Takeaways from the EDUdays

I’ve just come back from the EDUdays 2017 in Krems (Austria), where I got to spend 2 days gaining ideas and inspiration on how to positively transform my own teaching and that of those in my sphere of influence. Needless to say, my head and heart are full now that I’ve come home. Educational conferences are always special to me, especially those for educational technologists like myself. You get to spend quality time with fellow educators, like-minded peers and passionate practitioners and researchers. And once you start attending these events, you bond with others, start exchanging experiences and begin contributing to the knowledge pool via workshops or presentations. Now is the time to jot down my to-dos and actions from the things learned from this conference. In no particular order, here are my main takeaways.

Implementing E-Learning in your school environment Myself and Thomas Baldauf

I’d like to start with reflecting on my own workshop (slideshare link) so I (or we) can do better next time. The activity at the outset turned out to be quite a lot of fun! We defined personalities and situations of 4 students and 4 teachers and assigned these to 8 volunteers of the audience, who then carried out a conversation in their imagined role. This was our way of showing how Design Thinking could work in a school context, as the needs of the user were plainly evident. Although our plan went well, the takeaway for next time, from my perspective, is to reduce the theoretical input and allow participants more time for practical interaction and collaborative knowledge building. 

Special thanks to my colleagues from Germany – Christine, Micha, Matthias and Lars – who shared their knowledge and learnings with me at various conferences in the past. In this way I learned from them and could share this now with others!

Thomas Baldauf and myself Alicia Bankhofer before our workshop

Rechtsfragen bei E-Learning Michael Lanzinger

As our workshop was being held at the same time, I missed Michael Lanzinger’s presentation on legal questions surrounding E-learning. Luckily, he’s shared his slides here. The takeaway for me here is to create a one-pager for my colleagues, summarising the do’s and dont’s of teaching with E-Learning tools while respectful of copyright laws.

Der digitale Workflow in der iPad Klasse Ingo Stein

Ingo showcased several apps and environments that help to organise student learning on iPad: Showbie, Seesaw, Apple Classroom and iTunesU. Here the takeaway for me is to finally take the time to explore verbal feedback for electronic learning artefacts. 

Chancen und Risiken der digitalen Kindheit Paula Bleckmann

The keynote speaker introduced many provocative statements about current trends in E-learning. What stuck with me was her suggestion to substitute the terminology „media maturity” (Medienmündigkeit) for “media competence” (Medienkompetenz). Maturity suggests a process or a progression, which apt describes the digital literate citizen. The takeaway for me here is to challenge my use of the terminology “Medienkompetenz” in my presentations. 

Hilfe! Meine Studierenden schreiben ein offenes E-Book Elke Höfler

Elke had a lot of great inputs and food for thought during her talk on creating ebooks collaboratively. The book that was produced can be found here http://unipub.uni-graz.at/obvugroa/content/titleinfo/1385442 What I respected was her candid discussion of what „went wrong“ and what she would change the next time. Naturally, the takeaway for me here is to try to implement a similar project, albeit on a mini-scale, and have kids create ebooks collaboratively.

Elke Höfler bei den EDUdays in Krems, Austria

Zu cool für PowerPoint Susanne Hosek

Susanne showcased many alternatives to PowerPoint and participants got to try them out for themselves. Her prep can be found on a Jimdo webpage here. Takeaway: stop procrastinating and start using Adobe Spark, which looks so fine and damn promising. Also, to test mysimpleshow.

Wortschatzsuche – mit Handy und Tablet unterwegs in die gelebte deutsche Sprache Ulrich Hierdeis

Ulrich demoed the results of one of his projects – where kids created picture books or animated shorts of things/words from their own environment. This is a simple but quite effective idea to help children learn language skills but also to gain awareness of their own surroundings. Details can be found here. Participants were then tasked with creating our own eBooks with pictures of our environment. My own effort is here, using the Book Creator app. Takeaway: try this hands-on method at a teaching training seminar.

Office 365 – mehr als nur Word, PowerPoint und Excel Kurt Söser

Kurt packed a lot into his workshop, which was jam-packed. As he was going through his paces, showing how solutions work in the Office 365 hub, I couldn’t help but think, these are things that people in “normal” offices do all the time and teachers are only now catching onto ways to improve efficiency in emails, calendars, tasks and teams. The irony. Teachers in many schools have no idea how to manage email, or meetings, or how to organise themselves online. If we want this digital revolution to take place, it is going to take many many hours of patient explaining and demoing to veteran teachers. Takeaway: create a few workflows (perhaps learning videos) that help my colleagues to work more efficiently at communicating and organising

Thanks a lot EDUdays! You inspired me but you also gave me lot of work!

Most importantly, the experience of the EDudays made me feel very grateful for the connections, the conversations and the small, and seemingly insignificant moments which turn out to be starting points and catalysts.

When people come together, magic can happen. The most magical city of Krems helped to create many magical moments.

Donau Uni campus in Krems, Austria