BectaX

Taken by Ian Usher

BectaX is a one day conference which will congregate the very best thinkers and doers from education, digital media and policy. Together they will find pragmatic solutions to aid the transition towards 21st Century schools in a connected world

I have wanted to write this post for a few days, but our busy working and personal lives means that I finally get to write my reflections on Sunday evening, 10:43pm. This is my personal space/time, my after teaching / teacher marking and school business time, husband, father and family time. Consequently, until now, I have read three blog post on my Mobile RSS reader, listened to the post BectaX hum on Twitter, seen the BectaX Wordle and taken part in the discussion that followed Dai Barnes post. I have tried to see BectaX from more than my own perspective and here are my conclusions, drawing heavily from the discussions on Dai’s blog.

First to add to the first, poorly written first comment on Dai’s post.

I did feel let down on two fronts @ BectaX; a) BectaX unconsciously reverted to looking at the NOW senario rather than at the what could be. b) Did we hear loud and clear from the learners? I respect the efforts made. But did were really hear them, more importantly did we listen? Review the tweets – I felt many teachers in the audience we urging for a more effective way to engage with the learners.

From reading around the blogs and tweets, the first may well be justified, the second, perhaps biased towards my own view point, that of being a teacher.

Next, I wanted to give Terry Freedmans comment,

Just out of interest, what does your gut feeling tell you about the usefulness of the day?

Time is a hugely valuable resource. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the event a 6:30am start, home for 8:30pm, represents a considerably school / personal investment. As yet I am unsure whether BectaX delivered on value / time invested. Those who experienced the event remotely seem to have experienced a similar BectaX to those attending in person, (I recognise that this is a backhanded compliment as well as a personal observation). The speed meeting activity and small workshops, the opportunities to reinforce existing online professional connections and identifying new contacts was valuable. If just two of the four new connections bear fruit, then this will add value to BectaX. It may even tip the balance in favour of BectaX, we will have to wait and see….

As to Ewan’s point of responsibility.

I do worry, though, that folk seem to think the onus is on Becta (or worse still, on that one day event) to sort out the present or even the issues of five year’s time.

Steering the best use of education technology is an unwieldy task and I am ‘green’ in my understanding of policy making – however does Becta not shoulder a large slice of responsibility here? In my short experience in schools I have come to perceive Becta as the piano maker rather than the piano tuner? What I do respect was the efforts to redefine government consultation exercises. Will BectaX update delegates? They should at least attempt to.

Now, perhaps a more personal viewpoint on responsibility. Like Dai, I feel that I have personally invested and worked hard to development my PLN. I have had minimal help from Becta, my employer, my school or any education affiliated group. Ironically, the reason I attended BectaX was due to a recommendation from Mr Stucke, who until 4 weeks ago I had only ever corresponded with and collaborated with online. The point is this, there is a small growing, guerilla edu-network born out of early adopters and enthusiasts and BectaX see them as a valuable allies. No mention of 21st century learners or classrooms here Ewan, just the need to evaluate and define where we are NOW and then to conceive where technology will enable us to go.

My finally point, we need learners involved in this process. In the final presentations of the day we discussed a concept called Schoogle. A place where school and Google meets. It was recommended that ‘Schoogle’ should in fact be copyrights. I was bold enough to say that Hamble College had the domain name. By the end of the presentation, ‘Schoogle’ had in fact been purchased and was proudly announced as under Copyright. My point – Hamble College Student Voice also conceived the same idea for our VLE – only the students asked us to purchase ‘Skoogle.’