Today I was reminded again of an old NZEI union slogan that was going around when primary teachers were trying to get pay parity with secondary teachers "Shoe size shouldn't shape salaries". I was invited to attend "Touch the Future, Teach the Future", a conference put on for early childhood educators from around the north island by their ICT facilitators working with CORE-ed. This is the 3rd time they have held their annual hui at Pt England School, and every time I have been impressed by the level of integration of eLearning being carried out with these very young children. We should be very wary of making assumptions based on shoe size about what children are capable of learning using technology tools.
The workshops being held were for using tools that many primary and intermediate teachers are still not allowing their students to access. Photography, video editing, multimedia software, Comic Life, Voice Thread etc. And these, mostly women, have 3 and 4 year olds using this technology!
For my workshop on Oral Language I tried setting up my presentation in a Google site so the attendees could access all the material I presented afterwards. I was very pleased with the changes that have recently been made in Google sites and how easy it now is to embed and hyperlink all the content I wanted to.
Derek Wenmoth and Jane Nicholls, both from the CORE-ed team, gave inspiring keynote addresses, incorporating humour and challenge.
I came away at the end of today determining again to recommend to anyone going to ICT conferences such as ULearn to make sure that at least one of the workshops they attend is from the ECE sector. We all need to keep being reminded of what the kids wearing the smallest shoes are doing in their learning - even high school teachers!