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Presentations at ULearn14

Update: The video of my keynote (and lots of other educational talks) can be found at EdTalks.  Again, here’s a link to the slides.  Comments much appreciated of course.


I’m just now heading back from ULearn14, a fantastic education conference run by CORE Education in New Zealand. Why fantastic? First and foremost, the people: 2000 educators who are serious about their work, and eager and enthusiastic to share ideas about how to improve it. They also know how to party.

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I was exposed to a number of new ideas – and technologies – which I intend to follow up upon in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I want to thank our hosts (Christina, Nick, Derek and everyone else), and make good on my promise to post my powerpoint slides here. I gave three talks:

1) A keynote entitled, “Teacher professional discourse and learning: what we talk about when we talk about our practice”. In this talk I make the case for attending to teacher learning from participation in informal conversations with their peers, bring together research and my own experience regarding the implicit rules that govern such discourse in many schools, and suggest some alternative norms for conducting conversations that have the potential to make us smarter about our practice.

It turns out that the keynote involved two simultaneous communicative events: my talk on the podium, and a hyperactive twitter conversation conducted by the audience. You can check out some of the posts from that conversation here. I’ve now joined twitter (my username is @ALefstein); next time I’ll try to follow the twitter comments in real time, which is what Katie Novak, the next speaker did.

slides for ULearn keynote on teacher professional conversations

2) A workshop entitled “Teaching and learning through dialogue – a grounded approach”. I gave a very brief introduction to dialogic pedagogy, and then we discussed Episode 2. You’ll note that some of the slides are much more professional looking than the others (thanks, Julia!).

slides for Dialogic Pedagogy workshop

3) A second workshop, “Developing Teaching through Video-based Peer Feedback Conversations”, in which I presented a model for post-lesson observation “dialogic debrief” that Rotem Trachtenberg and I have been trialling. It turned out that many of the participants had extensive experience with feedback systems, so we had a very good conversation (and jettisoned my plan for the workshop).

slides for dialogic feedback conversation workshop

Thanks again to all the participants and organizers for the stimulating conversations and for showing me such a great time. I hope to continue the conversation: please share your thoughts through the comments function on the blog or by e-mail.