I want to talk about learning…

Curiously, the first day of the GAFE summit (Google apps for educators) was not as exciting as I’d anticipated. 

I enjoyed the opening keynote By Suan Yeo, Google’s Head of Education (Asia Pacific) and attended some interesting sessions, notably Jim Sill‘s on the incredible Google Art Project… and some less interesting ones.

Reflecting on the day and looking over the rapturous tweets from some of the participants, I ask myself why the day seemed a bit flat to me. It was well organised, the tools are brilliant, there were great people to talk to and the presenters were well prepared… so why did it not excite me?

Perhaps it was because the day was more about tools than about learning. In the sessions I attended, no-one showed great examples of how students use the apps and there wasn’t much talk about authentic, engaging, meaningful learning (the stuff I love to talk about).

What I loved about the Edutech conference earlier in the year, was the fact that, despite being billed as the biggest educational technology conference in Australia, it WAS about learning.

Where was the creativity and innovation?

Let’s see how tomorrow goes…

8 thoughts on “I want to talk about learning…

  1. One to watch for next year perhaps? Lots of leaders talking 21st C skills at the ACEL conference I have been at this week, more about innovation rather than apps! Interesting contrast by the sound of it!


  2. I heard the same thing about previous Google Education events – there’s not really any link to education! Plenty of cool stuff out there, and plenty of teachers doing amazing stuff with the agoogle’s tools – Google just don’t seem to have tapped into the grass roots level!


  3. I attended a session yesterday about a new product that enables non-educators (or anyone) to easily develop small elearning packages for sale. The company was very proud that it was made by computer developers who weren’t educators because “it’s all about the technology” and “you don’t need to know about L&D to make good learning products”. While they product itself and the general concept have some merits, I found it hard to see past the technology-first approach and the assumption that good learning is just about making the technology easier to use.


  4. I hope day two is a little more rewarding for you. Tools are great, though we want to see how educators and students are using them to enrich their learning. I’ve found the same when attending other PD, it’s been all about the tool and not how to incorporate into learning or seeing some work samples.


  5. I agree that some sessions were ‘toolcentric’. However, I also think that there some sessions put the teachers in the place of the learner. Isn’t that just as significant and authentic?


  6. Interesting read, especially in light of the fact that I’ll be presenting at a GAFE summit myself. Like you I noticed the enthusiasm sparked by resources rather than the focus being on what we could do with them so our session will be on SAMR. Any suggestions welcome (as I’m guessing you can see my email address).



  7. Ain’t that the way…
    I spend my life demoming every Monday afternoon what the learning looks like to visitors to my school to see GAFE in action, and all they want to see is the tech. Actually they want to see that iPads are actually the way forward, so that no sentient or intellectual enquiry about teacher input and learner output is mentioned. Perhaps all our colleagues want is a digital cosh? Sadly I have gone with Chromebooks…


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