Thursday the 10th December 2015 was a good day for fusion.
Germany just fired up a monster machine that could revolutionize the way we use energy. The Max Planck Institute in Germany achieved first plasma with their W7-X stellarator - an alternative but much more promising nuclear fusion machine to the more widely known Tokamak.
Teach Meet Tech - achieved education fusion in London.
Much of current formal education is a legacy of 20th century fission - split into so many separate (even conflicting parts) and divided into levels that rarely mix. Most education events reflect this fission - focusing on specific sectors or areas only - creating separate and defined bubbles of experience - rarely would a network manager mix in an event with students; someone in the school sector mix with those in the university sector or for the topics of flipped learning be on the same agenda as network resilience.
The aim of Teach Meet Tech was to bring many of the different parts of education together and see what happens.
Teach Meet Tech was an inspireNshare education fusion event supported by Croydon Council, CCS Libraries, Toshiba, LMN and Vanix bringing together people from schools, community education, adult education, further education, higher education, non profits and enterprise. The event was attended by students, teachers, IT people, education managers and the public to talk about education & technology in a free un-conference style meetup opportunity
Teach Meet Tech was held in Thornton Heath children's library - this was highly significant, symbolic and deliberate. Public libraries are true life-long and community education spaces for everyone. A children's library is a space of learning enjoyment before school - the Thornton Heath children's library is stimulating, colourful, playful and flexible - a perfect venue to help stimulate and catalyse education fusion.
The involvement of all the supporters was significant as they are all involved in various ways with connecting people and connecting technology. Croydon Council and CCS Libraries are seeking to re-think and re-invent local public libraries for the future - exploring their role within society, the content and technologies they provide access to, the activities that take place within them. Toshiba have been supporting innovative education meetups for over a decade - including their education ambassadors and support for student eAmbassadors and over 120 teacher led TeachMeets with 10,000 teachers. The LMN will be familiar to most network managers in the education sector - they ran the London wide high-speed data backbone and connections which connected us to the Internet between 1997 and 2011. Today the LMN are networking people - providing training, professional development, peer exchange programmes and promoting excellence in IT services for students and staff. Vanix helps over 50 UK learning institutions to improve student experience with extensive first-hand sector knowledge and a broad portfolio of network, management, analytics and security and since 2007 have helped inspireNshare technically implement a "the network is our computer" philosophy.
Teach Meet Tech began with a welcome from Martin King who explained the "fusion" concept of the event and talked about the need for education in the 21st century to move from fission to fusion.
Nigel Dias talked about Croydon Tech City - a movement, community and not for profit
that champions and inspires tech skills, business and opportunity in South London. Croydon Tech City is now home to just over 1,000 digital, creative and technical startups.
Miles Metcalf talked about "ICT Zero: The Pop Up College" - the problems of conventional IT departments and the possibility of replacing them completely with DIY style cheap or free consumer hardware and systems.
Adam Stewart joined us via a Google Hangout video conference from the Google UK offices. He showed us the stimulating environment inside the Google offices, talked about and demonstrated the potential of Google hangouts in education - giving examples
James Kieft talked about "Flipping Free" - using free web based tools that teachers can use to curate and share flipped learning content. He talked about Edynco, BlendSpace, Lessonpaths, Zooburst, Quizizz, Piktochart, InstaGrok, Plickers and Visuwords.
Martin King talked about "TERROR" (Technology Education Relevance Risk Or Reward). he talked about the challenge of education in an era of exponential change and how current standard models of education and technology are not relevant in the 21st century and how transformation is necessary for education to remain relevant. He gave examples of inspireNshare projects in education - peer learning work with teachers and eAmbassador and Thinglab - true flip learning projects where students teach each other and their teachers.
Andy Butcher talked about why we need to adapt our networks to meet student expectations. He talked the ETAG challenge to enable innovation with technology to empower teachers and learners and to deepen and accelerate learning. He spoke about technology trends, the growth of data, network traffic and the strategic challenges for IT services in providing ubiquitous connectivity that meets student expectations.
Students from the College of North West London talked about education and technology. They felt that education system technology and use of technology was outdated and asked that curricula accommodate their own technology and use of technology - they talked about social media and said they would like to make use of their smartphones. They valued on-line resources and wanted to be able to study at home - giving the practical reason of the cost of travel. The students talked about the importance of community experience and valued the role of teachers as guides in their education. The students talked about how education was different for each student and that the preferred balance and blend of on-line\virtual education Vs physical education would be different for each student.
For more information about Teach Meet Tech London visit the event website at http:\\inspirenshare.com/tmtl