For the first time in, what, four years I am not planning trains to London for the annual Future of Technology in Education Conference. I’ve got to say, it’s quite a wrench to say that as it’s both a good conference and an excellent opportunity to network.
So, why am I not going? Two reasons mainly but ultimately I wanted a year off: it can be quite a trek to get to London which is made even harder when you have to factor about getting across London as well and then, with the conference being on Friday, the journey home with everyone else who’s evacuating the city is always a nightmare.
- With only 300 tickets available there are far more people following online, either through Twitter #fote13 hashtag and the personalities and presenters themselves, Facebook and Google+ pages, or the streamed service. So, this year, I decided to keep the extra hour or two in bed I’d have by not travelling and ‘dial-in’ and see what it’s like trying to keep up online, whilst at work.
- I made a comment last year about the presentations. There was plenty of ‘technology’, quite a bit ‘future’, but not enough ‘education’ for my liking. This is not a slight on the organisers or the presenters from last year, rather my own personal expectations of the day. Whether anyone listened is another matter entirely but I am very pleased to see a much more education-centred approach to the speakers this year, which does make me want to go. But no, not this year.
So, even if I’m not going, what am I looking forward to?
- Nichola Millard: I don’t know what a “customer experience futurologist” is but it sounds good. Talking about “Clouds, Crowds and Customers” Nichola will be looking at how “behaviours and expectations are changing as students become customers, how collaboration is going social and how technologies are untethering us from our office.”
- Lindsay Jordan: I’ve met Linsday a few times now and like her approach and passion for her work and students. Lindsay will introduce “the case against” technology in education: this may well be the most important session of the day, that through exploring beliefs that some academics hold over too much technology is a bad thing we can try to “understand their reasoning, with the intention that this will enable us to be more inclusive in our own practices.”
- Martin King: Coming from an FE perspective Martin will bring a different approach to proceedings and with his bio mentioning “projects that promote mutual co-created learning, social learning, web working and personal technologies” it is surely to be interesting.
- Kevin Ashley: Bringing a wealth of experience and knowledge with him Kevin will look at whether research data is a “bothersome burden or treasure chest?” Whilst it is not my area of interest it does sound interesting and certainly relevant to how we use and store research and ‘open data’.
- I’ve used the backchannel at FOTE before, tweeting and Google+’ing from in the hall, but how is it when you’ve only got the hashtag? Can you get a real feel for the mood from just this, will I get a feel for the speakers, presentations, moods, jokes, etc. from tweets alone?
So, all the best to everyone involved and those lucky 300 who got tickets. I will be with you in mind and spirit, if not body. Have a good day and save a slice of cake for me please?