Listen2Learners- from a Virtual Participant’s Point of View

Over the last three years, one of the most innovative introductions to education in the state of Victoria, (in my opinion) is  subscribing to an edublogs campus for globalstudent and globalteacher blogs. This week there was much support for the continuation of globalstudent blogs. Their closure is now no longer imminent but under further investigation, due to the outcry from a strong personal learning network. The announcement of their closure and move to globalteacher, came at the same time as another great innovative project by Innovations and Next Practise division of DEECD:- Listen2learners. This also has to rate as being one of the best events that they have organised (and there have been many great events).

The Department partnered with 13 school teams from Victoria and interstate to provide an opportunity for members of the community to meet and learn from digital learners. Listen2Learners was held on Monday 11 October, 2010 at Experimedia, State Library of Victoria. Professor Stephen Heppell from the UK was the event’s patron sharing his knowledge with those who attended.

Three of my students were fortunate to be chosen to attend this great event. They spoke on the Flat Classroom projects that they have been part of over the past few years and of the interactivity in real time with a class from Malaysia, using virtual classroom software this year. Watch their video and read their blog posts on this event:-

  1. Dhugsy
  2. Tarzy
  3. Flurogreen

As  VCE exams are approaching, I was unable to attend this event. This was disappointing for me. But, to my surprise, my students in Melbourne, turned cyber space on me, and rang me on skype, using videoconferencing so I could be part of it for an hour or so. Fascinated, I could be a witness, to the absolute buzz that was part of the atmosphere and share in the conversations. I could hear all three students promoting the great learning that they were experiencing and I also hear the  questions from those who came to their stand. One of my colleagues, Tania Sheko came up and said hello to me. (Thanks for the photo above and to the right, Tania)

One attendee stands out as he asked some great questions – one being:- “What is eLearning?”. Tara who was speaking to him, stopped, did not respond for some time and I thought “Yikes!”. Then I heard her belated response “That is just we do!” Her companion then commented on the great answer, as it showed that technology had been overlooked and instead immersed in their learning. Now that is what I would call web3.0!

Some of the great outcomes from  Listen2Learners

  • Students came back excited, with such renewed pride in their  learning and achievements.
  • They were treated as young adults with something important to say!
  • They were able to talk about their love of technology in their learning and the wonderful and powerful learning outcomes that it allows.
  • Important adults took a keen interest in their work, left them business cards and invited them to further events.
  • The students were treated to exceptional accommodation and a nice restaurant meal.
  • Staff and students back at school also took a keen interest in their participation
  • Marg Murnane, a fellow teaching colleague, who went to Melbourne with them, came back enthausiastic and energized with lots of ideas upon seeing the other student projects.
  • And as Tricia Robertson told me, “Stephen Heppell said they would return one foot taller!” and they did.

All too often we teach students what they need to know and rarely do we see what they learnt, how they learnt and aspects they enjoy learning, except through exams, tests, standardized tests etc. Thank you to those who organised this wonderful event and to those who listened to the learners. These learners are indeed our future.

Postscript – And what did the students do whilst waiting for the day to begin?

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