Thursday, June 27, 2013

We made it, Together!

The Barbican hosted the first #creat_ED event last week, and it was a hugely enjoyable and successful event!

We had three amazing speakers: Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, Simon Raymonde and Stevyn Colgan who engaged, inspired and provoked. This was then followed by a round of ground up workshops which ranged from global education to habits of learning to the skills and disposition five year olds need for living online.

We generated real 'Dos', new projects including a Dating Service for schools, a learning community that was created on the day, and a global video conferencing event.

But the real success of the day wasn't that we broke even (YAY!), that people turned up, that learning and connections happened (given time and space this is no surprise) but something much more simple. 

The best thing about #creat_ED was that we co-created it. Everyone contributed to the day. From the generosity of our speakers in giving their time for free; our kind sponsors providing money and logistics; to the Barbican team for their kindnesses and bunting;  to those who brought a/v equipment with them; people stepping up and helping make the day work, ... and, most of all, the enthusiasm and excitement of all those who came.

Are there things that we would have done differently? YES! We screwed up the sound on the live feed (Gah!!! #epicfail) and so there is no proper video from the day on youtube, as intended. Sorry. Also, time keeping needed to be much tighter, and there should have been more time and support for 'doing'... but...

Should we do it again?  What do you think??? Would you take part again?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Guest Post: Enablers of Promise

A Guest Post by Lizzie Overton, from Enliven Education

Amongst, Shadow Education Secretary Stephen Twigg's predictable rhetoric at the RSA today were some ideas with the potential for meaningful change.  He focused on three themes: ‘Freedom, Devolution and Collaboration’.  

He said that “giving schools more freedom over how they teach and how they run and organise their schools can help to raise standards.” “Collaboration” he said was a “proven recipe for success” and “the professionals” were “the true enablers of promise”.

For decades, teachers have been encouraged to work like Victorian factory foremen; checking that the assembly line is working efficiently and that component parts of learning are properly installed as students pass through the weeks and years.  Could it be that politicians are waking up to a realisation that people are not industrial raw materials and that a mechanistic approach to education is not entirely suitable?

Great teachers are in fact master craftspeople who pass on what they know about learning to the students they teach.  Reflections on their own experience and what they understand from the research they read, has taught them that effective learning relies on a set of key principles including the three that Twigg was keen to highlight in his speech today:

That we are more motivated and creative when we have opportunities to think for ourselves.

That whilst it's occasionally useful to learn from instruction it’s generally more effective to learn from our own direct experience. 

That none of us are islands and that the best and most innovative ideas are shaped from our interactions with each other.

I don't know if Twigg and the Labour Party have really got what it takes to offer the teaching profession a non-mechanistic education system.  But let’s not forget that we already have great examples of innovation in our schools.  A wealth of educational research and social media networking are making sustainable progress more possible than it ever was before. 

It would be fantastic if the likes of Twigg could really help, but in the meantime I suggest we support events like Creat_Ed and explore what can be achieved despite them!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Social Wall

Huge thanks to  +Jenny Ashby @jjash who has created spaces for us to start some of our conversations before the day of #creat_ED.

Jenny is coming all the way from Bendigo, Australia (not far from Melbourne) and this is part of her contribution to the day, to enable the global  aspect of #creat_ED to work. Jenny is leading a session in the afternoon called: "The global classroom, how can you make it happen?"

Please post to Jenny's Lino below and let's get the discussions going, where ever you live and work!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Catalytic Converter Sessions

#creat_ED will be an unconference - the content, programme and outcomes defined by those that join us on June 21st at The Barbican.

There will be some support for the day,  including some amazing speakers, but specifically by those able  to turn hot air into action, who we are calling "Catalytic Converters".  Some of whom have already signed up to lead sessions in the afternoon on the day. Please add your session here and help make bright ideas float.

We have had quite a few people who asking for more information about the afternoon sessions, and how they will work. Given that we are providing a context for action, here is how we think it will work.

Firstly, as Lizzie @enliven-ed suggested: 'inspire/provoke/create' just means what it says, ie: "speaking from practice, offering some kind of a challenge and then allowing people to do something"

The reason for it is to make the sessions active and practical beyond the session. No passive listening, or..."that was interesting but ...I cannot do anything with it". 

We want people to be inspired to do their own thing. It might be to work with you, take your idea on in their context; but most likely it might be to do something utterly different in outcome, but based on the steps you took. It is those parallels we are hoping to make across tech, the creative industries and education.

This is an unconference. It is worth noting though that the  "do something" phase might be something other than you expect. Expect the unexpected  and unplanned outcomes. The excitement and energy of the participants is what we want to enable, so expect to see people get an 'AHA!' moment, and look distracted.... No one has to stay for your session, and people might move about, or go off to start work. 

We think most sessions will be around 40mins - but we hope that by the end of the session most of the attendees have broken off to put the ideas into action.

+Fred Garnett , and a mini team of expert facilitators, will be helping to gather themes to tell a broader story about the day, and helping keep things moving. 

So,  get a ticket and sign up for a session for our very special day at The Barbican on 21st of June. Let your friends know, and tell us about the people that inspire you.

Monday, May 13, 2013

‘Stop talking, start doing’ – create_Ed at the Barbican

Guest post by Tony Parkin
Disruptive Nostalgist & Independent Educational Consultant

Like many others, I was bitterly disappointed to get the news in January that the eagerly-anticipated Learning Without Frontiers, scheduled for June 17-21 at The Barbican, was cancelled (or at least 'delayed' and moved far, far East of London... somewhere in Asia)

Hands up, and time to declare an interest. I have been to all the LWF events, and their precursors as Handheld Learning, etc. I have even been on committees that helped steer some of them, delivered workshop sessions and judged student competitions.

It is well-known I am an advocate and general fan of Graham Brown-Martin, the founder and guiding light behind Learning Without Frontiers. Or rather, who WAS the guiding light before the suits took over the asylum – you know, those greyer suits with the strait-jackets? It was the suits in January who decided that the Barbican LWF event was out of the question, apparently because their business-based be-suited chums were not as yet showering sufficient corporate dollars in support.

Graham himself was quick to follow this announcement out of the LWF door. Self-propelled, as any man of principle would be.  But Graham is clearly still contractually bound where LWF is concerned, and is now busy launching his own exciting new venture, Education Design Labs (EDLabs). So the  main outstanding problem is a large, potentially exciting and creative gap in June where Learning Without Frontiers at The Barbican used to be…
Eylan Ezekiel (@eylanezekiel) was equally fed up at the LWF announcement, and had a good old rant about the loss on twitter and on his blog. This caught the attention of a bunch of like-minded mavericks and creatives, including @annapedroza

While some of us merely whinged, some of the dispossessed got creative. Anna and Eylan got going, and lo, #creat_ED was born. And, thanks to helpful support from The Barbican, it will be at the same place and at the same time as LWF, for the undoubted benefit of those who had already made their arrangements to be in London. Brilliant!

Contractually, of course, it is entirely separate from and different to Learning Without Frontiers, but it hopes to satisfy part of the LWF-shaped craving that other conferences can’t and won’t reach. For one thing, it isn’t a conference, but an unconference. Which in itself can excite the sort of creative debates and discussions that conferences frequently inhibit. Though, frankly, if it’s eloquent discursions and witty sophistry you seek that weekend, you could always head over to Wellington for the ‘Festival of Education’

I’m sure there will be erudite angels dancing on pinheads down there, but I am not sure how truly festive it will be? Great minds think alike, and fools Seldon differ (Ed: Groans). A lot will be said, and eloquently, and much will be excellent, but, when all is said and done, I doubt much will be done?
Now creat_ED, on the other hand, promises to be about DOING, not TALKING. As with LWF, it is the mixture of the creatives, the doers, alongside the educationalists, technologists and academics, that can turn an event from a talking shop to a really productive festival. With an enhanced focus on outputs, not on inputs. Anyone who has attended events like MozillaFest will understand what I mean - the emphasis is on the crowd-sourcing, sharing and creating, rather than the sitting and listening.
The event has already attracted some well-known creatives to help lead the day’s activities. The Maker movement is currently exciting educators everywhere. Who better to explain what is going on than Alice Taylor and Jo Roach, two of the co-founders of Makie Lab, producing the first 3D printed game-enabled toys. Alice will be known to many educators from her time at Channel 4 Education, where her team’s online and original digital thinking totally transformed what the world of education expected from their television companies, and won lots of well-deserved awards too.

Also on hand will be Stevyn Colgyn, currently employed as a QI elf, a job title not often noted down the Jobcentre, and one I know many would kill for – though I believe the QI elves are somewhat less belligerent than Legolas and his mates.  

And wearing the top hat, as master of ceremonies, there will be Fred Garnett, probably the least Bectan of all that organisation’s ex-employees. And mercifully better known for his thoughtful facilitative anarchy at academic events and his life-long passion and erudition on all things Beatle-related.
Why am I going? To be honest, I don’t know… and that is exactly WHY I am going. If it was that predictable, I probably wouldn’t be interested in being there. 

But as LWF showed, if you bring together the right anarchic and creative bunch of people into a shared space, some great things can happen. And I know that creat_ED has already managed to attract enough interesting people for me to have a great time. OK, there may be bits that don’t hit my button, but with multiple strands of activity and so many of the right people there, there is bound to be something that fires me up.  And talking of the ticket money, the price of this unconference is significantly less expensive than LWF would have been. It is easy to register via the site through Eventbrite. And at £40 a pop it’s cheaper than taking my kids out for a pizza, and sure to be infinitely more exciting. (Note: I will NOT be starving my kids to pay for the ticket – it was not meant as a literal alternative. ;)

Education Design Labs / EDLabs: (coming soon)

Alice Taylor  & Jo Roach:

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Why we’re doing it


Creat_ED has been conceived in response to the news that the annual Learning Without Frontiers (LWF) conference, which was scheduled for June 2013, had been cancelled.

LWF occupied a distinct space where educators could meet in dialogue with technologists, scientists and creatives. Members of the LWF community believe it’s important to preserve this space, and are organising Creat/ED on a voluntary basis.  

Creat_ED is a testimony to the work of Graham Brown Martin who carved out this space and built an amazing community (which continues to grow).

Creat_ED is inspired by LWF, but it’s an unconference, no-frills event where active participation is key. We invite everyone to take responsibility for co-creating the event and it’s outcomes.

Hope to see you there!