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Changing environments: from Education to Veedubs in 2 easy steps

Changing environments: from Education to Veedubs in 2 easy steps

Last week I had the pleasure to attend and present at the Education in a Changing Environment Conference 2011 at Salford University. The conference has been going for a number of years now, but this years event pushed the boundaries further than before to produce an exceptional event. It’s the first conference of its kind that I’ve attended, but having spoken to various other delegates, there was a massive buzz and excitement about this year’s event. The conference was a fine mixture of interesting and inspiring key note speakers, panels, paper presentations, Pecha Kucha, workshops, posters and more. The standard of these were very high and the mixture of international delegates and experience of various levels led to some challenging and thought provoking debates.

Most of the conference was based in the beautiful venue of the new Mary Seacole building at the University. On Thursday however, it moved over to MediaCityUK for the first conference at this amazing new destination for an inspiring keynote speech from the head of BBC learning Saul Nassé and onward to a conference dinner at the Lowry.

I had the pleasure of presenting my paper on my open access e-portfolio project, Creative Hive, which yielded some great questions from a packed room and new discussions with people from Salford and beyond. I conducted a little experiment to digitally survey what mobile devices people were using. About a third of the room were able to connect and participate which demonstrated the large number and wide variety of mobile devices that people are using as conference aids and teaching tools. Android devices as some predicted are on the rise at the moment.

The Northern Twittersphere went crazy for a few days with the #ece11 hashtag, which produced a fascinating crowd sourced running commentary of the event for both attendees and interested parties from around the world. In an international spirit, lunch was hosted in outdoor marquees with a world food festival with a live band. The organisers really pulled out all the stops this year on all fronts and it really made me proud that my University and colleagues had organised such a brilliant event.

From the conference, I headed South to Staffordshire straight to Camper Jam 2011 at Weston Park. This festival is organised by the magazine that I write articles for ‘VW Camper and Commercial’. It features camper van displays of all ages and some beautiful vans and interiors. The festival has excellent live music and hundreds of great stalls of different varieties and the best mixture of food I’ve seen at a festival. It’s a very family friendly event with lots for the kids to do, and even more for the big kids! We were asked to put our camper into a display of Type 5 VW’s which was an experience.

It struck me that although these events are radically different; they had these things in common:

1. They are both organised by colleagues
2. Exceptionally high quality and well organised events
3. They offer an international array of food and music
4. They are very much the events to watch on the events calendar
5. They had a great and diverse mixture of interesting folk and activities.

I’m guessing I’m one of the few that went directly from ECE to a camper van festival, but it struck me that our environment is changing radically, but with events like ECE and Camper Jam, I see a lot of things to be thankful for and to be positive about.

I am sure I am only a touch biased when I say that every similar event to ECE and Camper Jam should be looking at these to say – ‘this is how it should be done.’

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Jul 11, 2011 : Helen Keegan Says:

Great post Alex - I have veedub w/e envy, of course...

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