Wow, what an event. We were contacted by the team at TECHpalooza to provide some Custom Cardboard VR Headsets for the event with the opportunity to become Silver Sponsor!
TECHpalooza is an event put on for educators focusing on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) in our schools. Visitors hailed from locations around Australia and even a strong contingent from New Zealand which added a great flavor to the palooza!
Now what is a palooza, essentially it is an exaggerated event. So something fun, outgoing and outlandish which it was.
Thank You Mr Hooker for a winning endnote…and bringing Vanilla Ice back? Brilliant!! @mrhooker @NikkiMM11 @teachingyoungo1 @art_cathyhunt @TECHpaloozaGC #techplza #crss #crssgeeks #fullsteamahead pic.twitter.com/aDrsZJEnrK
— E-J Hadfield (@ejayz18) October 5, 2018
I was not really sure what to expect, I knew that there were loads of activities and keynote speeches on Education and how Technology can fit into that space.
The Gold Coast weather was superb for our visitors and that matched the action on the main stage. The event started out with us as a group composing our own version of Bobby McFerrin’s hit “Don’t Worry Be Happy”. This was composed on an iPad both on stage and in the audience via Garageband.
It really came together well and I was surprised at the flexibility that Garageband provided as I had never used it.
— Shelley Cross (@ShelleyCros) October 4, 2018
We had a few Introductions then we were into the Keynotes.
For me, being one of the only people at the event that is not an educator I was about to be blown away by the content in these keynotes.
The optimism, passion, care and the feeling on that stage was clearly evident.
The feeling that everyone was working toward providing an elevated and innovative way of teaching students from all backgrounds and abilities made me very happy.
Some of the material and ideas that were spoken about in these keynotes was for me staggering and shows me how far the education industry has come since I was in school.
What also struck me was that there was a lot of talk about giving students more ownership, making them think a little differently and come up with their own solutions.
I also felt a definite entrepreneurial feel, students with the help of Technology are able to build solutions and test and create boundaries through their learning.
This kind of thinking will certainly pay dividends as these kids enter the workforce and or the more likely as time moves on, create their own companies.
— Kirsten Rangitaawa (@Kirsten_R_) October 4, 2018
After the keynotes, there were many events, lectures, and activities that we were able to try. I hung out with the VR crowd and visited Matthew Jorgenson who introduced an App called Cospaces which allows students from Grade 6 to build their own VR Apps to be used Cardboard Headsets or the Oculus Go.
This is a fantastic App, I will certainly write up a review on this at a later time and share it with all the Educators in my email list.
After lunch, I visited Jonathan Nalders experience which put us in teams of 3-4 and had us imagine we were going to Mars and building the first school on that planet.
The help us out we experienced Mars in VR via and experience on the Oculus Go and also many other great activities which included building widgets to simulate the gravity on Mars to actually looking at a rock from Mars.
There were many other activities and learning experiences which included AR, Drone Racing, System Thinking, Video and Risk Taking but to name a few.
My final thoughts on the day that I picked up on was that everyone seemed to understand that it is not about the tech.
What do I mean? Sometimes, people can get too focused on the actual tech. The components that devices use, CPU speed, Pixels and even the devices themselves.
One thing that I have learned over time is that the tech by itself is nothing. The tech combined with the right mindset is everything.
Everyone seemed to understand that people are the key, the soft skills and the fact that Technology is used to boost and serve us. It is not the other way around.
I have my own way of looking at tech in my industry, the XR (VR, AR, MR, and Immersive) industry.
XR gives us a 7th sense, it certainly makes us better if used in the right way and can give you experiences that you could only imagine.
But, we must create experiences for the right reason, sometimes in training and education, a check sheet can be more effective than an immersive experience.
On the hand, an immersive experience when used in the right context can be…. Can be our 7th sense and give students, athletes, and learners a magnificent boost.
If you get a chance to get to a TECHpalooza, do so, it is an amazing experience with an equal measure of amazing attendees.