The inaugural AUPOV conference was held in Wollongong, (near Sydney) last week. I felt incredibly privileged to be invited as the International Guest Speaker and gained a huge amount personally from the networking opportunities and the wide range of engaging and informative speakers.
The conference began with a cocktail evening, where a number of people spoke and a new, cutting-edge technologies for education were common-place in discussion. The venue (below) was superb!!!
The key point for me at this conference is that the accessibility of technology is improving. This point was strongly reinforced by Michael Coghlan in his presentation mid-Friday morning. He gave numerous examples of the way that not only is technology changing, but so too is our access to technology. Specifically, we now no longer have to request and wait for technology access (although I think school computer rooms do still fit in to this category!). He gave examples such as projectors, photos and television and described how once before, taping good content from TVs meant filling out a form and having librarians (who apparently COULD figure out how to set the timer on the VCR machine) copy programmes for you… which of course you would then have to pick up, book a TV, wheel it in to your room, play - fast forward - rewind etc…
In the past, problems lay in not only the size and accessibility of technology, but als in the time and skill for creating learning objects (ie video and photos). New technology means the user has total editorial control, no third party need be involved. Michael introduced the term disintermediation to define this, simply meaning - the decline of gatekeepers. However, with this comes issues too of course - namely the authenticity of content, but also the validity or usefulness of it. He referenced two books with differing opinions on this and I look forward to getting my hands on them to read myself.
Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky addresses the way new media is working in the world today - what people are doing with it and how it is being used.
The Cult of the Amateur by Andrew Keen is about the way that user generated content is killing our culture. Keen argues that wonderful things about life have disappeared since the internet stating that ‘amateur hour has arrived and the audience is running the show’
Michael contrast this second text with this clip from YouTube
stating that UGC enables those who could never have received an audience have the ability to reach an audience. As a crowd, we get to decide - we get to pick winners - we have to wade through all the content:
As a member of the crowd - are we going to go with the stupidity of the mass, or are we going to collaborate,create and share?
When looking at institution-wide change - it doesn’t have to be all or nothing - as educators we need to have an awareness of our own systems and objectives and to pick and choose how we are going to make and implement these changes - and which changes we are going to make. In my opinion, currently in schools - this is driven by timetable constraints (timing and a segmented curriculum) and assessment driven practice.
Michael says that skills are not necessarily the key - but the key is awareness - knowing what you don’t know but being interested and enthusiastic about finding out about it.
When he talked about POV (point of view technologies) he brought up a very key idea that I hadn’t thought of - the relevance of the fact that the creator of video is unseen. Therefore, they are not ‘on camera’ and are very natural in their behaviour.
Michael finished by saying that many, many technologies are used as tools for which they were never intended (eg twitter) - end-user innovation. End-user innovation is crucial - Michael says - let the technology drive - because until you use the technology you have no idea what you could/can do.
Don’t forget to give your students the opportunity to create POV videos - the thrill and excitement of creating - as a digital object or for assessment purposes.
Simon Brown’s presentation highlighted the ability to connect with others and share the video that you have created - connectivity is key and in my opinion it is the discussion generated as a response to this that is so incredibly valuable. Sharing tools, videos, ideas with your own learning network.
Simon talked about the ways that he streamlines that sharing process - ie. uploading to one site first which automatically updates his other sites that connect him to his PLN (personal learning network) and showed examples of how he uses Ning with his students and in particular to encourage students to share their own POV video.
As a stonemason, working with apprentices, Simon says that it is the ability to use new technologies to stimulate the master/novice conversation which is so valuable.
Another post to come about the second half of the day!!!