Australian Computers in Education Conference 2014

This time last week I was in Adelaide to attend the Australian Computers in Education Conference (ACEC2014), the once annual but now biennial conference of the Australian Council for Computers in Education (ACCE). ACCE is the peak national professional group for those interested in ICT in education. It brings together state associations like the Queensland Society for Information Technology in Education (QSITE) and EdTechSA, which was the host on this occasion, and is the national affiliate for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). The members of these associations are predominantly K-12 teachers but also include teacher educators with interest in the field. That makes their conferences, and especially ACEC, interesting as sites where academics and teachers come together with research papers mixed with presentations with a strong classroom focus. ACEC is a rare opportunity for interactions across the school-university spectrum.

The conference program included four keynotes. Alec Couros from University of Regina opened the conference with a presentation about the digital identity and impact of networks and media on personal learning. On Day 2, Kathy Schrock, spoke about storytelling and demonstrated a variety of tools for teaching with stories. Day 3 opened with Alan Noble and Sally-Ann Williams from Google speaking about the importance of coding, especially when matched with expertise in other disciplines. The final keynote was originally to have been given by Toni Downes but when she had a conflicting commitment, Brian Lewis, CEO of ISTE, was to fill the spot until he became ill and Michael Henderson accepted the challenge, only to develop laryngitis. In the end Michael spoke briefly, had a colleague read some more and then chaired a panel.

I was co-author on two papers. Redefining Education for the Digital Age: A Snapshot of the State of Play in Three Queensland Schools was developed with Romina Jamieson-Proctor (ACU), Petrea Redmond, Jason Zagami (GU), and Peter Twining (OU) based on the work undertaken when Peter visited Queensland about this time last year. That paper was one of a set of papers from WA, Qld, Vic and Tasmania and the combined group presented a symposium on the final day.

Peter, Jane & Romina with awards
Best Paper Awardees

Developing Early Learners’ Creativity and Collaboration Using iPads was written with my daughter, Jane Batham (BCEO) and Romina Jamieson-Proctor and was based on Jane’s masters project, which was supervised by Romina. That paper won the Best Paper Award at the conference. Since then it has been featured as Creativity and collaboration with iPads on the Digital Education Research Network (DERN) site published by ACER. We are naturally pleased with that success and plan to prepare an expanded paper for submission to a suitable journal.

I also ‘ghosted’ the presentation of a paper by Lindy Orwin, RALfie:A Game Where Maker Faire Meets Hackerthon, based on the RALfie CRN project here at USQ. Lindy had planned to attend but was ultimately unable to be there so I managed a link via Collaborate so that she could present.

In addition to the keynotes, our own presentations, the welcome reception, President’s Dinner, and Conference Dinner, I managed to attend a variety of other presentations. I tweeted some thoughts during sessions and engaged in some Twitter discussion with colleagues. See the tweets for detail of that if you are interested.

I’m grateful for the financial support from USQ (ABED) that defrayed some of my expenses and for the time out to catch up with colleagues and make new connections. ACEC2016 will be in Brisbane, hosted by QSITE, and I’ve already been tagged to manage the refereed proceedings.