It was a career highlight and an absolute honour to be asked to participate in a panel at EduTECH 2014, held in Brisbane last week. The conference began with a keynote from Sugata Mitra, who is an interesting and thoughtful speaker and it was terrific to see him in person.
I was asked to discuss the role of the cloud in schools with Paul Hamilton and Paul Kenna. The focus questions we were given were:
A few days before the conference, I received an email revealing the location of the panel. I was expecting a small room, but certainly was shocked to read that we would be in the Great Hall. I consoled myself that as there were concurrent sessions on at the same time, there would only be a small audience. My anxiety flared again when I read that our panel would be offered to both the K-12 Ed Leaders and Library Managers streams (I had attended EduTECh in 2012 and the K-12 Ed Leaders was a huge stream. Apparently over 5000 people were attending EduTECH 2014 within the nine streams offered).
Our panel session took place after a session from the wonderful Jenny Luca (talk about a hard act to follow!). Fortunately, my nerves were not too bad as the lighting meant that those on the stage couldn’t really see the audience until nearly the end of the panel when the house lights were turned on to allow questions from the floor.
That’s when I realised the audience was fairly sizeable, but thankfully by then the panel was in its concluding stages. I had never spoken to so many people before, but I had never been so relaxed either. Being a part of a panel certainly took the pressure off, as the focus was not just on me and the session really was just a conversation, which was nice. It was also fun to be offered a job on stage from one of the other panel participants!
Afterwards I received some nice comments online and in person, which was generous and reassuring.
Now that my formal commitments were over, I could relax and enjoy the rest of the conference. That enjoyment increased when I bumped into the one and only Sir Ken Robinson when I was returning to my hotel to rest. He was so sweet and inquired if I would be attending his session. If only he knew that I have such an educrush on him!
Sir Ken’s talk was passionate and engaging, he is such a brilliant storyteller weaving his stories into relevant points for us to ponder. It was amazing to see him in person as he had presented to EduTECH via satellite the previous two years.
I also enjoyed meeting up with ‘old’ friends (too many to mention in case I leave someone out) and meeting people like Sue Waters, Kim Tairi, Leigh Murphy and Matt Esterman for the first time.
Hearing the wonderful Joyce Valenza and the incredibly passionate Ian Jukes were also highlights. Ian Jukes was deliberately provocative and certainly had the Twitter stream going beserk.
One disappointment though was that Joyce Valenza, Ewan McIntosh and Gary Stager were all scheduled at the same time.
Anyone considering attending in 2015, start planning now as EduTECH is one of those events that are not to be missed.