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VTC2013 at SSIS

Vietnam Tech Conference (#VTC2013)

Presenting by Alice Bartlett CC BY NC

The first annual Vietnam Tech Conference (VTC2013) kicked off on Saturday 3rd March at Saigon South Int’l School (SSIS).  There are a host of great schools here with the idea that we can learn from each other.  The weekend schedule was pretty loose with workshops/presentations running on the Saturday and then some unconference work for Sunday including Speedgeeking and an Unconference session based on interest from the participants and organisers.

Schedule and blog of the Conference.

Here are some notes from the sessions that I was lucky enough to participate in:

Open Source Software by Urko Masse (SSIS)

There were two main themes here – finding longer term software solutions in education to work with our students on current and long term programs allowing longevity and continual access to the work created.  And secondly a collaborative community sharing ideas and wealth through further discussion and support of the developers and community that are creating these opportunities.

Urke shared his blog and the list of programs that SSIS uses in their MSHS.  Using open software has enabled SSIS to get around the common issue in Vietnam of illegal downloads and piracy of paid software but also to lessen the costs to SSIS and the headache for their tech department of only installing certain programs on certain computers in the school.  Urke shared that they are looking at putting all “suggested” open software that students are encouraged to have on their computers on a CD to give to parents at a parent info night, this would help to solve the issue of students not having access at home to programs or if the student’s personal computer has an issue, they have a back up machine at home.

Game-based Learning by Robert Appino

Game based learning is a hot topic.  What games do you like to play?  And why?  with these two questions Robert got us going.  If you ever get to attend a workshop or presentation by Robert, I strongly urge you to go, he is quickly able to captivate his audience and to get you feeling like your ideas and contributions are amazingly impressive.  He is a gifted communicator and is keen to share his ideas and philosophy.  I envy his students, they get to do amazing things

Game-based learning is the direction that Education is heading and quickly.  Games are important for learning as most games that we enjoy are challenging, easy to start, require little background reading and have clear objectives.  Games allow us to engage in a variety of ways, are addictive in some cases, and offer feedback through reward systems.  Games also allow us to move into more difficult levels or skills in order to continue to do well, and this requires risk taking and perseverance of the user to stay with the game and to keep trying new ways to beat the changes.  Robert also introduced the idea of using games to his English classes, for example using a popular game such as Temple Run to get students to write about the back story of the game or to discuss what will happen if you added a new challenge to the game and how the story would change.  Another example: What makes Mario Super?

If this interests you and you want to know more, the guru to read about is James Paul Gee and he has some great research to back up his claims.

I was also lucky enough to present, I will post this separately.

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