Learning@School Conference, held 24 – 27 February 2009 in Rotorua


Six staff from Bucklands Beach Primary School attended the Learning@Schools conference in 2009. Overall, people found it to be excellent, with lots of opportunities for learning, networking and challenges to thinking.

People felt it was a great venue, with conference facilities, presenters, equipment and buses all well-organised. They also found the atmosphere friendly and staff/organisers helpful. In general we felt the food was very good, obviously with the exception of the conference dinner.

All keynotes and breakouts were useful and we gained a lot from all of them. There was a good balance between big picture and practical classroom ideas available. We did feel that there was conflict at times between the messages given in keynotes and those given in the breakouts (e.g. the need to think carefully about how we’re using ICT and the quality of the teaching and learning vs promoting using things like chat-rooms for what was really very low-level thinking because we should be using the technology that the children are using/will be using). This is where follow-up discussion in our school group has been useful to talk some of these issues through.

Selecting the breakouts was very time consuming and possibly could have been more user-friendly. Some sort of system where all options for a breakout session could be viewed on a desktop space for arrangement and selection would be helpful. Unfortunately, one of our teachers had selected her breakout sessions and had the confirmation printout with her, but it hadn’t gone through. However, conference staff couldn’t have been more helpful and they went out of their way to accommodate her in her chosen breakout options even though these were full.

We had a mixed response about the accommodation. Most people were very happy, but as we suggested to the Millenium, if the only rooms available are smoking rooms (which we felt were substandard) we would prefer for them to say they are full and allow us the opportunity to find alternative accommodation.

On the Friday morning during the ‘unconference time’, BBPS met as a group and shared/reflected on what we had learned and how it could apply. We also looked at next steps for our school. We found this time extremely valuable.

We all really valued the opportunity to attend the conference and feel confident that we have come back with many excellent ideas, challenges and practical ideas to take BBPS further forward in ICT.

Mellons Bay School:
Rene Glennie
Thought Ulearn was an inspiration. Would love to consolidate what I learnt there!! There were many examples of ideas we could use in our classrooms. Have to make time to play and learn how to do all these amazing things.

ULearn – the experience of ULearn for Ingrid was inspiring. As a result Ingrid have been inspired to implement literacy circles and blogging with video conferencing. Video conferencing is the way of the future and Ingrid is keen to incorporate this more into teaching and learning next year, throughout the school and even with other circles.

Lea Morton
The impact on teaching and learning shifts as a result of the attending the ULEARN conference.
I have a greater and deeper appreciation of how technology can impact my planning, teaching and assessment through attending various practical breakout sessions such as Get Scratching and Using Blogs and Wikis in Literature Circles. My thinking was challenged after listening to the two keynote speakers and it was good to be able to discuss what they said with other conference participants from my school as well as others. It was also good to be bale to ask questions of the various merchandise presenters as they were all in ‘one place at one time’.

Vanessa Elliott:
Ulearn was an inspiration. I have already begun to use some of the teaching strategies in my classroom. It was an amazing opportunity to dedicate 3 days to ICT Professional Development .

Hadleigh Benson
Hadleigh enjoyed the experience of Ulearn '09. Following the courses, he taught his students how to use blue-screen technology in order to super impose people onto the moon. He also used his new-found knowledge to enable students to use the digital video recorder to film their creative writings. He then taught the students how to insert lightning strikes, warp images, and modify the videos using special effects.

Paul was impressed with the over all organisation of the event and the balance of workshops available from practical activities that teachers could take back and use in their classrooms immediately to the pedagogy which looked at the bigger picture and the impact of ICT on learning in schools. Generally found the workshops (Breakouts) to be of more value rather than the key note speakers as it allowed more interaction between teachers and the chance to discover what other schools are doing, how they overcome problems and are implementing ICT in their schools.
He enjoyed the opportunity to view many of the new ideas surrounding ICT usage in a classroom environment. He was impressed with the idea of 'cloud computing' and the notion that school servers will become redundant in the near future as we move the information and files off-site to other servers. This will allow for greater expenditure on upgrading hardware: not maintaining it.


Hadleigh Benson
With the opportunity to present at the learning@school <mailto:learning@school> Conference 2009, Hadleigh has extended his ICT capabilities in the classroom setting. By having students present at the Conference, he has adjusted his pedagogy towards ICT and learning in order to meet the learning needs of students. The scope of the Blog "" has been extended and includes links to online tests, parent comments, student reflections, and a collection of student videos. The purpose of this is to create more dialogue with whanau and the wider community both local and global.

Douglas Choong
Learning@Schools conference 2009 has helped Douglas widen and deepen his scope in the use of ICT in children’s learning, especially with the use of interactive learning and e-Portfolio. This has given him the motivation and knowledge to kick off a chain reaction of his progressive development in ICT this year, including the integration of his class’ e-Portfolio, and the implementation of wiimote interactive system for his class and with other classes and teachers. – Douglas Choong, Senior Teacher (ICT)