EduTech 2013 – A Curated Montage

EduTech 2013 was held in the city Australians affectionately call, “Bris-Vegas” because frankly, it’s absolutely nothing like the other exciting city in the US. However, with a major educational technology conference at the Convention Centre, we could have been mistaken.


I don’t know what possessed me NOT to carry my laptop to the EduTech Conference. In my own naive way, I don’t like to carry a lot of stuff with me. When I travel – I travel light because I’ve always abided by “if you can’t carry it yourself, you’re carrying too much” – maybe that’s my old military training but this obviously doesn’t take into account an age where you have a multitude of different electronic devices and cables.

I thought the tablet would suffice but my cumbersome fingers simply couldn’t tap at the tiny keyboard quick enough so it hindered me more than it helped. It also meant I couldn’t blog every night because the idea hunched over the tablet and typing out one letter per time was enough to put me to sleep.

So I made a note to myself that I was going to buy myself a wireless keyboard.

Now that we have got that out of the way, I thought I’d collect or ‘curate’ a mish-mash of various links, tweets, photos, blogs of EduTech 2013 for you all.

So What Is EduTech?

Rather than explain what EduTech is about, here’s a video with some of the key note speaker’s of this year’s conference such as Stephen Heppell, Dan Pink and Ewan MacIntosh talk about what this conference is about. Next year’s promises to be much bigger!

My Thoughts on EduTech


This was my first EduTech Conference and I enjoyed all the key note speakers immensely. Many, if not all, had spoken at Ted conferences and it’s more than likely you would have seen these online.

I enjoyed Dan Pink’s opening address where he explained that breakthroughs and innovations come from non-commissioned work and he asked us how much of our work is non-commissioned? He talked about reward and motivation and frankly, much of it was simply common sense but you have to wonder why organisations haven’t made that connection and continue to control so that people can “comply and defy” (his words).

Sal Khan was then live linked from the US and I enjoyed the story he told about how he was backed by Bill Gates for his Khan Academy project. Starting off from humble beginnings trying to help his cousins with their maths studies, the idea has grown and captured the imagination of the world who now have free education at their fingertips to pursue their dreams.

I also enjoyed Charles Jennings presentation because it resonated with me. He explained that L&D professionals have a long way to go and we need to provide:

  • New and challenging experiences
  • Opportunities for practice
  • Rich conversation and networks
  • Spaces for reflection

He mentioned “learning is the work and the work is the learning” which became a bit of a mantra in the Corporate and Government Congress over the two days.

Hearing his presentation only confirmed that I was on the right track for mine because I had mentioned 3 of the above points with my own personal story.

Once I heard his presentation, I calmed down immensely and wasn’t as nervous about my presentation.

The only piece of advice I’d give organisers for EduTech next year is to open the congresses up so that people can move freely from one congress to another. There were presentations that I would have loved to have heard – especially around BYOD – that simply weren’t mentioned in the corporate and government congress even though these are important topics companies are grappling with today. I also felt that the ‘government’ side was mainly vocational education providers who are also going through massive upheaval in their industry too and they could have also had something relevant to demonstrate or present to the corporates.

I was also surprised that many people didn’t use Twitter nor had heard of a MOOC in our corporate and government congress. It just seemed that there was a Twitter party going on with all the other congresses and word hadn’t reached ours just yet.

My Presentation

To say that I was excited to attend EduTech 2013 is a bit of an understatement. It was the first time I attended a large conference of this scale and certainly the first one I ever spoke at. When I was first invited to speak admittedly I was hesitant and I spent months mentally preparing for it. I spent hours on my presentation with many drafts and only one weekend a few weeks ago I simply had a panic attack. I didn’t feel that I was getting my key message across in my presentation and frankly, I was boring myself.

That is until my husband came to the rescue.

“Tell them your story. Tell them what you have been doing by way of professional development. Your challenges at work, your wins – they want to hear that!”

He was right. I threw my presentation in the bin and started again. This time, I started with what I love and am passionate about – my knitting. I linked my passion for this craft with how I learned the skill through a small community of experts [‘a community of practice’] and talked how I applied this concept to a peer-to-peer learning program I developed in our organisation. I talked about my love of Twitter for putting me into direct contact with a global network of experts – my Personal Learning Network and talked about the challenges when other people in L&D simply don’t “get” what you’re doing or see it as a threat to the future of their jobs or the status quo.

I talked about the Twitter for Professional Development sessions I facilitated with three different companies to over 50 L&D people and also the two main development activities which were participation and contribution in a cMOOC, Educational Technology #ETMOOC and Jane Hart’s Social Learning Centre UK whose online workshops have been instrumental in completely changing my mindset.

Once I did that, my story flowed. I put some photos together and created my PowerPoint slides and I believe it went well.

Despite being nervous and standing behind the lectern, I spoke from the heart and just told them my story. People warmly received the presentation and I had a few people even come up and tell me that they had signed up for a Twitter profile after my presentation. Already I have made many connections who would like to continue the conversation and set up some time to meet. I was honoured to have been given the opportunity to say my story as I think it resonated with many people too.

Here is the slide show:

Feedback on My Presentation

I took a snapshot of the feedback from my presentation. I was trying to resist looking at my feed of reading that I had bored people to death.


Feedback v2

The Storify Stories

I loved Mark Sullivan’s Storified tweets because they gave you an accurate picture of what was going on in other congresses. Here they are:

In the end, I sent a tweet out to him in because I thought the other congresses had other presentations I wanted to hear but of course, I’m at a conference. You always think that the grass is always greener in the other conference room. In the end, we got to see a good cross reference of different types of corporate learning, coaching and mentoring programs as well as a demonstration of new Captivate 7.

At one stage i was thinking of going to another congress but as i didnt have a program of events and rooms, I used Twitter to find out what was going on.

Is the grass greener in other conference rooms?

Is the grass greener in other conference rooms?

The Blogs

Here are some blogs that mention EduTech 2013. I’m not sure if there are any more but thanks to Paul for contributing a corporate perspective to this event.

The Presentations:

I’m sure there would be others out there but all key note speakers have spoken on similar themes that you can find on Ted or You Tube sites.

The Music

After all the sessions were completed on the first night, we gathered in the Exhibition Hall for ‘Networking Night’. After my presentation, I thought I had earned myself a glass of wine so the waitress wandered over with a tray laden with alcoholic beverages, chose my “Sav Blank” (for wine afficionados I know it’s Sauvignon Blanc but to an Australian, it’s Sav Blank) and sat down to listen to these school kids playing music. They weren’t bad actually.

Downed in a few gulps

Downed in a few gulps

But anyone who knows how to play an instrument and sing are legends according to me. (I have no musical inclination whatsoever – unless I’m playing Guitar Hero and that’s an entirely different matter where I reach legendary rock star status….in my own mind).


Riverside Christian College – Band Winners for EduTech

3D Printing

3D printing fascinates me. I don’t know why. It just does.

I know someone who creates various props for sci-fi clubs with the 3D printer set up in their garage. Last week they told me that they were printing a second printer.

The concept just threw me.

“Printing your own printer?” I asked incredulously.

“Yep! The version upgrade!

“Let me just sit and think about this.” I said. Mind does not compute…

So I saw these little baby 3D printers and thought I’d go and investigate a bit more. This printing machine costs $1600.

Last night, I tried to explain the concept to my father after showing him this video and it went something like this…

“Hang on, so it’s making this bit?” he asks.

“Yep, it’s printing it.”

“With what? With plastic?” he asks

“Yes, see that tube there? It’s filled with powder that is plastic and printed to the design on the computer.” I explain in my non-scientific manner.

“Printing?” he questions.

He adds, “but what’s the point of printing that? Why would I want to print plastic bits?”

This is getting too hard so I automatically revert to my story, ” I know someone who is printing a printer”

“But why? That’s just pointless.”

Okay, getting nowhere. Let’s move on – maybe he would like the interactive table?

Interactive Table

Well maybe not. My dad is an artist and when I showed him this – the look on his not impressed face said it all.

Let’s move on.

Maybe an interactive whiteboard? Possibly? Maybe?

Interactive Whiteboards

I was really surprised with the amount of vendors selling these interactive whiteboards and tables. They were everywhere and frankly, they didn’t really wow me as much as the printer. Here’s what I’m talking about.

My Impression of the Multitude of Interactive Whiteboards at Edutech


and not alone in that thought…


My Zeega Slideshow

Why not try out one of the multitude of cool sites that create funky slideshows for something a bit different (and to learn more about Zeega) so I created my slideshow of the photos I took here.

See You Next Year?

So what do you think? Coming next year?

Details on EduTech 2014 here….

How I Spent My Time in Brisbane:

If you do visit, then you need to know a bit about Brisbane. I took one day leave to visit the art galleries of Queensland Art Gallery and the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art and a wonder through the fantastic music exhibit “Live Band Culture” at the State Library.

My photos are here.

About Brisbane Stuff:

About Helen Blunden

My unique super power is that I see learning experiences in everything I do. #alwayslearning
This entry was posted in Development, ETMOOC, Work Narration and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to EduTech 2013 – A Curated Montage

  1. Pingback: What I Learned in May & June | Activate Learning Solutions

  2. Thanks Matt, yes, it was worth it from the point of view that you got to see a broader cross section of learning across all different industries.

  3. No worries Rebekah, see you then!

  4. Thanks for this post Helen, as someone who wasn’t able to attend it gave me a sense of what went on. I’ll definitely be attending the event next year!
    Cheers Matt

  5. Great post Helen. Thanks for taking the time to put it together. Several take away messages have planted in my mind which is a good indicator of a memorable post. Looking forward to hearing more in a couple of weeks.

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