AFTER MAJOR EVENTS--the ones that flit in and out of my dreams--I believe it's important to note what happened in terms of personal development but also to consider what cosmic event might have occurred for others who share the same interests. The past two days are that significant.
I put an image on this post that Rachael Cooke drew as I spoke in a workshop that demonstrated what the members of the Youth Media Team do when they report on events and share their reflections online. Their work interests me because they bring a teenager's perspective to people and events that I attend. What they see and hear emerges as audio interviews and blog posts. You can hear everything they produced during the 2016 ICT in Education Conference in one large playlist served by Audioboom, a free cloud service.
I tell teachers and lecturers that no matter the age of their students, there are takeaways from #ictedu that they can use immediately to improve their professional skills. You can take the short route and page through ideas both Steve Wheeler and Mary Carty offered in their keynote talks. I enjoyed those immensely but I also have three conclusions I'd like to share after walking the hallways, listening to conversations and attending workshops.
1. I enjoyed validation yesterday.
I get validation for the practical media production workflow I teach at third level lecturer whenever I watch secondary school students use handheld tools, smartphones or iPad Minis that they own or borrow, to record observations and stories shared by people they meet at large events. Most of the events they attend deal with teaching and learning but a few sessions involved book launches or community activities. In one of yesterday's workshops, several members of our Youth Media Team explained what they did in short and simple terms. Then they helped train teachers to do the same thing. Within 30 minutes, the novices (the teachers in the workshops) had published six different four-minute audio clips. Before the final conference event, each clip had been heard by at least 30 other people. That result validated how I might be able to record and upload meaningful content during my academic work--all with a mobile device I carry in my pocket.
2. I enjoyed fireside chats from Open Educators.
Both Steve Wheeler and Mary Carty graciously shared stories, recommendations and contacts when I chatted with them. I thought about recording and sharing the thoughts they offered but wondered if I would have been less attentive. I think we might explore the same kind of comfortable chats as a scheduled part of the 2017 ICT in Education Conference.
3. I saw co-creation from age 14 upwards.
One of the best parts of our YMT.fm ethos involves teamwork that extends from conceptualising how to ask questions to recording a conversation, to uploading the result with an image and then writing about the interaction. Although I wish we could increase the word count of the blog posts, I know Millennials prefer content delivered in captions rather than feature stories. The collaborative process is more important than the size of the blog post. It's refreshing to see the team dynamic at work, especially when seasoned YMT members reach across the table to show a novice contributor how to add hyperlinks, how to embed iframes, or how to manage the media library. Several of our more experienced reporters now have the editing skills to cross-check the work of their friends by reading the activity flow as it appears in newsfeeds.
I plan to occasionally use the #ictedu hashtag during the months ahead as I follow Pam O'Brien down the rabbit holes we'll explore for next year. And I'll share the best content on my blog and on a revamped ICT in Education blog as it unfolds.