Steve Braunias, a keynote speaker, gently mocked the inoffensive little pun in the title of the NZ English teachers’ conference last week – but we WERE ‘enthusENG’, and for many of us, the focus was elearning.
Workshops ranged from using Digistore for planning to exploiting creative affordances for presentational tools to support the teaching of multi-media texts.
But one of the most startling, oft-commented-upon aspects – and it really shouldn’t be – was that the venue was able to provide hassle-free connection, hassle-free technology, whip-smart students to address the few problems that arose and fast-as-you-would-wish-for broadband. Christs’ College (as shot on my other blog) is also a Mac school (something that this author was most grateful for).
The connection and easy use of technology should not be remarkable – but it is. Many teachers and presenters know well the feeling of planning for a workshop or lesson, with almost near certainty that there will be a technological glitch. We make back-ups, prep offline versions, prepare handouts and get ready to wing it, preying to the tech-gods that all will be well.
So it was an absolute pleasure to be at Christs’. A well-resourced school it may be (and some would say that they can, of course, afford to provide such resources) but this should be an expectation that all schools should have.
Introducing the government’s broadband initiative, and the National Education Network (NZ). It may bring a handful of false dawns (for after all, schools still need to provide the gear, the support, the infrastructure, the effective teaching and learning…) but it should be a step in the direction of ubiquity and invisible technology.
Image source: Techiesouls, ‘Blue Computer Speed’