As you will have seen from the date of my last post I have been a bit busy of late. Or lazy as may be the case! Never quite finding the time to get online what I have been thinking or finding out about in my work and play time. However, my experience at the Education 2020 Unconference in Islay last week was soooo good that I just had to share my thoughts about it.
I first had the pleasure of meeting Ian Stuart from Islay High School a couple of years back when he presented at HHL07 (he also won a Wii in the prize draw). I learned all about how they had been looking to integrate ICT into the life of the school by virtue of the umpc and One Note amongst other things. So after hearing all about this it wasn't too long before I had managed to make my way to Islay to visit Ian and the school, a visit that left me truly impressed with the school's set-up, vision and ethos.
So after this initial visit it was with great pleasure that I received the opportunity of visiting Islay again last week to attend the Education 2020 Unconference. This unconference was a focal point for a group of educators from all aspects of the Scottish (and further afield) Educational landscape who use a range of online technologies to collaborate with professional colleagues in order to develop their own professional practice but also to contribute to their peers development. It must be said that I am less than prolific contributior to this community but to be part of it is something that I greatly value and feel confidence in. I can honestly say that I am a better profesional person for being a part of this community.
The chats we had were excellent, the high jinx and singing in the pub on Friday night just superb but the thing that impressed me the most about my time on Islay was my experience with the young people from Islay High School who presented to the conference delegates on ther Friday morning and then interviewed us on the Friday evening. Here we saw a group of articulate, confident, self-aware and mature individuals who presented a quite analytical yet wholly positive view of how the the opportunities afforded to them by the school had increased their self-confidence and enhanced their levels of attainment in whatever path they chose to take. The interviewers in the evening were also delightfully impressive and more than willing to ask for clarification if they did not understand one of my obscure mutlisyllabic references on innovation or if they felt they need to ask a probing supplementary question. What a credit you were to your school and if this is the kind of student that Islay High School turns out then I hope to send my girls there one day.
There were also interesting contributions to the conference that seemed out of kilter with the general consensus of opinion of the delegates but is it not the case that this debate is one that still needs to be argued? I'm sure that the tipping point is on its way and that the idea that interaction with online technologies offers so much more than just 'staring at a computer screen' will become stronger and will eventually become the norm. Education 2020 and the learners of Islay High School have given me even greater confidence in what I am doing in order to help contribute to the continued evolution of young learners' experiences in school. I am delighted to be in a position to do so.
Thanks to all at Islay High School (and the various distelleries) for a great time on your beautiful island.