Learning Without Frontiers – London 2011

| January 10, 2011 | 1 Comment 

A great honour, to close the first day of Learning Without Frontiers at The Brewery Conference Centre in the Barbican.

We looked at how technology, of many kinds, can be used to create, rather than just consume; ways to inspire and motivate even the most reluctant of learners; and did a bit of storytelling, set in the mystical landscape of Epic Citadel.

Thank you so much to all those who contributed to the presentation.(@eylanezekiel @dawnhallybone @bevevans22 @xannov @kvnmcl @DeputyMitchell and others paddling away like fury in the background.

And… at least I didn’t fall off the stage eh?!

As many of you know, we normally have the blog up BEFORE I have finished the presentation, but this one was so risky and technically challenging that I haven’t had time

In brief, because I promised to get the blog and links up a.s.a.p.

We started out looking at how static images are a good initial stimulus; moving through QuickTime VRs (as found on Panoramas.dk) then on to games: Riven, the second game in the Myst series, is now available for iPhone/pad; then other games such as Return to Mysterious Island; then using Epic Citadel, I told a little story, Jackanory stylee, about that lands greatest pickpocket. A bit of impromptu drama, with the unsuspecting Dawn Hallybone and Eylan Ezekiel taking the role of the pickpocket and his true love. (!) A nudge towards Thinking Dice to extend questioning; Then we set off on a look at programs, apps, and online resources to tell a tale in magical ways: Comic Life, and Strip Designer for iPad, Vimeo, Animoto, Brushes for iPad, Color Splash,

…do you know what, me dearios, that’s enough to be going on with for now. I will add to the (I must say, rather long, list of other doodlies, tomorrow, and beyond.

Ewan McIntosh kindly shared a pint with us at The Hoxton reflected on the session. Thank you Ewan.

Tim was asked to do what I did last year: close off an event for the day, an event where we had seen educationalists give their most recent inspiring practice alongside artists, hackers and computer scientists inventing tomorrow. What was in store, then, from Tim? A summary of proceedings, with requisite triumvirate conclusions? A firing squad’s worth of bullet points? No. We got a bedtime story.

Earlier in the day, among the plentiful iPads and interactive media smattering the venue, we had heard that “storytelling is no longer important”. Tim, as always, proved that wrong. Storytelling is the essence of what makes us all tick, and Tim is one of its masters.

The reminder of the analogue is always present – we see children writing clever-stuff on fools-cap, flows of consciousness brimming into nether worlds that Tim’s borrowed i-stimuli have provoked.

But key to the success of any learning is the final product: by using a continually updating cornucopia of online tools, gizmos and, now, iPad-friendly apps, Tim and his charges, have been able to reproduce 3D flipbooks, green-screen dramatisations and alternative versions of the story with olde worlde ColorSplash-altered screengrabs from the original immersive landscapes the children had started out describing.

When we think about why we’d want to introduce any new tech into the classroom it’s just too easy for people to get distracted with the metaphorical bells and whistles. With the iPad, people have done that already. Tim shows that it’s not about the tech, it’s about the teach. And, with the light he shone today, more of us see how we can inspire our students to create in new, vibrant ways.

Category: 1) Events and Training days, 2) Useful n Interesting

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