Marijana  very kindly introduced me to my audience and the scene was set for an enjoyable time going through the 35 slides.  I have embedded the presentation below and the recording link is HERE.  It lasts for approximately an hour.  I do hope you will find it of some practical use.

Marijana took a screenshot of her tweet during the presentation and I have reproduced it here with her kind permission: 

You can view some more details about my presentation on my JanetAbruzzo wiki page, called RSCON4.   If you scroll to the bottom of the page I have added some links to resources connected to the subject.  I hope to add some more...

Background to some of the slides chosen
I spent  about 2- 3 weeks on and off, preparing my RSCON4 presentation. I really enjoy the whole process involved in deciding what to include.
I would like to share some of my personal thoughts on five of the slides that I carefully selected for my rscon4 presentation.

Slide 1: Abruzzo Eagle
Abruzzo Eagle
At this particular moment in time, I wish I could be as free as this Abruzzo eagle, without a care in the world, surrounded by peace and tranquility.  For me it represents total freedom.

Slide 2: Solitary Motorbike in Abruzzo's 'Little Tibet'

I desperately want to get on this motorbike with my hubby and 'ride free' and totally immerse myself in the spectacular grandeur of Abruzzo's wild and mountainous scenery. This area of Abruzzo is totally unspoilt and far removed from the hustle and bustle of an everyday life. I feel blessed to be living in such a beautiful region.

Update Sunday October 20th 2013
My wish was granted and I had a fabulous trip to this area today.  Images below!!

Janet & moto in 'Little Tibet' October 2013

Abruzzo National Park October 2013
Autumn colours
Riding on the back of the motorbike through such beautiful scenery today was so relaxing!!

Slide 3: Snowed Under!

This image represents how I have felt at times during 2013.  Snowed under with paperwork and compiling reports that have absolutely nothing to do with teaching.... However, on a positive note, this image represents hope. The bulbs in the pots totally covered in snow actually survived this heavy snowfall and went on to become beautiful tulips in the spring.  The motto is, 'Never give up hope!'.

Slide 4: Big Brother is Watching You!

1984 written by George Orwell, predicted a 'Big Brother' society, one where nobody was free and everybody was surveilled 24/24.  This graffiti image I came across recently represents for me a chilling reminder that we are living in a closely monitored and controlled society.......

 I would love to know who drew this image on the wall, and what it symbolises for the artist.

Slide 5:The Joy of Teaching

This collaborative word cloud was compiled by a recent f2f class consisting of Swiss teenagers.  They chose the adjectives to sum themselves up and they also chose the shape of the word cloud.

I still feel a sense of 'Joy' after teaching for over 34 years. Teaching has always made me feel alive and provides incredible and unforgettable moments in my life. This last weekend was defnitely one of the highs of my professional life. It certainly offered 'more valuable and professional development than money could ever buy'.

Final Thoughts about RSCON4

Created with Witty Comics
Please watch some of the recordings if you can!  The full list can be found via this link:

This motivational poster I created with bighugelabs says it all. Thanks once again to all the organizers, presenters, moderators and volunteers for making The Reform Symposium E-conference 2013 such a resounding success.