“The methods that will most effectively minimize the ability of intruders to compromise information security are comprehensive user training and education. Enacting policies and procedures simply won't suffice. Even with oversight the policies and procedures may not be effective: my access to Motorola, Nokia, ATT, Sun depended upon the willingness of people to bypass policies and procedures that were in place for years before I compromised them successfully”
- Attributed to Kevin Mitnick
Disclosure: My attendance at EduTECH 2017 is through a media pass provided by the event organisers.
Friday. A day of rejoicing for teachers, and a day where the attendance at the afternoon sessions of a conference dwindle as people rush to make their planes and trains home. A day where you are often able to have good quality conversations with speakers after their sessions as the crowd numbers in the afternoons are lower. Friday at EduTECH 2017 for me will begin in the School Business Management congress with a panel discussion on facility management and sustainable resourcing. This promises to be an interesting start to the morning given the vast number of capital building projects I have seen going on at a wide range of schools this year across all sectors.
Following this, I will be moving to the IT Directors and Managers congress where Professor Richard Buckland of the School of Computer Science and Engineering at UNSW will be presenting on cyber-security and the challenges that school IT Directors and Managers face. There are many challenges in this area, not least of which is students who like to challenge themselves and see if they can beat the school defenses. Beyond that, there have been a wave of high profile cyber terrorist attacks this year (such as the WannaCry attack on the British NHS system reported here) and there has long been discussion of concerns around privacy of student data and the implementation of NAPLAN online.
In a complete thematic shift, the Future Library congress to hear Chelsea Wright speak on VR, AR, and the future of libraries is next on my timetable. This is an area of professional interest both as a teacher and as someone working for ClickView. I have toyed with AR in the classroom using Aurasma, and have heard a range of talks on the topic before (this one, for example) and while I can see potential for it as a genuine pedagogical tool, VR/AR is just not quite there yet; either in the resource and content or in the equity of access.
A mental health / writing break follows Chelsea and then it is the mid-morning break for networking before heading off to the Tertiary IT Leaders congress to hear Robert Livingstone speak on the topic of protecting data from accidental data breaches and (deliberate) cyber crime. There will be, I suspect, some parallels between this session and the earlier session with Richard Buckland and it will be very interesting to hear what advise crosses over the congress-divide and is common to both.
The final session before the lunch break will be spent in the IT Directors and Managers congress with Michael O'Leary speaking on the current trends in eLearning. Given the nature of ClickView, this session is of professional interest; however, as a teacher who has experimented with a range of eLearning and LMS arrangements over my teaching career, it will be very interesting to find out what is currently being viewed as best practice in this space.
Jared Cooney Horvath will be speaking about neuroscience and specifically, about what lessons can be taken from neuroscience and applied to education within the VET/RTO Leaders congress. I am particularly interested in this session as there has been a lot of conversation on social media in the last six months around whether or not neuroscience that has been pulled across into education does actually have a place in education or whether the results in the laboratory belong there. Given the abstract talks about memory and learning processes, I am very curious to hear where cognitive learning theory comes into play and the relationship that Jared sees it having with education.
Well-being and stress is next on my timetable, with a session presented by Dr. Caroline West as part of the Workplace Learning congress. This is a phenomenally important issue in education with the annual Australian Principal Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing Survey results released in February 2017 indicating that instances of sleeping problems, depression, burnout, and traumatic stress among the nearly two-thirds of all School Principals who responded, are all around double the incidence of the general population, with some research, noted in this document by the University of Western Australia, indicating that "[t]eachers report the highest level of occupational stress in Australia, the United Kingdom, and America." It is an area of great need and there is arguably an impact on student learning outcomes when they have highly stressed teachers. I very much look forward to hearing this presentation.
The final presentation before the closing plenary session will be in the K-12 Leaders congress with Professor Richard Telford speaking on about the cost to our children of the under-prioritisation of physical education. The abstract refers to randomised controlled trials, that holy grail of research methodology, and the evidence stemming from research of that nature. I do not think that there many teachers who would disagree that physical education receives less time than what it should, however, there are requirements to adhere to teaching times vis-a-vis how much time is dedicated to given subject areas (in NSW Government schools at least), and PE only receives two hours despite the purported health and academic benefits therein. This is another session that I am looking forward to as the growing issues around obesity are going to cause significant problems for our country's economy in the future unless we arrest the issue now.
The remaining sessions are back in the plenary setting with presentations from Philip Heath and Jan Owen AM. The title of Phillip's presentation, Darkingjung Barker: a lesson in closing the education gap, very much gives me the impression that there is a focus on Aboriginal education. I am intrigue to hear about this, particularly if there are meaningful strategies that can be taken away and applied in the classroom. I have attended a staff Professional Development workshop on Indigenous Craft and embedding Indigenous culture within the curriculum which was led by an Aboriginal woman and it was genuinely fantastic, one of the most engaging professional development sessions that I have attended. She made a comment which resonated with me that (paraprhasing) the feedback she hears is that many teachers do not engage with Aboriginal culture in the classroom because they are afraid; of getting their information wrong, of offending someone, of using the cultural knowledge inappropriately. This rings true for those with whom I have spoken to and, if I am being honest, my own feelings.
Closing out proceedings is Jan Owen AM on Embracing the New Work Order. Given that the title is the same as the presentation she delivered at FutureSchools earlier this year, I suspect it will be the same content. I have reviewed that presentation here, however, I will stay for the talk to ascertain if it is different.
After that, a train trip back to Gosford to see my wife and daughter and a weekend to recover from the tiring nature of EduTECH. I look forward to meeting up with you if you are going to be there (let me know on Twitter), and watch for the live-Tweeting from each session; it will, as always, fly thick and fast. I will endeavour to storify each block of sessions, as much for my own sanity as anything else, and I hope to get my articles written and published quickly while people are still talking about EduTECH.
If you have missed any of the articles in the EduTECH 2017 series, you can find the full list here.
Welcome back for another review of FutureSchools. In this article, I look back on the second session of day two at the conference, featuring Michael Ha and Kaye North. If you have missed the previous article, you can find it here. After the morning break, Michael Ha (@NerdyPhysEder), the E-Learning Leader at Newington College speaking on Drones in Ed: A practical guide for drones, droids, and robots. Michael began with a story, how own story, speaking about how he migrated from Hong Kong with his family at the age of nine years old. He struggled with the language and did not have as a young man what Joe Hockey now infamously laid out as the starting point for success.
Michael jumped forward in time and spoke about how at the time when drones were becoming commercially available, there was a trend in sports and physical education towards talking about game sense and that video recording of games was becoming relatively common, but that it was limited in its usefulness from the sideline at the typical elevation a coach (or PhysEd) teacher would find themselves during a PhysEd lesson). He pointed out that we typically watch sports on tv, and play them in computer games at an angle of approximately forty-five degrees, as that allows the viewer to gain a better perspective on the play and that drones opened up new opportunities in this area.
Michael spoke about the learning curve vis-a-vis combining controlling a drone with pedagogy, and that it was not particularly successful until he found a system that allowed the wearing of a tracking device which the drone would then simply follow, allowing for a top down view of what was happening and very explicit discussion about areas of opportunity, with the students able to see what was happening in a way that they cannot when they are standing on the sideline.
Michael spoke about the parrot drone and that it can be programmed using the Tickle App. He demonstrated how simple this was by asking for someone from the audience to come up, and then giving them about one minute of instruction in how to program the drone using the app. We watched the gentleman put in some simple commands and then we watched the drone take off, move around and then do this:
Michael spoke about there being a range of applications for drones across the curriculum, beyond the obvious ones in PhysEd, for example, within the English syllabus, you could record some footage which then forms a stimulus for a creative writing task.
Michael did note that there are some legalities involved with drones and that the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has been active in this area, updating the regulations around Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPAs) as recently as December 2015, but that there are still opportunities for the use of drones in education, depending on your location.
Following Michael was Kaye North (@KayeNorth1), a teacher from Maryborough State High School in Queensland who spoke under the title Create and Engage with Augmented Reality. This was something which, though not on my radar as a teacher, I was interested in hearing about, having heard Paul Hamilton (@PaulHamilton8) speak on the topic during FutureSchools2015.
Kaye opened with a brief explanation of the concept of Augmented Reality and gave some examples of AR applications including Quiver, Aurasma, Anatomy 4D, and Floodlines. Kaye then gave a demonstration of how Quiver worked, which excited a lot of people, who I can only presume had not seen it in action before, and spoke about the wide range of educational-based Quivers that are now available.
Kaye also spoke about an augmented reality app that has been put out by NASA, called Spacecraft 3D and that it allowed you to interact with various space vehicles as well as manipulate your perspective of them and then about Anatomy4D, which allowed you to overlay various systems in the human body.
Kaye closed by speaking about the use of Aurasma, combined with Tellegami to allow students to create one-page posters with embedded presentations to provide an alternative way of assessing students learning, with the possibilities for the use of augmented reality in the classroom being limited only by our imaginations.
It was nice to hear of a few new apps (Anatomy 4D, Spacecraft 3D), however, for me, there was nothing new vis-a-vis pedagogical practices or opportunities in this presentation. I feel like augmented reality does have some application within education, however, I personally do not see it as having a large scope. I am open to being proved wrong of course, and I know that Paul Hamilton has been working on some projects for a while, and it sounds like Kaye has some interesting things going on in her school as well.
Thank you for reading this (slightly) shorter article and as always, I would like to hear any feedback or thoughts on the ideas contained therein. The next article will focus on the presentations by Gavin Hays and Jill Margerson.
For links to all articles in this series, please click here.
The TED Talk phenomenon has been an incredible revelation over the last few years in spreading ideas across the world, particularly when coupled with YouTube as a content dissemination platform. This evening I watched a TEd Talk by Pranav Mistry from November 2009. The opening is a little dry, however the technology that is demonstrated, technology known as Sixth Sense Technology, is absolutely incredible.
The Sixth Sense augmentation technology makes use of some reasonably basic technologies, but it is the way in which the technologies, including a projector and a camera, are utilised that is revolutionary. Pranav explains the development of the technology, and thought dry, is quite interesting.
I include the video here for your perusal, and I would very much like to hear from anyone who has encountered or used this technology, particularly if you have done so in an educational context.
“Minecraft is not a game, it’s a toy.”
– Bron Stuckey
My alarm went off at 5.30am Tuesday morning, and I rolled out of bed, ready for the ninety minute train ride back down to the Australian Technology Park in Sydney. The structure of day two was slightly different. Session one was the same, with two presentations followed by a morning tea break. The session between morning tea and lunch, however, would consist of all the conference streams coming out from their conferences and taking part in a series of roundtables. Delegates had seventeen different roundtables to choose from, across three different thirty minutes slots. The round tables were followed by the lunch break, which led into session three consisting of two more presentations, the afternoon tea break, and then the final presentation of the conference.
After a welcome back for day from chairperson Sue Waters, the day began with the keynote presentation by Bron Stuckey titled Game Inspired Learning – how it offers us a chance to change the paradigm. Game inspired learning is a concept that I have heard discussed, under the banner of ‘gamification’ and I was curious to hear what it was all about, in more depth and from someone who has put the concept into practice.
Bron was very quick to break Game Infusions Learning down into three areas; game design, game-based and game inspired learning and to discuss the subtle difference between the three areas. Bron listed two distinct points for each of the types of game infusion learning.
Game design is about engagement through design, wherein students are involved in designing games as part of the curriculum. Game based learning is about engagement through game play, where games are brought into the curriculum. Game inspired learning, often termed gamification is about engagement that is guided by elements of, or as Bron termed them, ‘atoms’ of gaming being brought into the learning structures, where a gameful approach to the curriculum is mapped out.
Bron provided some examples of applying ‘game atoms’ (game-inspired learning) to non-game situations, which you can see below.
Bron also provided some examples of Game based learning, where game attributes are brought into the curriculum. Two of the examples Bron mentioned were Murder Under the Microscope and Atlantis Remixed, both of which feature a variety of game attributes (including narratives, avatars, levelling, economy, cascading information, feedback, prizes/badges/points, virtual goods, friending) and are game inspired ways of learning curriculum concepts and skills.
There were a number of other game inspired platforms mentioned, including Duolingo, Race to the White House, Undergrad Life run by the Rochester Institute of Technology, and a degree that has been structured using game-inspired principles run by Concordia university, as well as a game-inspired professional development platform and 3D GameLab. Bron also stressed that being game-inspired is not necessarily synonymous with being digital. If game attributes are applied to a learning context, then it does not matter whether it is being done in the digital environment, or in the real environment.
Bron then moved onto the question that I suspect most people were wanting the answer, or at least some insight, to; how to get started. Bron listed four signals types that may indicate a benefit from utilising a game infusion approach, which you can see below.
If any of those four signals are present, then utilising game-design, game-inspired or game-based learning may be a viable and productive option. There are, of course, some potential pitfalls to be aware of. At the end of the day, you arenot building an actual game, you are creating a learning environment with some atoms or attributes of gaming, so it does not need to look and feel like a game necessarily. A few strategies that Bron has noticed increase the chances of successfully implementing game-inspired learning being a gamer yourself (I have that box ticked), leveraging your students current knowledge as to what they like in a game, and utilising platforms such as 3D GameLab to help build the learning structure.
My key learning from hearing Bron speak was that game inspired learning as not as daunting is it sounded or felt, and that in many ways, many of us are likely already utilising some elements of gaming in much of our pedagogical techniques.
“You don’t start the creation of a new amazing building with a tool. You start with a design. So why on earth would you start the creation of an amazing learning experience with an app?”
Following on from Bron, was Paul Hamilton, with a presentation titled Augmented Reality in Education. I had had no experience at all with AR prior to hearing Paul talk, but what he showed me left me somewhat curious. I think that AR holds some potential, but that you would need a significant amount of professional development to effectively implement it.
Paul was quick to differentiate AR and VR from each other. Where VR is immersion in a different, a virtual world, AR is augmenting what we see, by adding an additional layer over the top. Paul showed us an example of what this can look like, via a video, which I have found on youtube and you can see below.
Afterwards, Paul discussed his first efforts to utilise AR, and that it was a complete flop. It had no impact because the lesson had been designed around the tool – the iPad and AR, rather than around the learning goal, and that Paul indicated that was something of a Eureka moment for him. Paul believes that we, as teachers, are creators and designers of learning and that when we design a learning experience around an app, that we negate all of our training.
Paul indicated that he also utilises QR codes as part of the AR process as these are easier for students to utilise than hyperlinks written on a board, but that anecdotal evidence indicates greater learning retention and application from utilising the AR as opposed to the QR codes. Paul also listed some of the apps that he recommends using for AR planning and programming, including Aurasma, Daqri, Layar and Blippar, as well as plugged his book, Augmented Reality in Education, which is available, free, in the iBookstore.
The biggest key to success, according to Paul, was having a strong and genuine connection between the object of learning and the trigger. Paul believes that this is critical to a successful implementation of AR in education, and it does make sense. We say that learning must be genuine and authentic and significant to learners, and it is logical to apply this same thinking to the utilisation of any technologies in an educational setting.
The next article will cover the Breakout and Round table sessions, which went until lunch, and maybe some observations from the expo itself. Thank you for reading, and as always, please leave a comment. I’d particularly love to hear if anyone has any experience with AR and/or Minecraft in the classroom.
See here for the list of articles in this series.