Plymouth – it’s lovely when it’s not raining

Just on my way back from a lovely conference at Plymouth University – Evaluating and Researching ePortfolios.  The title was a little posher than that but that’s the gist of it.  It was run by the Centre for Recording Achievement who have yet to run a naff conference.  This is my third one and each time they’ve got better and better.  I actually think it’s because technology has just become part of how we teach and support students so my interests are covered here.  

So what was I doing? Well first of all , I’d better explain the title.  I loved Plymouth – and of course in my usual enthusiasm I told everyone. Every local I spoke to always responded “When it’s not raining”.  But really, I had two really lovely sunny and warm days there. Luckily we were housed within the Rolles building, on the 6th Floor which meant the view was spectacular and I could see the coast, so that was awesome.   I was also playing with the Persicope app – OMG I love it! Literally allows you to live stream and you get comments and reactions instantly from people all over the world.  Now, there’s no quality control but it’s hilarious and I think there must be some kind of pedagogical application for it.  Not really for delivering content but for student interactions and learning. 

Back to the conference, I was chairing a session live from Melbourne, Katie Coleman from Deakin University who is doing some wonderful things with badges and gave a great talk.  I also attended another inspirational session with Alison James (@alisonrjames) who talked about creativity and reflection (you get a lot about reflection at ePortfolio conferences) she had Playdo and Lego which was great but she was also very engaging and had some great ideas for engaging with students. Including an idea about giving everyone coming to a conference a piece of quilt that they had to decorate with ideas about teaching and learning which became their plenary.   Another great talk today was from Agnes (Tracy) Hooper, Student Affairs at Seton Hill.  I’ve read a lot about Seton Hill as they were using ipads at one time. They have an brilliant eportfolio implementation project that they’ve run since 2005.  I took notes so will draft that together when I’m not on the train. 

Yesterday was about Badges for me – the use of badges for recognising and rewarding learning through using badges and I met Serge who is cool.  They also asked me to submit something for the EPIC2015 conference in June so I’ll do that over the weekend. 

So, I highly recommend attending conferences that allow you to connect and exchange ideas.  So many opportunities open up that way and who knows where that will take you.  

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