I can’t possibly recount all the learning that happened on Thursday and Friday last week when a few hundred ICT managers, school leaders and teachers met at the National Convention Centre in Canberra to attend the “Stay Agile” 9th Annual AIS ICT Manager and Leadership Conference. It was wonderful to meet members of my Twitter PLN in the flesh, to continue our never-ending discussions and debates over the many issues facing education today. Though I do feel a bit distracted from time to time, conferences give people a chance to…well…confer… on a range of issues. I don’t like sitting passively listening, which is why I appreciated some of the more dynamic workshops provided. Instead of trying to encapsulate everything that happened, I’ll make a few preachy comments then provide you with a link to the tweet stream!

This post is about two things: 1) the power of ideas and 2) the power of social media.

On the first, the presentations and workshops were all new to me be it in style, speaker or content. Though I know many of the audience had been to several of these events in the past, for me it was an interesting look into the world of IT Managers: their aims, concerns, skills and knowledge. I think more teachers should get along to this event so that we can try to bridge the gap between those who are technical masters of IT and those who try to adopt it for pedagogical purposes.

As you will see in the tweet stream embedded below via Storify, there were significant and challenging ideas that many in the audience took on board. Whether they agreed with them or not is another matter – but that’s part of the fun.

On the second point, Twitter was included in the conference app (a very useful thing! all information live and able to be changed at a moments notice, self-scheduling sessions etc) but I feel was under-utilised. For those not at the conference and those present but in different spaces (during workshops, for example) the nuggets of wisdom being shared by the speakers and workshop leaders was accessible. Though somewhat out of context and limited in depth, at least we could record and share the learning that was going on. It was interesting to note that so many in the audience were taking notes with an ipad or other mobile device and yet most were doing so in a notebook-style app, not sharing their ideas beyond the machine itself.

I would like to suggest to all conference organisers that you make it a matter of course to establish not only a hashtag for the event, but also:

1. Promote the hashtag on materials for the event and start each day with a reminder of the hashtag in opening addresses

2. Have a Twitter kiosk where a member/participant/expert can help educators join twitter and get started with sharing and connecting

3. Each room should have at least one Twitter user who is willing to be the digital scribe for the event

4. Questions, links and other ideas can be broadcast by the organisers through the hashtag to promote discussion and debate

I learnt many things at the conference, and below is the tweet stream that includes many (MANY) tweets from yours truly. I had to apologise to a few people for “eduspam” but I think it was necessary.

http://storify.com/mesterman/stay-agile-technology-in-schools

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