A few weeks ago now I attended my first unconference. For the uninitiated an unconference is a conference that is organised & delivered by the delegates. For example, take the programme, it was complied in this Google Spreadsheet with the delegates simply adding a title to a slot. No submitting of abstracts 6 months before the event and still a great quality & variety of sessions. Other than that EduCampLondon felt pretty much like any other conference/event. The format of unconference sessions is supposed to be less chalky-talky and more discursive or off-the-wall but in practice many sessions, including my own, were fairly traditional.
My session, Audio Feedback: it sounds good, can we make it look good?, covered some work we’ve been doing at LSE with audio feedback and then looked at the potential for using screen recording tools for giving more visual audio feedback. I got my talk out of the way first thing (I do like this self-scheduling!) which enabled me to relax for the rest of the day.
The Student Viewpoint
I attended a couple of presentations given by students and it was really interesting to hear their perspective. One, by students from Central Saint Martins & UCL, was all about iPoodle an Moodle iphone App that they are developing, as part of a course project. They hope it will be in the App Store soon. The second student session was a Q&A with a UEL student simply chatting about how she used technology in her everyday studies (much more unconferency I think!). What I took away from both was a stark reminder of the students’ love of content. All the other stuff web technologies might offer is very much second fiddle to students’ desire for easy access to the PDFs, PPTs that their teachers provide them with.
I also attended talks on Moodle & Turnitin integrations, Google Wave , iTunes U and an interesting discussion on where Learning Technologists should focus their energy: developing a basic use of technologies by all or working with enthusiasts to experiment & innovate. I know what the students would like us to be doing.