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Making Change at Learning 2.013: What needs to be transformed’?

Jeff Plaman, Former Digital Literacy Coach, East Campus

“Most useful, and most forward thinking conference I’ve been to.”

This is how one participant described this year’s Learning 2.0 conference held 10–12 October on East Campus. The conference brought together 430 educators from 104 different schools and organisations around the world, including 40 from UWCSEA, to focus on improving learning through the use of technology. This year marked the first time the Learning 2.0 conference was held outside of China, where it began in 2007.

I had the privilege of chairing the planning committee of this year’s conference along with a talented team of organisers and facilitators from international schools across Asia including teachers from both our campuses and UWCSEA’s Centre for International Education. The team and facilitators behind Learning 2.0 are lifelong learners themselves who are committed to using technology to transform learning.

The conference’s theme, ‘Making Change,’ was explored through a variety of sessions. ‘What needs to be transformed’ sparked a lot of conversation about technology integration initiatives while ‘cultivating collaborative conversations’ struck a strong chord for teachers, blending great pedagogy with complementary digital and physical spaces. ‘Maker culture,’ ‘tinkering’ and technology play were explored through game design, coding, robotics and ‘maker-spaces,’ while others focused on story and creativity with photography and video.

“Incredibly resourceful people attend this conference. The participants are the best part!” These words from a participant illuminate the key component of Learning 2.0’s success; the level of enthusiasm, professionalism and innovation brought by the participants makes this conference unique. Participants provided more than 70 different one-hour workshops and ‘unconference’ sessions. This was not a passive ‘sit and get’ experience. Learning 2.0 is a participant-driven conference.

Students played an even bigger role in the conference this year. The student TechXperts from UWCSEA East and Singapore American School provided IT support while students from Grade 1 all the way through High School developed and ran workshops to give insight
into what students think about, and how they use, technology for learning. Student ambassadors and volunteers from Global Concerns groups also played key support roles from helping people register, to giving tours of the campus.

As the host school, we also brought UWCSEA’s commitment to service into the conference by offering fair trade goods as gifts to participants with additional items for sale to raise funds for Global Concerns. Participants left with an overwhelmingly positive impression of our campus, our teachers and our students.

The benefits of hosting this type of conference are tremendous, as teachers are able to share best practices with one another. I am excited to see the learning applied in many of our classrooms this year.