The Reform Symposium Conference

What a weekend! From Friday to Sunday, the Reform Symposium Conference was in full swing (apart from the scheduled breaks, of course). A truly international conference, it not only featured presenters and enjoyed participation from all over the world, the organisers planned it such that events started at convenient times for people all over the globe. That made a nice change from having to stay up half the night to catch every session!

The Reform Symposium

Unfortunately, I was able to attend only a few sessions, because a malignant Fate, to use a phrase much-loved by Dornford Yates, decreed that my plans to work on Monday and Tuesday had to be brought forward to Sunday instead. The sessions I did attend were interesting. I especially liked one by Nicholas Provenzano called Everything I Learned About Tech Integration I Learned From Movies. I had to leave part of the way through, but it looked like an innovative approach to talking about educational technology, taking quotations from films and applying them in a new context.

Lisa Dabbs and Joan Young gave a practical talk called New Teacher Survival Kit, which I think should be essential viewing for anyone working with new teachers. I was slightly concerned when the whole focus seemed to be on being positive in a positive kind of way. What I mean is, I sometimes think that the most positive thing you can do is tell someone they’re mistaken, and in my experience there are some people who don’t get the key message if you package it up with lots of nice fluffy compliments. So I was pleased that Joan’s response, when I raised it as an issue, was to pretty much agree.

Steve Hargadon opened the conference with an interesting keynote about social media in education, and this was followed by a talk by George Couros called Identity Day: Revealing the Passions of Our Students, which basically said that in order to teach effectively you have to know your students. Absolutely. Teaching, like business and any other human transaction, is ultimately based on relationships.

I was honoured to have been invited to give a keynote, and spoke about using a project management approach to introducing Web 2.0 into your classroom.

The sessions were all recorded, and should eventually be available for viewing – some are there already, but others may take around a week. Go here for the schedule, and click on the link in the column called Webinar Link for the session you wish to view. I intend to look at all of them.

Top marks to the organisers Shelly Terrell, Christopher Rogers, Jason Bedell and Kelly Tenkely and their team of moderators for their tireless efforts, advanced planning and attention to detail. The odd glitch was handled deftly and virtually without anyone noticing. I was especially gratified when Phil Hart got my slides going despite some horrible error messages I kept getting whilst trying to upload the PowerPoint. Thanks also to my friend Peggy George, who took time out to show me some of the functionality of Elluminate, as it had been a while since I’d used it.

Finally, it was a nice touch to give presenters a certificate. You can see mine here.

My Certificate of presentation

Remember: check out the presentations! Whilst looking at them, think about whether they could be useful for you when running a CPD session. Don’t ignore the chat window: as is often the case, what’s going on in the chat is an interesting complement to the presentation proper.