Month: March 2013
I attended my first learning conference in March 2013. Learning Solutions is a conference and expo produced by Learning Solutions Magazine and the eLearning Guild. As a first timer, I was extremely excited to attend, but I had no idea what I was in for. I gathered so much information from the conference that I did not know how to begin sorting it out. Four days later, while sitting in my cubical I opened the notes app on my iPad. I skimmed through my pages of notes. I noticed I typed the words, “play” and “practice” multiple times. The commonality between many of the discussions and sessions was apparent. The beginning of my notes detailed my first Morning Buzz.
The first session I attended at the Learning Solutions Conference was a Morning Buzz, or “Early Bird” discussion. The Morning Buzz discussion I chose titled: Getting Creative was led by Connie Malamed. Malamed is a consultant at The eLearning Coach. Admittedly, I did not know what to expect at a 7:15 a.m. conference discussion. I made my way to the front of the room and waited. I was surprised to find ten or so fellow conference attendees filing into the front of the room. The attendees had their iPads in hand and were ready for discussion. Malamed instructed us to form a circle and we began introductions. The group discussion began with attendees sharing insights on their creative process. One of the first topics to be discussed was play.
Not only did play come up within discussions, but as I attended featured programs and general sessions, I noticed that presenters began to talk about play. Stephen Anderson, an independent consultant at PoetPainter, presented: “Ideas You Can Play With” he spoke about learning through play. Anderson quoted Jean Piaget; a Swiss developmental psychologist. Piaget said, “Play is the answer to how anything new comes about.”
Anderson brought up learning through games such as, Minecraft. Minecraft is a PC game where the players build creations out of blocks. Anderson pointed out that millions of people play Minecraft without any real reward; not even badges! Minecraft players play because the game allows self expression, challenges them, because they are autonomist. Curiosity and collecting drives players to play the game even more. Players learn more about Minecraft through playing the game. Anderson spoke about games such as chess and scrabble and how those types of games involve thinking that is tied to the body. A chess player makes a wrong move with their piece and they will be provided with feedback; therefore the player learns from the move.
Daniel Coyle, author and contributing editor to Outside magazine brought up the topic of swift feedback in order to create successful practice. Coyle’s conference presentation: “Hotbed: The Blueprint of High Performance” covered active learning. Coyle brought up questions regarding practice: Is the learner reaching and repeating? Is there engagement? Is there purposeful action? Is there swift feedback? He used the example of a child skateboarding. A skateboarder is constantly receiving feedback. The skateboarder is reaching and repeating until they get the move right, but the skateboarder has to practice on the edge of their ability in order to become the best.
The first general session speaker I attended was Robert Ballard. Ballard is an oceanographer; he is famous for his discovery of the Titanic and the battleship Bismarck. I think that Coyle may even consider Ballard to be an example of “one of the best” in oceanography (I would have to ask him though). Although Ballard did not directly speak about play or practice, it was obvious that it had a hand in his success. Ballard has not only made discoveries, he has advanced his field, and now he is teaching others to continue learning and discovering.
My take away from the conference and perceived theme of play and practice from the sessions show: that we need to want to learn, we have to play and practice to become the best, we need swift feedback from practice to become better, and we have to reach our limit and repeat practice to get closer to perfection. In my Morning Buzz with Malamed I learned play can inspire creativity. From Anderson I learned Minecraft players learn through play. Coyle showed that in order to become great you must practice on the edge of your ability, practicing is transformative. After practicing, a person can become the best in their field and eventually like Ballard they may become a teacher.
On March 12th, I will be heading down to Orlando, Florida for the Learning Solutions Conference. Thanks to the LSCON app, I was able to easily plan out each session I am attending at the conference.
The LSCON app is terrific. I downloaded the app for both iPhone 4S and the new iPad. I like the social aspect of the app. The LSCON app allows you to network with the other conference participants and follow them; the same way you can follow people on Instagram or Twitter. The participant can also post updates that everyone on the app is able to see.
I have been able to post updates, like, and comment on other participants updates. The only thing I dislike about the updates, is that the app forces you to pick a place or type a place in that you are located. I can see how mandatory check-ins makes sense for conference events. I am excited to post updates to the app on the sessions on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Updates can even be sent to Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. The Updates and Agenda are my favorite part of the app because I will know what is going on real-time and I can figure out where I need to be.
The most helpful part of the app is the Agenda feature. Over the past few weeks I have been pretty busy, therefore I was worrying about typing up what sessions I wanted to attend at the conference. The Agenda feature of the app, allows the participant to look at the schedule, check-in, add it to their own agenda, review the session, add to their device’s calendar and even take a survey on the session. I am definitely impressed by the Agenda feature and very glad to have it! Check out a screenshot of part of my agenda below; taken on my iPhone 4S.
The app has many different features. Some of my other favorite features include: notifications, maps, badges, profiles, leader board, ability to add photos to updates, and information on speakers and sponsors. I have not been able to test out the rest of the features, since the conference has not started yet, at least for me! More updates to come on the Learning Solutions Conference of 2013!
This is the first in a series of slideshares that I am developing. I think the most common question people ask when it comes to virtual classes is, “How can I make my class/meeting engaging if it is online?” There are many way to incorporate engagement within your class or meeting, in almost the same way as in a face to face class or meeting. The most important thing is not to create your class around engaging activities but to incorporate those activities into your learning (I will be creating a slideshare later on about designing classes for virtual environments).