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earthshaking ACEC 2012

October 5, 2012

With a nod to West Aussie primary teacher Paul Fuller (@paulfuller75) whose notoriety I recall from Orange Grove days while traversing Perth with Mac-bus-tourists, this year’s Australian Computers in Education Conference (Twitter stream:#ACEC2012) was no less than earthshaking.

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First, a respectful forewarning that this overview will be selective and omit many delights which I failed to attend; that is the nature of a large-scale conference where the only real downside is you can’t catch everything on the menu.  So here’s an assorted sampler of presentations from the last three days:

  • The Earthshaker project (yes, last event first) showcased what we as secondary teachers need to be up to speed with if we’re anticipating Paul Fuller’s students in our classes any time soon. Here’s one of my tweets:

Student publishing to an authentic audience:  via Paul Fuller {year book, anyone? Recipes? Anthology?} #acec2012.

Removes some of the risk of a print run when users pay. Loved the students’ manifesto statements as digital citizens – on video – and the assembly items pre-recorded against a green screen backdrop with “Connection Lost” as a catch-phrase; Pompeii citizenry running, time travellers becoming dinosaur dinner, you get the picture. Hot tip: Cafe Press has an open store accessible to budding entrepreneurs.

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If you can imagine it, you can create it – Paul Fuller

  • At the Entertain, Engage & Educate session with two highly engaging Art teachers, I learned that I am not alone in conducting a three-ring circus of adolescent-proof strategies targeting engagement (isn’t disengagement a teen pandemic of our time?). We polled with Mentimeter, commented on Wallwisher, checked out a student’s Pablo Picasso Blabberize, explored theories by John Hattie, Marco Torres, Ananth Pai, Michael McQueen and Sugata Mitra. Here’s the TED talk:
  • Pennie White from Monash University explained ELearning coaches as brokers of practice within & across schools. Based on a project which disrupted pedagogy with applied tech tools, Communities of Practice was used as a theoretical framework to embed and sustain change. Sounded sensational for promoting mutual respect and negotiated new understandings. Project findings included:


  • Professional Learning should be multi-tiered for leverage & embedding new pedagogy
  • Brokers should be located within school
  • Brokers are encouraged to work with others to generate their own community of practice

Here’s one of my iPad paparazzi shots summarising key dimensions:

  • Dr Milton Chen during Thursday’s keynote described himself as a passionist. He also shared (new to me) Alan Kay’s DynaBook:
  • Michael Eggenhuizen ICT Director at King’s School in Parramatta raised the spectre of the Digital Education Revolution while discussing strategic planning. Remember this document?

Maybe this image?

KRudd's Toolbox

image resuscitated from

  • Reclaiming the backchannel as a learning challenge presented by Kim Flintoff began with Ferris Bueller’s Anyone meme, ran through these suggestions –

Top hat monocle


Poll everywhere


Go soapbox

– and explored Hotseat’s potential in greater depth:

Benefits of backchannel tools:

  • Blended learning engagement
  • Generates accessible artefacts
  • Assists in bridging cohorts
  • Provides metrics on usage
  • Overcome social inhibitions
  • Anonymity can be toggled
  • Needs little in the way of special equipment
  • Crowd source issues eg missing material
  • Can employ as a collaborative task
  • Peer assessment

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  • Roland Gesthuizen’s Playing with Google Apps included an opportunity to bond with the Fokkers:

We shared a hangout, explored homework clubs as a potential feature of Google Drive, and considered crowdsourcing projects, such as this:

<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”; title=”Ten Tools for Learning” target=”_blank”>Ten Tools for Learning</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”; target=”_blank”>Teaching Sagittarian</a></strong> </div>

Along with collaborative projects such as this:

Authentic learning was endorsed by one and all presenters. Passion was also echoed in content, speech and attitude. For three or four days, participants explored their love of and for teaching. No coincidence, it seemed, that today was World Teachers’ Day with celebratory images shared on Twitter, and the ACEL conference running like a doppelganger in Brisbane over the same time frame. Made it hard to follow both events online (TweetDeck to the rescue) .

I don’t feel like my thinking has been adequately captured in this post; I can see the emergence of directions, but not necessarily the path that will be taken, or which of these tools will be whipped from the chest at what time and for what purpose. Perhaps it’s a good idea to let the froth settle.

I certainly feel uplifted and inspired by the fantastic educators I have met over the last few days, and their stories are captured in tweets, notes and images as a chaotic majesty of innovative impetus.  I am very grateful for the opportunity to share in this earthshake.

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