|360 image from the Teach Meet Tech afternoon unconference https://flic.kr/p/Q5XDFV|
The aim of Teach Meet Tech is to embrace and pioneer a contemporary, complex, networked, interdependent and adaptive view of the world and of education and technology.
Teach Meet Tech seeks to pop the standard filter bubbles of education by networking as many of the different parts of education as possible - bringing together people from schools, community education, adult education, sixth form colleges, further education, higher education, non profits, enterprise - mixing students, teachers, IT people, education managers, the public and business people together in one informal and fun event.
Teach Meet Tech 3 was an inspireNshare education and technology fusion event in association with CCS Libraries, and the LMN - all of which are involved in various ways with connecting people and connecting people with technology. InspireNshare promote people centric, cultural, creative and holistic approaches with education, technology, business and life. CCS Libraries are re-thinking and re-inventing local public libraries for the future - exploring their role within society, the content and technologies they provide access to and the activities that take place within them. 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.
Teach Meet Tech 3 was held in Thornton Heath children's library - significant, symbolic and deliberate as public libraries are true life-long, life-wide community education spaces for everyone. A children's library is a space for learning enjoyment and Thornton Heath children's library is stimulating, colourful, playful and flexible - a perfect venue for Teach Meet Tech.
At Teach Meet Tech we talk about innovative education and pedagogy but had been using a pretty standard "stand and deliver" conference format of presentations. For Teach Meet Tech 3 it was time to start "practicing what we preached" - "stand and deliver" formats can have great value so we kept a loose conference format for the morning and experimented with an unconference type format for the afternoon with lots more HOHO (Hands On Heads On) with things and conversations between people.
|Conference: Hector Minto presenting “Are we accessible yet? Who’s responsibility is it?”|
Teach Meet Tech 3 began with a welcome from Martin King talked about Scale Free Schools and the role of libraries in 21st century education as venues for open, life-long, life wide and family learning. Martin explained "fusion" concept of the event and talked about the importance of diversity, inclusion, networking, connection and working across boundaries
Nigel Dias talked about Croydon Tech City using a short presentation and an excellent question answer and discussion session. Nigel spoke about Future Tech City (FTC) and projects that connect young people with technology opportunities and technology startups. Nigel gave an update on the latest FTC developments - traineeships and apprenticeships and the start of FTC connected library tech zones such as the new one in Croydon Children's library.
Miles Metcalf gave us a Festive Surprise with a review of the year - zooming out in a wide ranging talk about big issues in technology and society from Brexit, Trump, elitist education, the perils and potentials of virtual reality, the power of technology companies, technology dependence, privacy, truth and the importance of learning in the 21st century.
Martin King presented "Human In The loop" - a talk about the problems of systems thinking ... about how convergent, analytic, prescriptive and deterministic system centric thinking leads to not just poor design for humans but design which discriminates and can even be dangerous. He talked about the advantages of design thinking ... about how divergent, synthetic and human centric thinking that can make life not just easier but also enjoyable and fun and how this obliquely leads to better systems which are more effective and efficient. Martin talked about the need to strike a balance in education between quantitative "SMART" skills (which can be more easily automated by machines) and qualitative soft skills such as creativity, imagination and empathy.
Hector Minto presented deep and wide about accessibility and assistive technology in “Are we accessible yet? Who’s responsibility is it?”. Rather than make "reasonable adjustments" Hector argued for inclusive design sensitive to individual differences and local culture. Hector spoke about human diversity and about neurodiversity in particular ... we are all different - variation is not a problem but normal and natural and technology can help us mediate and accommodate rather than simply assimilate our differences. Hector spoke about Microsoft's mission with accessibility "to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more ... there are no limits to what people can achieve when technology reflects the diversity of everyone who uses it." Hector spoke about the potential of new technology interfaces such as voice input to Enable everyone and demonstrated the Microsoft language translator app. "Like me" bias is a common problem for inclusive design so Hector demonstrated some recent and upcoming tools from Microsoft such as the Microsoft Accessibility checker that can help us check our designs and documents for accessibility.
|Unconference: Hands On Heads On with tech and conversation|
There is value in the standard lecture\presentation format but I have always noticed how social dynamics change with and without the central point of focus of a presenter with a projector and screen. It was a real joy to take down the projector and screen and watch peer to peer conversations emerge naturally. In a sense a projector can facilitate peer to peer discussion by being turned off. The buzz of conversation reminded me of playtime at school ... after the constraints in lessons children unleash their imagination and energy in the freedom of play. The Teach Meet Tech 3 unconference gave us freedom to play ... it was playtime :)
|Playing with Mixed reality|
|Playing with virtual reality|
|Playing with 3D printing|
For more photos of Teach Meet Tech London 3 visit https://flic.kr/s/aHskNDgF1E
For more information about Teach Meet Tech visit http://inspirenshare.com/tmt
For more information about InspireNshare visit http://inspirenshare.com