Wow, what a busy few days and nights. The 2007 Learnscope event was held 1/2 November in Sydney, and some 35 teams have taken a journey into using Web2.0 and Virtual Learning – each with it’s own focus. The details of the teams and their projects are available on the Wiki.
From the Learnscope national site …
LearnScope focuses on work-based staff development. The beauty of LearnScope is that it enables participants to design what, where, when and how their learning will take place during the life of the project (6 months June – November). LearnScope moves beyond traditional expert-centred professional development models to focus on relevant, participant-driven opportunities.
There is so much that the Flexible Learning Team have blogged, podded and wiki’d that I leave you to surf around. Until a couple of days ago, I hadn’t made the link between ‘Limitless Infinity’ – who has been helping me out in Second Life for a few weeks now and Alexander Hayes – Project Manager of the initiative. I can see now why the event and project has been such an exciting journey.
This entire blog, really has come out of Learnscope. When I began, and first saw a presentation by Judy O’Connell, I had no idea what Web2.0 was, or how it could be used to engage learners in relevant and useful activities. I thought I knew ‘sufficient’ to teach my classes, and perhaps a little bit more to make sure I was one step ahead of students. What I came to realise, is that what I knew, was obsolete.
That’s kind of scary, since in the late 90s I managed to get my name in the paper more than a few times when talking about ‘the internet as a communication tool’, and picked up a few industry awards along the way. What I didn’t know is that Web2.0 and Social Networking has turned it from a communication tool to a collaboration tool, in which people ‘on the internet’ are no longer content to surf around the internet passively. They want, they click, they create.
So I started to think, what tools to they use when not at school? – and using the same ‘methods’ have slowly introduced a range of Web2.0 tools in the classroom (check the Bloglines link to the kids work).
Has it worked – hell yeah. The students achieve more in less time and the quality of the work is excellent – they love a challenge and rise to it again and again. Will I go back? No.
The suprise has been that this has lead me into meeting some GREAT and I mean innovative, creative, experienced, enthusiastic and driven teachers and administrators through Second Life. So much so that I was burning the midnight oil to get the ‘space’ built in time for Learnscope – with the help of Tobey Bostock, our Cert IV Trainee – whom make my life that much easier.
It seems a lot of these people are ‘in world’ in the early hours of the morning, though the conversation and enthusiasm levels are always high.
The ongoing project now is Skoolaborate (see other posts), and in doing that we had our first virtual meeting with the schools already in there. Wesley has everything well organised and a clear vision of the outcomes we can deliver for the students.
I asked a class this week – Who here plays 2D games at home (miniclip et al) – no one. Who plays immersive 3D? – all hands went up. So I am keen to expand on the experiences of people I have met so far to see how we can use TSL to engage students in global projects … it’s the same as a global wiki I guess, but this one is animated, 3D, user generated and fun. I am sure that the Learnscope journey will continue – though perhaps my peers are now made of pixels.
I struggle now to give headspace to anyone using technology in school who is not making at least some effort to go beyond Powerpoint and Word. Even worst those that instruct students to go to Google and type in some keyword, then they say, now go to the third site. ‘What does it say?’ they ask a student …
Learnscope did have some PD time, granted, but we’re talking a few days. Most of the PD involves meeting people, reading their blogs, seeing what they do and in most cases now, meeting that person in Jokaydia (Australia) or in the NMC (US) and discussing.
Its not Second Life, its more like Second Sight. Web2.0 is the beginning … and really if you can write and email, you can use it. The hard work has been done by others, so it’s easy to find links and ideas.
Given this has been a 6 month journey … I can see why students love it, and why when not using it they are bored. Anyone else go home and use Powerpoint or Word for fun?
Thanks to all who put on the show, esp Sean, Jo, Alex, Judy, Tobey, Melinda, Patrick, Angela, Jodie, Allan and all the other midnight pixel pushers. I look forward to more.