We are at online Educa Berlin 08. It is my first time in this event. I have always heard wonders about it, and now I can see why. This is huge, hence impressive. But what I am enjoying the most is indeed all the fun and informal activities I have been able to take part in. And that was also the most popular arguments amongst experienced fellow researchers and practitioners who advised me about this conference – the networking opportunities. you are SO right. This is brilliant!
And it started right after the moment I set foot in the intercontinental hotel yesterday evening. I met the ‘suspicions ones: Among them the Ponty dream (Graham Attwell and Dirk Stieglitz), Josie Fraser, George Robertx, Joe Rosa, Steven Warburton, Marga Perez, Dave white…and the lsit goes on. It’s great to touch base with these guys once in a while.
To my greastest surprise, a couple of days I heard Buthaina wisher …well twitter …she was coming to Online Educa. One more reason to keep me happy. A really amazing opportunity to meet my fellow webhead from Kuwait. The moment we met, we couldn’t stop talking about the webheads and the passion that keep us connected: the world of education, where the learner and learning are the most important variables. Buthaina really fitted well with the rest of teh JISC team (as any webhead would!) and off we went to the European Edublogger meet-up. Again a lot of fun and great conversations until late in the evening. More people joined in, and once again we welcomed that to broaden our networks.
Today was the official starting of the conference. we had the plenary sessions which counted with the presence of Mike Wesch. I really liked his talk as always and there were some ideas that I hope attendants will take with them. Among others, I would just like to stress some of the key points Wesch valued in his presentation:
Teaching hasn’t changed, but learning surely has - and this is just a simple sentence, but with such a deep meaning. is’t it true. We have changed the way we do things, basically because the society we leave in so requires. however, we keep insisting and teaching people the same way. Something has to give. we need to change attitude. We need to help moving to a 21st century culture, and above all we need to adopt a new approach. Changes only happen if we act.
Learning is not about acquiring information: it’s about sharing it, it’s about co-constructing it; it’s about critically analyzing it. And once again I couldn’t agree more. What is given doesn’t have half the value of what we create ourselves, because in it there is also something of us – the effort we put in it. And that is the added value of learning – to give information a personal touch.
Wesch mentioned many other important aspects, however I haven’t had a chance to capture them all, and hope there’s a videocast out there soon to be released. Nevertheless, I want to leave you with his last remark – a questions which he says to be the answer too:
‘How can we create students that can create meaningful connections’. To that thought I can add that to inspire others to lead us we have to try it ourselves too. So to create students who can create meaningful connections we need first as educators and mentors to re-create ourselves in the connected world and become connected people ourselves. The value of the participatory media is the fact it enables tangible participation in a virtual, yet really real and valuable world, where the interactions and relationships we establish is the true value of technology.
And on that note, I finish this post as it’s time to go and connect to another fellow webhead, Heike Philps, who I have been connecting online for a long time. Today we become f2f buddies as well. As Buthaina is here too, this is also a webhead party.