ACAL and ACTA Exchanging ways of being.


A few weeks ago (7th-11th April 2016) I went to a great conference! The “Diversity: exchanging ways of being” Conference was jointly organised by the “Australian Council for Adult Literacy” (ACAL) and the “Australian Council of TESOL Associations” (ACTA) with the local host organisations being the “WA Adult Literacy Council” (WAALC) and the “Westralian Association for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages” (WATESOL). It was fantastic to have so many LLN oriented people all together in one place, fabulous sessions and incredible networking!


As always after conferences/events whether face-to-face or online I like to let my personal dust settle a little before I post my thoughts and reflections on the event. Now a few weeks later it feels like the right time to post!

I rarely attend face-to-face conferences – our own annual local WA Adult Literacy Council Conference being the only one I have attended for many years. There are several reasons for this:

  • I live in regional Western Australia, not too far from Perth but a long way from the Eastern states of Australia and the rest of the world so most conferences are not easy to get to;
  • I loathe flying – being both claustrophobic and not very good at heights – I find it frightening and stressful and it leaves me useless for a couple of days afterwards;
  • Large International conferences are expensive – I work in the public vocational education and training sector and my organisation has only limited funds available for professional development/conferences.

I do find it frustrating that with the multiple streams available in large conferences there are always so many sessions that I can’t attend! Online conferences by contrast usually record sessions so it is possible to catch up with any of particular interest later.

The Conference

I am just so delighted that I had the opportunity not just to attend the conference but also to present a workshop.

The buzz of all those LLN people gathered in one place was phenomenal and very exciting. Strictly it was two places – because sessions were in two Perth hotels just across a street from one another. However the need to move between buildings didn’t prevent the conference running (at least as far as I saw) extremely smoothly throughout, thanks to the efforts of the organisers.

The sessions I attended were all excellent and the Keynotes were outstanding. For me this conference “walked the talk” of “exchanging ways of being”. I think that combining the ACAL and ACTA conferences provided exceptional opportunities for networking and “cross pollination” of ideas and is something the two organisations should consider again, perhaps more regularly, in the future

The only downside for me was all those sessions I would love to have attended but couldn’t because they were concurrent with something else! In my opinion this is a huge and intractable problem with all major conferences. While providing concurrent sessions is a terrific way of catering for varied interests, it does also mean often being unable to attend everything that is relevant. Possible options for large conferences might include adopting some of the practices used in online conferences such as recording of some sessions so that they can be made available afterwards as videocasts or similar.

My own session

I deliver quite a lot of presentations/workshops on using technologies for facilitating learning to colleagues. This is in my own organisation, more widely in WA and Australia and also globally. Most of these in the last 10 years (with the exception of my own organisation and our WA Adult Literacy Council Conference) have been online. In all of these sessions (face-to-face and online I strive to use interaction and activities to keep the content interesting and illustrate the engagement potential of using technology as an adjunct to learning.

There were no computers available at the conference venue for session participants so I needed to make activities feasible for a “Bring your own device” (BYOD) context. A big challenge for me as in the majority of my past face-to-face sessions the participants were using desktop computers that all had the same operating system (ie Windows) and online they were mostly using their own familiar desktops or laptops rather than mobile devices. This made it relatively easy to be sure that everyone would be able to access the same tools, that we were exploring and using in the session. In this session we had a mixture of mobile phones and tablets and Android and iOS – some of the tools I use regularly with students are not compatible with one or more of these others need an installed app to work. So it was important to have illustrations of usage in my slides to minimise the frustrations felt by those who couldn’t easily access the tools via their device.

A further challenge for me was that I wanted the session to do two things: illustrate and provide opportunities for participants to extend their PLNs (ie exchange their own ways of being), and also introduce and explore some “tech” tools that could be used with students to facilitate them in exchanging their own ways of being.

My sessions always include a lot of link sharing – online this is very easy as links can usually be shared in chat boxes and/or on whiteboards. Not so easy in a face-to-face environment! However I have developed an approach that seems to work well – I put all the links I will need to share on a blog page – in this case ACAL/ACTA Conference 2016 – with some narrative, and then create a customised “” link for that page so that people can easily type it into their device.

Integrating PLN development with tool sharing seemed to work very well. A lot of participants joined our FSTeach Facebook Group during the session and some tweeted with the #tag #FSTeach.

As is my wont in PD sessions I used a variety of tools and activities to encourage participation including online polling, online sticky notes and social media. I have posted the slides in Slideshare, and links to the tools and to the sticky not canvases are on the blog page ACAL/ACTA Conference 2016.

I really enjoyed doing this session – despite being quite nervous and apprehensive about whether the strategies I had planned would work. The participants were wonderful – so supportive throughout and happy and enthusiastic about engaging with the technologies. The two hours flew by and before I knew it the session was over!


When I was completing my workbased Adult Ed teaching qualification  in the UK over 25 years ago one of our lecturers was always telling us to “take risks” – she gave us a list of strategies and said we should try them all. I felt unhappy with this – my students were studying for national exams and I was unwilling to take risks with their learning. However when I looked at the list I had already used almost all of them! My whole life in teaching seems to have been about trying different things, or the same things in different ways. Always seeking to keep it interesting and to challenge students to get involved in their own learning. I try to do this ie “walk my own talk” in PD and conference presentations as well. For me this is particularly important, with respect to technology, and using the technology to support the learning – not as an end in itself. However, having said that, with the continually increasing significance of digital skills and digital literacy for future workplaces using the technology effectively, safely and critically is itself becoming one of the objectives!

I would love to see your thoughts (comments):

  • on the session – if you were there!
  • on the blog page and slideshare
  • on “taking risks”
  • on the increasing importance of digital skills and digital literacy to foundation skills/literacy/language/numeracy teaching.


30 Goals Conference – Bouncing back!


Last weekend I was involved (thanks to Shelly Sanchez Terrell) in an online conference for the first time in about 3 years. Shelly has been part of my PLN since 2009 and we met face-to-face for the first time in early June this year when Shelly came to Australia for a conference and was able to take a few days out to stay with us in Western Australia. We talked continuously for the whole time – including about resilience which ended up being the topic for my Keynote at the “30 Goals Free E-Conference

This post is about the experience of planning and presenting a Keynote “Bouncing back! Resilience and survival as an educator.” for the “30 Goals Free E-Conference” through Google Hangout On Air – a new conference platform for me. You can catch the full presentation and the associated textchat through my profile page on the 30Goals website

Planning and preparing

I approached this presentation with some trepidation for several reasons:

  • The length of time available for the session – I have never done a session as short as this (20 minutes speaking, plus ten minutes questions/comment) at a conference before, although I have done a couple of PechaKucha style clips. My sessions are mostly workshops and tend to be a minimum of an hour and often rather longer.
  • The topic was much more philosophically based than my usual ones which tend to be very practice and/or theory into practice oriented.
  • Although I have used Google Hangouts a few times, Google Hangout On Air was completely new to me. So I had no idea how to make it work for my presentation style which is very interactive.
  • I was worried about connection dropout – in my experience Google Hangouts are very bandwidth heavy and I live in a “bandwidth challenged” area
  • I am totally spoilt in that I have mostly been using BlackboardCollaborate (BbC) – in my opinion one of the best platforms – for online presentations and workshops, although I have also recently used Skype.
  • It’s around 3 years since I took part in a totally online conference and I am not doing regular webinars at the moment so I was definitely feeling a bit “rusty”!

Resilience is something I am very aware of – in the educator community, the community I live in and to some extent in myself. I did feel that it was a bit presumptuous of me to talk about it in a global presentation. However once having submitted a title there was no going back! It did take me a long time to prepare the presentation – a lot of thinking and reflecting, and also a lot of time actually putting the words and slides together. For the first time in years I actually wrote down (or at least typed) what I planned to talk about – usually I have just key points or reminders of practical issues. I also tried to make sure I didn’t have excessive amounts of text on slides – having worked so much in BbC and in presenting practical workshops I tend to have more text than I would use in face-to-face and/or purely presentation contexts. Luckily living in rural Western Australia I have an excellent resilience analogy to hand in our native bush which “bounces back” amazingly from severe bush fire events.

Bush resilience 500px

The other thing that exercised my mind during preparation was how to incorporate some interaction. I knew we would have ChatWING but wasn’t sure how easily I would be able to monitor the chat and anyway I really prefer more interaction than just chat. Eventually I decided to use two LinoIt canvases and ask for people to add “stickies”.

The session

Thank you Shelly, Jake and Judy for the huge support before and during the session! You all helped me to feel more confident. After a great introduction from Shelly I was launched on the uncharted waters of “Hangout On Air”.

It certainly felt strange to start with to be talking to an unknown number of people and without the  feedback (through emoticons, chat and audio) that I am able to get when using BbC. Having ChatWING certainly helped to some extent but I felt peculiarly detached from my audience because:

  • I had no idea how many of them were listening/watching
  • I didn’t know who they were
  • I couldn’t tell if I was holding the attention of all, any or none (no body language as in face-to-face or emoticons/audio etc as in BbC)

On the whole I think the session went quite well. I was happy with my slides (now uploaded to Slideshare – although not very useful without the audio) and how I synchronised them with what I was saying. I only had two that were just text, being bullet points about which I spoke in some detail.  I was pleased that I had done my usual things of trying to include interaction and pushing the boundaries in order to do so by using the LinoIt canvases. Including interaction in a very short session was challenging both for me and for participants. I was so delighted that it worked to some extent with some comments being added during the session even though there wasn’t really time to discuss the comments.

I have included the two LinoIt canvases here and would love more “stickies” to be added. The first canvas “Challenges” asks you to add your educator challenges.

The second canvas “Being resilient” asks for your own personal tips on being resilient.
There were inevitably some glitches! That panic moment when bandwidth won and I was dropped out of the session – however I was half expecting that to happen and so I managed to reconnect very quickly. Also I think (although I am not sure) that I got in a muddle with my two LinoIt canvases and gave the second link first.


One of the things that this conference has done for me is to nudge me into reconnecting globally again. This year I have not been doing as much teaching as in the past and have been focussing on doing some LMS e-learning development for my orgnisation and on facilitating colleagues (both in my organisation and across Australia) in using e-tools and social media for professional development and working with students. On a personal basis – I am still recovering from illness last year and am also concerned with a threat to my home community from mining. These factors have led me to look inward rather than outward as is more usual for me. However I am beginning to feel the “outward urge” again and hear the “wild geese calling” me to the wider world.

Many webinars – recording links


A catch-up of the recording links for  our webinars over the last few months.

Fine Focus (13/14 March 2014) – “Lucky Dip”

In this recorded session we discussed where we find interesting links and explored a few that have come up recently

Serendipity 20/21 March 2014

In this recorded Serendipity session we briefly discussed and explored several topics;

  • the upcoming #RSCON mini-conference
  • Thinglink
  • Stocking up tablets with “goodies”

Fine Focus (27/28 March 2014) – “Inkscape – a graphics tool”

recorded session  in which we explored some of the features of Inkscape.

Serendipity 2/3 April 2014

In this recorded Serendipity session we briefly discussed and explored the following:

  • “” as a tool for self-publicising
  • Risks of having your online “identity” hijacked
  • Curing “writer’s block”

Fine Focus (9/10 April 2014) – “Tablet apps for learning”

recorded session  in which we shared and discussed some tablet apps that may be used for learning

Serendipity 23/24 April 2014

In this recorded session we looked at the following two topics chosen by poll from several suggested by participants:

  • “How to improve relations with parents)
  • “Benefits of being a blog follower”

Fine Focus (30 April/1 May 2014) – “Museums online”

recorded session  in which we explored and discussed some of the wealth of resources available online from major museums.

Serendipity 7/8 May 2014

In this recorded Serendipity session we briefly discussed and explored three topics:

  • Using “” why and how
  • Educator evaluations
  • Recording a holiday/tour

Fine Focus (14/15 May 2014) – “One page to tell about giftedness”

In this recorded session  Jo Freitag (@jofrei) talked with us about some of the characteristics of “giftedness” and shared many resources for educators working with gifted learners.

Serendipity 21/22 May 2014

In this recorded Serendipity session we briefly digressed into sharing some of the highlights of our (@JoHart and @philhart)  road trip from WA to South Australia. We also discussed the following two topics:

  • Our most important sites to visit each day!
  • The importance of play in learning

Fine Focus (28/29 May 2014) – “The Benefits of Learning to Code”

This recorded session  was led by Phil Hart (@philhart). Phil has extensive experience in coding (as a long term IT consultant, systems analyst and software developer) and is also an educator and so is well placed to recognise and share the characteristics of coding as a discipline.

Serendipity 4/5 June 2014

This recorded Serendipity session was wide ranging and we touched on a variety of topics including: what an online toolkit looks like, some potential future topics for FineFocus sessions and what makes a good picture.

Fine Focus (11/12 June 2014) – “Fun sites for learning”

In this recorded session  we took a look  at some sites that might be described as “gamefied” and so could be engaging for students to access for learning purposes.

Serendipity 18/19 June 2014

This Serendipity session was a general chat including an update from one of our regular participants on some recent PD, how we review and reflect mid-year, celebrations/parties with students and “Serendipity block” – like writers’ block but when yu can’t think of a Serendipity topic 🙂


Once again I am finally up to date with posting webinar links. Sorry again for the short session descriptions.

Our Next Webinar

SerendipitybsmallOur next webinar will be an Edublogs “Serendipity” session on Thursday July 3 rd at 23:00 GMT/UTC (Afternoon/Evening USA) or Friday July 4th at 7:00 am West Aus, later in the  morning Eastern States Aus depending on your timezone (check yours here) – in the usual BlackboardCollaborate room. This is one of our fortnightly unconference sessions where we invite you to bring along your “hot topics” and “burning issues”. We post these on the whiteboard and then choose the topic for discussion by poll.

Edublogs webinar overviews – Feb 2014


A digest of  our recent webinars over the last few weeks. I am still hoping/planning to return to posting a fuller overview or each webinar every week.

Fine Focus (13/14 Feb 2014) – “Columbus Cheetah Myth Buster Part 2”

This was a fascinating, and very interactive, recorded session (the second of two). In the session @jofrei continued to share and discuss with us some of the myths about giftedness. Jo has recently posted a series about busting the myths on “Sprite’s Site”.

Serendipity 20/21 Feb 2014

In this recorded Serendipity session we discussed and explored:

  • the upcoming #OZeLive online conference, including some of the logistics, moderator roles and communication strategies through the Australia e-series Ning
  • some of the BlackboardCollaborate tools available to moderators and their potential usefulness for volunteer moderators at OZeLive.

Fine Focus (27/28 Feb 2014) – “Are ‘cheap’ tablets worthwhile for use in class”

This week’s very different style of recorded session was a look at some of the pros/cons and possible uses for cheap tablets in the classroom.  The session was facilitated by @philhart who reviewed a relatively cheap (AU$120) Android tablet and shared his thoughts throughout. This provided a “great” hook for discussion and enabled him to explore the practicalities of the device in response to points raised by participants.

During the session there were also a number of ideas for classroom use discussed (particularly in a Kindergarten environment). We also briefly touched on some of the pros and cons of Android versus iPad for the teacher during which I shared my iPad screen through AirServer and AppShare.

The consensus was that with careful research into the features provided there is lots of potential for using relatively cheap devices in a classroom environment to enable students to undertake varied activities. This was a totally fascinating session and is well worth catching the recording because of the very different style of session compared to our usual FineFocus.


Once again I am finally up to date with posting webinar links. Sorry again for the short session descriptions.

Our Next Webinar

SerendipitybsmallOur next webinar will be an Edublogs “Serendipity” session on Thursday March 6th at 23:00 GMT/UTC (Afternoon/Evening USA) or Friday March 7th at 7:00 am West Aus, later in the  morning Eastern States Aus depending on your timezone (check yours here) – in the usual BlackboardCollaborate room. This is one of our fortnightly unconference sessions where we invite you to bring along your “hot topics” and “burning issues”. We post these on the whiteboard and then choose the topic for discussion by poll.



Edublogs webinar overviews Oct 2013


Still running behind on webinar overviews. A digest of  our recent webinars over the last few weeks.

Fine Focus – Presenting with Blackboard Collaborate

As always this session was recorded. The session was our last webinar before the Reform Symposium Online Conference #RSCON #RSCON4 and so we decided to provide a further training/practise/question and answer opportunity for presenters/volunteers.

Serendipity 17/18 Oct 2013

In this recorded Serendipity session we talked about the recent Reform Symposium Conference #RSCON #RSCON4. We were a small group and all of us had had some involvement as participants or presenter/volunteer/organiser, so the session provided an opportunity for us to share our thoughts, reflections and ideas.

Fine Focus – “Tech Smackdown”

This was another recorded session the intention was a quick tech smackdown type share of some favourite tools/applications that save time or that we use with students but we ended up discussing a variety of: tried and tested tools, some previously used with students and some new that we plan to try. All in all a great session with many shared links.

Serendipity 31 Oct/1 Nov 2013

In this recorded Serendipity session our chosen topic was “Blended Learning”. We started with a discussion on our understanding of the term blended learning, moved on to share tools that have been part of our best blended learning experiences, considered some of the advantages, and ended with a brief look at how/why we choose tools and strategies for blended learning.


Once again I am finally up to date with posting webinar links. Sorry again for the short session descriptions.

Our Next Webinar

FineFocusSmallOur next webinar will be an Edublogs “FineFocus” session on Thursday Nov 7th at 23:00 GMT/UTC (Afternoon/Evening USA) or Friday Nov 8th at 7am West Aus, later in the  morning Eastern States Aus depending on your timezone (check yours here) – in the usual BlackboardCollaborate room.

Getting ready for Reform Symposium Conference


I have been helping with Reform Symposium (#RSCON4) preparations, mostly with some training and ideas for presenters and moderators on using BlackboardCollaborate.

Some things work and some things don’t!

We all have our “wish lists” of what we would ideally like to do/like to have available when we present at conferences. It isn’t always possible/practicable to do exactly what we would like. Most venues will have some restrictions of some sort on our dreams.

Online venues may often appear more restrictive than the face-to-face environment. However they do often also have advantages, not least of which is the opportunity for people from around the globe to join sessions at no significant cost in time, travel and money. Enabling a global audience to participate does itself impose some restrictions – not everyone has access to fast Internet connections and if we truly want to be global in our reach we need to consider this when planning our presentations. BlackboardCollaborate is a very good platform to use as it is less bandwidth “heavy” than many alternatives and also has great tools for interactivity and audience participation that can be used without high bandwidth.

Despite the bandwidth advantages of using BlackboardCollaborate there are some applications it is better to avoid or use with great care when participants may face bandwidth challenges. One of these is using application share to present a Prezi.

No Prezi in BbCOthers are:

  • keeping your webcam live throughout – a few minutes at the beginning is usually OK;
  • multiple live microphones – better to restrict the permitted number of live microphones at any one time to one or perhaps two;
  • any rapid scrolling or change when application sharing;
  • using breakout rooms.

Those have evolved for me over several years of BbC experience in working with online students in regional Western Australia where we experience regular bandwidth challenges, but even so are far better served than many parts of the globe!


If you are presenting or moderating and have not yet had the opportunity for any training then join us on Thursday/Friday for one of our regular Edublogs FineFocus webinars (start time 23:00 UTC/GMT on Thursday 10th October – evening in the USA and Friday morning in Asia/Pacific) for a session aimed at helping presenters and moderators. This session is in our usual *Edublogs/BlackboardCollaborate Community Partnership room

*NB you cannot join this room from iPad or Android.




Recent Edublogs webinars Aug/Sept – summary


As has been the case for the last few months I have not been able to post overviews each week. So this one is a digest of  our webinars over the last few weeks.

Serendipity (1/2 Aug 2013)

This recorded session was a Serendipity session in which considered two topics. We brainstormed some way of enthusing teachers to use technology in class and then moved on to think of “5 minute fun fillers” not necessarily involving technology use.

Fine Focus – digital literacy in an adult ed curriculum

As always this session was recorded. The session was based around content from a recent webinar that I did for our Western Australian State Adult Literacy and Numeracy network. One of the main curricula used for Adult Literacy in WA has recently been re-accredited and now includes many references to digital literacy and digital texts. So I have been presenting a short series of webinars to help adult literacy teachers think about how they might come to grips with the new requirements.

Serendipity 14/15 aug 2013

In this recorded Serendipity session we took a look at supporting older people in using technology and learned about an exciting new free online course in teaching maths available through Stanford University. The course itself is now finished but is intended to re-run from March 2014 and resources from it are being made available on the “youcubed website”

Fine Focus – Playing in the Moderator Sandpit

This was another recorded session in which we took a look at some of the tools available to moderators that can be used to add interactivity to BlackboardCollaborate sessions

Serendipity 28/29 Aug 2013

In this recorded session in response to a participant question we took a look at blogging with a class of students, specifically how to get started in doing this with Edublogs.

Fine Focus – PLN? PLE? How have they changed

As always the session was recorded. We discussed and explored the terms PLN (Personal Learning Network) and PLE (Personal Learning Environment) and considered how these have changed for us as individuals over the last few years.

Serendipity 12/13 Sept 2013

In this recorded Serendipity session we looked at two topics. The first was a guided tour from @jofrei of a series of recent posts on her Sprite’s Site which followed the adventures of the Tweetlets during their Work Experience week at the Twitter Stream. Our second topic was a discussion of how we might be able to prepare training materials more efficiently.

Fine Focus – “This house is resolved …”

In this recorded session we did something a little different – I am always trying to come up with different formats and themes for Fine Focus sessions so that we don’t have “just a presentation” each week. So on this occasion I had been thinking about some of the controversial statements related teaching and learning with “e” and decided to present four of these for discussion. The four statements were:

  • Face-to-face conferences are a ‘has-been’
  • BYOD is a fad that wont last
  • You have to have a ‘maths brain’ to do maths
  • Qualifications are outdated, they should be replaced by digital portfolios

All four prompted lively discussion despite considerable agreement on each by the participants.

Serendipity 3/4 Oct 2013

There was no session on 26/27 September so Serendipity was a week later. In this recorded session we briefly discussed four topics:

  • We are Connected Educators. Anyone feeling the need to do more
  • What is involved in acting as a volunteer for the Reform Symposium (#RSCON4)
  • A success story from working for Broadband for Seniors
  • To share or not to share, how do you decide?


Once again I am finally up to date with posting webinar links. Sorry again for the short session descriptions.

Our Next Webinar

FineFocusSmallOur next webinar will be an Edublogs “FineFocus” session on Thursday Oct 10th at 23:00 GMT/UTC (Afternoon/Evening USA) or Friday Oct 2th at 7am West Aus, later in the  morning Eastern States Aus depending on your timezone (check yours here) – in the usual BlackboardCollaborate room. In this session we will look at moderator tools from the presenter and session facilitator perspective.

Edublogs Serendipity webinar overview – just a chat!


This recorded Serendipity session was really just a chat rather than a more formal session. There were only three of us so we just talked about the ideas we had on the whiteboard and digressed into other areas.

The session

The ideas on the whiteboard for this week were “Crowdfunding” and “Teaching basic numeracy in primary schools”. However we diverted into several other areas.

We only had a brief chat about each of the  topics this week. Just sharing some of our own thoughts and ideas about them rather than an in depth discussion about any one topic. We started with a heads-up from @jofrei on the recent conference of the Victorian Association for Gifted and Talented Children. Jo had not got links to hand at the time but later sent these – one specifically relating to the VAGTC EmpowerEd conference program. The second is a link to a white paper – New opportunities for the gifted and talented – directions paper

Our next flying visit was to the concept of crowdfunding – what it is and some potential issues around copyright and Creative Commons licensing that might arise with crowdfunding online projects.

Then we talked about the accessibility, or lack of accessibility, to outcomes from gifted education research. This being largely because such research is published mainly in journals that are expensive to access. The discussion expanded into comment on the pressure to publish now on academics.  We also diverged into issues around obtaining recognition (eg for blogs) and funding for projects in areas that are perceived as of interest only to minorities.

We finished with a short discussion about maths with particular reference to teaching in primary school and student confidence issues.


A slightly different Serendipity this week but still as always engaging and interesting!

Our Next Session

Our next Webinar is a FineFocus session. Join us on Thursday May 2nd at 23:00 GMT/UTC the time for you will vary depending on your timezone (check yours here) Thursday afternoon/evening in the USA, late night Thursday in Europe, and Friday morning May 3rd in Australia – in the usual Blackboard Collaborate virtual room.

Edublogs Serendipity webinar overview – cool tools and other things!


In this recorded Serendipity session our chosen topic was “cool new tools” – although this extended to cool tools, not necessarily new, that we use! We also decided to take a look at some of the other suggestions if time allowed.

The Session

We had some new tools shared and also some old favourites.


Always interesting to find out what everyone else is using and often even more interestingly HOW they are using it. We had a great conversation around these tools and how/why we use or in some cases don’t use them!

One of the best things about Serendipity is that we often look at more than just the one chosen topic. This gives people an opportunity to share briefly what is currently on their mind and get input from others. In this session we talked about the pressure imposed by assessment and reporting requirements, and an interesting sidelight on the need to translate a report into a parental first language. Yet another pressure that would not have existed 30 years ago! The topic of free live conferences was also discussed briefly – there are now many of these globally but not at the moment one that is at generally Australia friendly times. (Most of us in the session were Australia based).


A great session – Serendipity is always fun and enlightening!

Our Next Session

Our next Webinar is a FineFocus session. Join us for “Accessibility Standards?” in which we take a look at some of the issues around accessibility of e-learning content and some of the standards introduced to try and make it more accessible. Join us on Thursday April 4th at 23:00 GMT/UTC the time for you will vary depending on your timezone (check yours here) Thursday afternoon/evening in the USA, late night Thursday in Europe, and Friday morning April 5th in Australia – in the usual Blackboard Collaborate virtual room.

Edublogs Serendipity webinar overview – emerging tech et al


As has been the case a couple of times recently this was  a Serendipity session where we didn’t vote on a topic! The consensus was to take a quick look at all three that were proposed – “Emerging technologies for the classroom”, “Introduction to PLNs” and “rscon4” The last of these is a little cryptic. It refers to the Reform Symposium Conference for which a date has not yet been finalised. The hashtag seems likely to be #rscon4. The session was, as always, recorded.

(For the link for live webinars and info about the times and topics scroll to the bottom of this post)

The session

A lively session with much sharing on the whiteboard and in text chat, although I felt – as so often that I talked too much!

We began with a whiteboard of ideas about emerging technologies. 

Then shared our knowledge of those we had any experience with – my particular fascination out of this part of the session was with the concept of 3D printers. Something completely new to me & definitely out of the realms of science fiction! This was the longest part of the session.

Our next topic was “Introduction to PLNs”. Again we used a whiteboard to share our thoughts on the variety of tools and strategies we use as part of our own individual PLNs. Any discussion about PLNs is always worthwhile because there are always new thoughts and angles on how we each view them. This was a “flying visit” to the world of the PLN but sufficient to give a flavour!

Finally another “flying visit” this time to “#rscon4” this is actually the probable #tag for this year’s (or maybe early next year’s) – the date is yet to be finalised – Reform Symposium Conference. This was a very short chat as the planning for rscon4 is still in the early stages. However it seems it will be a very exciting event using multiple strands and platforms.


This was a great session – I always find something new and interesting to me personally in every session. However some stand out more than others and 3D printers are a definite standout for me. The whole idea is getting so close to Star Trek “replicators” that I can almost hope for “transporter beams” to enable me to travel without the claustrophobic “tin tube” experience of flying!

Our Next Session

Our next Webinar is an Edublogs “Fine Focus” session. This week Lisa Conrad (@ljconrad) – the Moderator of  the lively Twitterchat for Gifted and Talented (#gtchat) will give us a “heads up” on #gtchat and on moderating a #chat.  Join us on Thursday August 9th at 23:00 GMT/UTC the time for you will vary depending on your timezone (check yours here) Thursday afternoon/evening in the USA, late night Thursday in Europe, and Friday morning August 10th in Australia – in the usual Blackboard Collaborate virtual room.