ORION Conference June 2014

I spent the day in Toronto at the ORION conference. The conference was divided into two parts. The first was an open panel discussion about the use of technology in the classroom. The panel was a professor from OISE, the Chief Innovations Officer from the Peel board, a Grade 8 teacher and one of her students.

The audience participated by testing questions. The discussion was interesting and provided some rich research pathways for my summer. I was particularly interested in the work being done in Peel. One specific activity they are doing is something called an “un-conference”. it is a monthly conference they put on for Saturday afternoon. It is a voluntary training that helps teachers integrate tech in the classroom. I am hoping to join the nearly 600 teachers who show up on these weekend events. (Peel is the second biggest board in Canada with 155 000 students, I think AMDSB has about 17 000).

The afternoon was spent with one of the “Google” guys from California. When I first saw him, I thought he was a roadie, setting up the AV systems. (Big, black, bushy beard. Bushy hair, cowboy hat, big belt buckle.)

He was very interesting. He did an hour-long chat about “game-ification” in education. Some of the specifics where: building on mobile technology, “incentification” of learning, or making learning more like a video game (I must get to the next level), and the need for the evolution of the IT departments. (predictive vs. the old and slow responsive)

He then went into the disruptive nature of two new technologies. One is the Oculus Rift. A technology about virtual reality. And Quantum Computers…I have no idea what that is about….more to come.

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