Wednesday 5 October 2016

Ulearn 2016!

This year my school is lucky enough for our principal to have arranged the entire teaching staff to go to Ulearn 2016 in Rotorua!

Ulearn is an education conference which celebrates digital technology and its effective use in the teaching profession - for teachers, for students, for schools. 

Each person gets to book in their own 'breakouts' (aka workshops) depending on their interests and passions. 

It will be a busy few days! Here is my schedule..

This morning is the first Keynote Speaker - Larry Rosenstock.

Larry began by saying he always tries to start and finish with the same idea - "Changing the subject"

Then he shared this video with us..

How did people first learn? By sitting at the feet of adults who showed them how to do seomthing.
How did organised education first happen? Males left their families to go into the mountains and went to study religious texts.
Education begins with thinking...
It's all about Socrates - THINKING FOR YOURSELF.

Larry then went on to discuss various educational ideas, such as those posed by Campbell's Law, Paul Freire, John Dewey and John Gardner. He then discussed how he became involved in education, first being a lawyer and somewhat a carpenter. He started a school from scratch in the empty buildings of an unused naval base in San Diego. His school was very science based and used a lot of kinetic learning. An example he shared was about the problem of rattlesnakes. Another school property he worked on was near the border of Mexico, and was plagued with rattlesnakes. They put it onto the students to solve this problem - firstly they considered using pesticides and poisons, but they decided against it because it wouldn't be good for human health. Next, they considered a more natural approach. The students found out who the natural predator of the rattlesnake is - the barn owl. So they made homes for the owls which reflected their natural home to encourage them to nest in the area, so then they could then take care of the rattlesnake problem. And it worked. And the students did it all by themselves..

Larry continued telling various stories about how he, and many others, have tried to change the idea of disciples into a project based type learning, which heavily involves science and maths.
A great summary of Larry's ideas on 'changing the subject" can be seen here..

Looking forward to the rest of my day at Ulearn 2016! More posts to come...

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