Brisbane June 2014 – full article I have written for Merlin John can be found on Agent for Change
Event: EduTech 2014 conference
The buzz that permeated this year’s EduTECH event in Brisbane, Australia, last week was present from the opening until Ian Jukes’ final keynote presentation and underlined why this event is the most important in Australasia’s edtech calendar.
In tune with education trends worldwide, the strongest technology theme was ‘mobility’ – no surprise. Every hardware vendor wanted to talk about the growing use of tablets in the classroom and how their products fit the bill, but inspirational educators were also on hand throughout to show the kinds of learning that this technology can enable.
The quality of the keynotes, workshops, master-classes and teacher clinics was excellent. The general theme of most speakers concerned the empowerment of the classroom teacher to make a difference.
Creativity champion Sir Ken Robinson was on top form (see left), promoting its importance and the need to develop macro-level change in schools. He suggested that an organic methodology of school leadership was vital to move from an industrial to a more effective and healthier school system.
Ewan MacIntosh presented some clear messages about change and introduced several well thought out research pieces culminating in some tools for “design thinking” processes to help actually start to vision organisational hierarchy.
The Australian speakers brought their own practice to the masses, including the ‘happy schools’ and ‘youth engage’ initiatives from Dan Haesler and some excellent practice shown by Chris Betcher. It was good to meet several friends such as Pip Cleaves, of Design, Learn and Empower, and also Nick Jackson, a long-time friend from the UK, and to follow their current successful exploits in educational technology in Australia. I really enjoyed catching up with some school leaders who are forging ahead and pushing boundaries including Matt Richards who has been embedding BYOD and Google apps for EDU for several years.
There is clearly some amazing pedagogy in the educational technology space in Australia and in many respects they have the collateral to run this event with totally home-grown expertise. There were also several prominent sessions by Australian universities and the tertiary sector as well as from industry and the military.
A human-scale event designed for social interaction
It was a refreshing change for those familiar with the chaotic halls of the massive annual BETT show in London. EduTECH was busy; however, it had the feel of a more intimate and social event. For this visitor the stands were easy to get around and the conversations involving products and services were of the highest quality, which is often lacking at the large European or American events that can seem squashed and rushed.
For such a large event it also made a difference that food, teas and coffees were freely available throughout. This made the social interaction and community feel easier and more natural, which contributed to it feeling like an event you needed to stay at rather than rush around before heading off.
BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) has caused a huge ripple in the education sector; the search is clearly on for sensible, well-priced solutions for schools to consider for their strategies for BYOD. That’s why the show’s dominant theme was mobility. Hardware vendors wanted to show their products, from light-touch through performance to hybrid devices.
The rise of BYOD is especially good news for companies like Samsung which manufacture their own tablets (in Samsung’s case the Galaxy Tabs). This helps them leverage sales of other useful kit for schools, such as digital signage and Chromebooks, off the back of customer enquiries on tablets.
Full Article can be found on Agent4change website