Welcome back for the continuation of my review of session one of the ClassTech conference stream. If you missed the previous article, you can find it here. I have sat down today to write this article and have discovered that when I was writing last night, I was turning two pages in my notebook rather than one page and so was getting my notes mixed up. While I had written that this article would focus on the remainder of session one, with talks from Cathie Howe and Jill Margerson, when I realised what I had done, and double-checekd the agenda in the FutureSchools app, I realised that Cathie Howe’s talk was the close of session one, and that Jill Margerson was actually speaking later in the conference. So this conference will be a nice short one, holding only Cathie’s talk, and then I will write about session two in tomorrow’s article.
Cathie Howe (@Cathie_H) from MacICT (@MacICT) did still speak after Jennie Magiera, under the title of Telling Stories with data. I heard Cathie speak at FutureSchools last year, and last year, I found that the talk did not hit my interest then, and when I saw what the title of this talk was, I did switch off a little. Cathie made the point that data is becoming more and more important to us as teachers and that it is becoming more important that both teachers and students understand how to interpret data.
Cathie spoke about how storytelling and data can facilitate the melding of skills from computer science, statistics, artistic design and storytelling in an approximately four to five-minute long video. She related how narratives are how we, as humans, simplify and make sense of a complex world and that infographics are a starting point for this, specifically that many charities have found that infographics or information pamphlets with a narrative base generate greater donation levels than those which are primarily statistics.
Cathie spoke about the wide range of free datasets that are available online and suitable for use with students of varying ages, and that it is easy to download a data set, upload it to Google Sheets and share it to students for analysis, and that the use of pivot tables can generate a strong basis for historical inquiry.
Cathie commented that students need to get to the point of frustration and that it is our role to then provide the scaffolding to help them move beyond that point. Cathie closed out by providing us with the above photo showing a range of sites from which to obtain data that can be utilised to generate inquiry before we moved into the morning break.
I did note, whilst making my way into the Expo hall, that the organisers had, this year, put up a display of a map and all of the roundtables along with who had registered for each roundtable, which was a fantastic idea, and incredibly useful.
I also found this sign:
I have not attended the EduTech conference in the past, given that it is in Brisbane, so it will be interesting to attend that next year instead of FutureSchools, as it moves to Melbourne.
Thank you for reading this article, and as always I would love to hear your thoughts on this article.