On the 3rd of December, the First Edlab Conference took place. This Conference was a good introduction both to the way Edlab program works, and how the program links with the other programs on a wider scale. As I am taking it as part of the Education Studies Unit, I found it particularly useful to learn how Edlab links with my subject of Study.
Key Note Speaker – Deborah Bullivant
Grimm & Co. APOTHECARY TO THE MAGICAL
I thoroughly enjoyed the talk by Deborah Bullivant from Grimm and Co. I found the take they had on writing very interesting. Although their workshops and the shop is aimed at young learners, I would love to visit in the future if possible. The magical element of Grimm and Co. make the focus on fun, rather than learning and therefore any learning visitors do seems almost accidental.Grimm and Co. have truly mastered the art of making learners learn without realising they are doing it. Their background story on founder Master Graham Grimm ties all elements of the experience together, making the whole experience just that little bit more believable.
The focus of Grimm and Co’s work is on the capability of the individual and this is something that I personally like very much. When school groups travel to Grimm and Co., they create their own piece of work that they are able to leave the shop with, adding to the sense of accomplishment the students feel when they leave the shop. Meaning that students often leave with more confidence for having visited the shop.
The only part of Grimm and Co. that I didn’t like was the accessibility of the shop itself, as for me it isn’t practical to get to and I am not sure how accessible the building itself would be. From the talk, it does appear that there may be parts of the shop that would be inaccessible to me. The geographical location of the shop was the predominant reason (alongside not wanting to take the risk that the building wouldn’t be accessible) that I haven’t chosen to do Grimm and Co as the major part of my project for Edlab,. If I able to get to the shop myself I would almost certainly have been involved in the project for Edlab. I was upset by the fact that being involved in this project was not a viable option for me.
However, the project itself is an amazing way of reaching children in an innovate way and personally I am in full support of it.
Creating a Blog…
This workshop helped with how to design a Blog, this blog to be specific. It was also useful in explaining how the Blog would act as a way of recording the events of Edlab, making the final project easier. As I can use the Blog as a basis for the ‘assignment’ at the end of the project. Meaning that I won’t simply have to rely on my memory, and therefore the quality of the piece I produce should be higher.
I found it particularly useful that the workshop helped to explain how to design the Blog itself, as WordPress was a new site to me and so without the workshop I would have struggled more.
Key Note Speaker – Mark Peace
I found the most interesting part of the session was that the ideas discussed were just Marks own ideas. I found his ideas on the ‘7 Deadly Sins of Education’ insightful, but the part of the sessions that interested me the most was the fact that everyone took what he said very seriously, most people even taken notes. Thereby just assuming that his point of view was right. This was something that Mark himself pointed out in the session, without him doing so I don’t think any of us would have realised this.
It made me realise that people (myself included), often just take what a person of authority says as fact. We don’t challenge authority in anyway, especially in the case of the Student and the Teacher. Students just take what the teacher says as fact, young students do this without any verification of what they are told. So basically, teachers could lie to the students and they would have no idea.
I think that students should challenge the teachers more, although I will most likely be hypocritical of this in the future, as I do find it difficult to challenge authority. By challenging authority I don’t mean that students should intentionally start arguing with their teachers or should be disobedient towards them. I simply mean that students should have the confidence to suggest new ideas or opinions on a topic, thereby introducing more areas of thought into a topic. Although, this is likely a difficult concept to teach someone, how authority can be challenged positively. But if young students learnt to do this, I believe that they would become more confident adults in the future, with more belief in their own opinions.
This session was definitely an eye opener for me, which it is possible could have a wider impact on myself, than just what I do in Edlab.
Gamification and Learning
This session was on how gaming is a positive tool for learning. As part of this session, I played a game involving answering as many questions as possible in the time frame I was given, roughly 15 minutes. This game was played in groups and unfortunately mine didn’t win. But playing a game in this session really emphasised the power of learning through play first hand.
This session looked at different ways of gaming and the way they can be used as a tool for learning. As well as looking at the more traditional games that are played in a school setting. The session, which surprised me the most, looked at the benefits of well-known video games, as Educational tools. For example, one focus of the session was how MindCraft can be used to allow children to understand shapes practically in the real world.
After this session we were set the task of deciding what our Edlab projects would be. I signed up for and was later assigned to:
Escape the Classroom (as my Core Project) aDefeat
ear The Maths Monster and Playing with University Induction (as my Supporting Projects)