I wanted to go to the FOTE -Future of Technology in Education- conference last year but the tickets were all gone by the time I realised so I was determined to try and get one this year. The tickets are free but obviously it is still quite a way to travel for me - but worth it. Luckily I managed to arrange a meeting on the same day so it meant only one journey for two events.
One of the brilliant things about the conference was that there was a mobile app that could be downloaded beforehand. I think this is ideal - it had the list of delegates, the agenda, feeds & tweets, locations and various other information. This suits me perfectly because I really don't want paper based info to carry round but want to know what's happening and who's there.
The conference was held at the University of London Senate House which is a fantastic building and really impressive. It is quite nostalgic for me as I studied at the Uni in the 80s and used to use the library at Senate House. There is a beautiful entrance hall and a beautiful main hall where all the sessions took place. It is a good experience to attend an event when all the sessions are held in one hall for all the delegates. It makes a change, it's not appropriate for all events by any means but worked well in this instance.
There were a variety of presentations from people from universities, colleges, companies and others. The main points I found were - that you need to have an interactive experience using technology in education, that you can have fun and include games and activities when using learning technologies That you may be able to predict whether students are going to succeed or fail even before they arrive at your institution - this is quite scary I think as I'm not sure whether it will influence you in providing the learning experience and support that they need. It is important to have face2face support as well as online support ( yes, this is one of my favourite topics). Students do want more PCs especially in libraries - it's all about choice (yay - indeed). You have to listen to learners to find out what they want and need - but they will need help to be informed of the choices available. Don't be led by the loudest voice. A student from NUS gave a talk about what students want and yes, they are not 'digital natives' whatever that means - they still need skills to be able to learn.
It was a really interesting day, I like technology conferences where you can listen, watch, participate if you want or just be. You can use your phone or tablet or laptop or just watch people.
The food was good. Saw and chatted to quite a few people I know and also talked f2f with a few different people who I have only known before online through twitter or facebook or JISC lists. It was cool.
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