Roving reporters #EduTECHAU

One of the many, many highlights for me of my time at EduTech Australia this year in Brisbane, was an interview I did with some of Pearson's sponsored students roving reporters. Still in high school, they were everywhere, investigating the sights and sounds, and grabbing a few minutes with keynote speakers and delegates to see what they could learn. It is a fabulous idea that other conferences should adopt. My two intrepid reporters, Ryan and Sohan (Sohan sat behind the camera) asked me about my views on the current education system, and how I saw learning changing in the future. They had done their homework and knew exactly what questions to ask me.

Clearly there was a lot I was able to say to these young journalists, including sharing my beliefs about how important student centred learning is, the new and emerging roles of teachers as co-learners and the role technology is playing in shaping their lives and their futures. Ryan's final question was one that made me stop and think - what would I have wished my younger self to have known?

I thought back over my own time in school, which wasn't always a happy time, and I remember the fear of ridicule that constantly hung over me. Back in the wonderful 1980s, Adam Ant, one of the new romantic pop stars of the time sang a song in which there was a line 'ridicule is nothing to be scared of.' And yet, when you are young, it is very much something to fear. You want to belong, you have a deep need to be liked and to fit into your peer group. This didn't always happen, and there were times when I felt isolated from the rest of the group. So I answered with: 'Always be true to yourself, and stand by your principles, no matter what...' I explained to them that when you are younger this can be difficult. Your integrity comes under attack when you are pressurised into conforming with the rest of the group, asked to run with the pack. Sometimes it takes a great deal of personal strength not to comply, especially when you are uncomfortable with what the group is planning to do. Many of my friends took drugs as school, or went out in the evenings to create havoc. I spent most of my time resisting this, and stood out like a sore thumb.

So I said - always be true to yourself, and stand by your principles. It's something that, as you grow older, you come to develop as a part of your daily life. I then turned the tables on my two young interrogators, and asked them some questions. I asked them what they would like to see happening in school. They told me that there were two important things that teachers should support. The first was more collaboration in learning, where students could work together to discover new things and consolidate their learning. They also emphasised a need for more learning through making. They enthused over makerspaces and the idea of learning through problem solving. These boys will go far. They already have an understanding beyond their years about what really helps us to learn. The video of the interview(s) will be available on this blog and elsewhere when Pearson's post-production team have wielded their magic.

Photo by W Finch on Wikimedia Commons

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Roving reporters #EduTECHAU by Steve Wheeler was written in Brisbane, Australia and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


Hi Steve

I am really pleased you highlight the power of student action, of student digital leaders impacting on education conferences in this way. Such mobilisation of our young people, to me, is at the heart of technology integration and edu development. It is the root of my work. I will, however, point out that Pearson have tried to replicate what was such an overwhelming success and in many ways, a revelation to those who attended ACEC 2015 in Adelaide.

Have a look at where the post brings together much of the viewpoints on what happened at this conference

Perhaps I should sit back and say to myself "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"

Cheers and lovely to meet you in Brisbane.


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