Starting the new year 2010

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Having enjoyed a thoroughly relaxing and refreshing break over Christmas and New Year camping at the beach with my extended family I’m now back at work to see what 2010 has is store for us all. Here are just a few of the things that come to mind as I prepare myself for the first day back…

A hot topic for 2010 around NZ will undoubtedly be the expansion of the advanced network. An article by Brett O’Reilly in this morning’s Herald provides a pretty good summary of what the advantages to NZ will be from this activity – schools do actually get a (small) mention! News that REANNZ has had more funding approved for its activity in this area for the further development of the KAREN network is also good news.

With the increased speed and capacity of the advanced network we’ll see all sorts of developments in the area of video conferencing – I see that Skype are currently working with two TV manufacturing partners (LG and Panasonic)  to embed Skype in the latest generation of internet-connected widescreen HDTVs. This will certainly bring video conferencing a lot closer to the general population. According to Skype, up to 5 million Skype-enabled TVs will be delivered during 2010, but the TV alone will not do it. In addition to a high-speed connection, users will need to purchase a specially designed web cam.

Speaking of innovation – it will be interesting to see how many applications the MoE receive for their new position of Manager, eLearning Innovation, very inconveniently advertised over the period that everyone was away on holiday – applications close at the end of today, so there’s still time to apply 🙂

All of this talk of innovation again highlights the need for effective professional development in order to remain current in our thinking and practice. A couple of events worth putting in your diaries for 2010 are the DEANZ conference, to be held in Wellington from 25 – 28 April, and ULearn, to be held again in Christchurch from 5-8 October. The DEANZ conference will be of particular interest to those involved in online learning and distance education of any description, while ULearn caters for teachers and leaders from the ECE and school sector.

As a final thought before I head off to start the day I thought I’d share a link to a blog post by Dr Leo Casey, Director of the Centre for Research and Innovation in Learning and Teaching at National College of Ireland. Leo shares his “top ten insights for learning” – a series of reflections based on his observations and experiences as a teacher. An excellent summary that cannot be read without challenging some of the things we encounter in our present paradigm in schools and tertiary institutions!

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