Meet Lafayette

Lafayette is a small and curious elephant from metro Detroit and the brain child of Amanda and Brad Davies.  He travels around the world meeting famous people, trying exciting foods and learning about culture and architecture in all the cities he visits around the world.   Each year Leigh writes a book and shares his adventures with nieces, nephews and friends.

Learning Without Frontiers London 2011 (#lwf11)

I learned about Learning Without Frontiers (hashtag #LWF11) last year via Twitter. I wish there was a magic button I could press to trace back who tipped me off, but unfortunately cannot remember. Once I found out abut the conference and movement, as any good PLN gardener would do, I started following Graham Brown-Martin (@GrahamBM) I immediately wanted to be a part of what was happening and asked Graham how I could help. He hooked me up with Steve Wheeler (@timbuckteeth)Mark Van Hoof’t (@dutchboyinohio) and John Traxler (@johntraxler)

Sunday Service

What a day. I get so worked up over experiences like this – the free, open access to ideas and the inclusion of kids and parents. The student Y factor was a highlight for me, in addition to being introduced to Jason Bradbury, what a dynamic guy. Can’t wait to read the Dot Robot books.

I was also so excited I could experience the day with one of my own students! Patricia came all the way over from Germany to attend the conference on Sunday. We had a great time geeking it up and being inspired by the presentations and scheming for the coming summer :)
Breakfast at Fifteen with Patricia

Edupunk (part of Sunday Service)
Do we look like #edupunks? Me (@gravesle) and @timbuckteeth (aka Steve Wheeler)

I finally had the chance to meet the infamous @timbuckteeth – what a pleasure. I think we got along quite nicely and provided participants with a hint of what EDUPUNK is all about. We were such punks we planned our session over (delicious) coffee just a few hours before our session I’ll refine the quickfire if we do this again in the future, but I think it was a nice contrast to just sitting and listening and gave everyone the opportunity to leverage the gobs of technology surrounding us. Twitter feedback also suggested we move away from the audience texting responses — I think this is an excellent suggestion. Steve and I joked that we would subvert audience response tools by asking people to raise their hands – we should have done it ;)

The conference

Monday & Tuesday sessions: I think the highlight for me was the opening session on Monday. I had the opportunity to see Karen Cater speak to a smaller group back in October and was excited to see what she would say at an international forum. Her appearance at LWF even made the Huffington Post!  Engaging with fellow participants gave me the opportunity to open a dialogue with many the UK teachers I met.  In my 2 year absence from visiting the UK, a lot has changed. I was (wrongly) under the assumption that the UK was forward thinking in their implementation and use of ed tech in schools. I was able to briefly scratch the surface of some of the issues facing UK schools right now. (I’m very curious to see how if this will arise at the upcoming iNET conference happening at MSU in February.)

Additionally, I was “disrupted” by Evan Roth – – I put disruptive in quotes because it really did challenge some social norms that I’m used to (swearing) but, at times wish I had the courage to break free from.  Take time to dig deep into Evan’s work, he’s shaking things up in very meaningful ways.

Mobile Learning Strand

A big thank you to Mark Van’t Hooft for involving me in the strand. There were some very interesting research projects presented — looking forward to future LWF research strands, I think the idea of roundtables is the way to go. The traditional forums for “ivory tower” research need to shift – something more TeachMeet-like would be a way to shake things up. We had tough competition against all of the keynote speakers on Tuesday and we are thankful to those who joined us for the strand. Mark and John will be following up on venues for publication.

TeachMeet Learning Without Frontiers Edition

Being interested and involved in Ignite Lansing and TEDx events – I love anything along those lines and TeachMeet lived up to my expectations. The absolute #1 presentation for me was from XXX who is using QR codes to enhance the traditional book report. I’ve embedded the presentation by David Mitchell (@DeputyMitchell) below – genius!

In all, it was an amazing opportunity to grow my personal learning network. I added a few new geek girls to my PLN (@helenwalkertwit and @michellegallen)

My one complaint – I was a little sad that the venue for the LWF awards ceremony was not set up so everyone could see.  I was thankful my friends (Jo, Dave and Rich) from TechSmith were able to join me so I wasn’t all alone in the corner! The food was great – but the ceremony was a bit of a let down. (Not because I lost, but because of the layout.)

During the Mobile Learning Strand presentations there was a twitter flare up over Katharine Bribalsingh’s presentation. I’m looking forward to the video archives so I can make sense of the situation.  It was not a very productive twitter stream and was only able to gather that certain people were very opposed to her viewpoint. I’m looking forward to sorting it out for myself.