Well what a week last week was. First off was the Perth experience at the 2007 World Conference on Science and Technology Education. As reported earlier the keynote sessions in particular were stellar. Many of the other option sessions were also interesting, (a couple were a little more special focus than I had anticipated). It was interesting to compare this international conference with some of the other local conferences that I have been attending of late. Now of course this conference had a single area of focus in science but I had anticipated a bigger focus on the use of ICT in the program than there was. In fairness the conference venue didn’t totally encourage computer based presentations, seminar based ones dominated the program.
The computer based activities I did attend however drew rather smaller audiences than I would have expected. One session on podcasting had 23 participants and my Intro to Web 2.0 had 20 in the audience but my workshop on setting up a blog and wiki only had four participants. Interesting and just a little bit concerning. Maybe most of the participants at the conference knew about the potential of Web 2.0 but I somehow think not. In each of the sessions mentioned above there were only 4 in total who had had previous experience with blogs or podcasts, it would be hard to suggest that this ratio of knowledge was exceeded over the rest of the participants. I was quite happy with the sessions that I was involved in as a presenter and the participants all seemed to find the presentation useful.
It was interesting then to come back to Melbourne on the Friday to conduct a whole day PD on blogs, wikis and podcasts for the local ICT in Education group. As I have quite a lot of difficulty getting release from my school during term time, (another story there), I could only offer the PD during the term vacation. The folks at ICTEV were a little concerned with the timing as holiday programs in the past had not drawn very big enrollments and in fact most had to be withdrawn. Given my situation though it was decided to run with this one anyway. They, (and I), were very pleased when the program attracted some 14 participants.
So it was that on Friday I rolled up to the ICTEV office. Apart from a couple of minor hiccups with the wireless internet connection having the occasional go slow, the day went off very smoothly and all participants went home with their own Edublogs blog, a Wikispaces wiki and for the PC users, a functioning copy of Audacity on their PC. I really enjoyed the discussion and interaction during the day especially when the participants were exploring how they might best use the tools in their own work situations. Speaking of work situations, it was particularly interesting to see the range of roles represented in the group. We had mainly classroom teachers but also there were a couple of regional based personnel as well as a school based technician with the group comprising a mix of state and private school participants.