iPadPalooza 2017-The end of an era in #EdTech

What an amazing week at iPadPalooza 2017 in Austin , Texas! But, it’s the last one EVER! The Notorious M.R.H (That’s Mr Carl Hooker @MrHooker, and a rap joke just for him) has created and captained a game changer event for 6 exciting years. Yet again, this year’s event attracted top education influencers, world renowned keynoters, and had everyone dancing, singing, and constantly excited to be learning.

Four lead-learners for 2017

It was fantastic to unite, or indeed reunite with some of my favourite influences and edu-friends. I thought I’d give four in particular a special mention as I hadn’t met them before and their message was so right for now.

Dan Ryder @WickedDecent

Dan is both super-clever and fun, often simultaneously. Like me, he has a love for Design Thinking as an authentic process for learning and problem solving. He also emphasises, through a love for improv, the need for classrooms to increase the amount of time learners spend truely engaging with other learners, thinking on their feet and living in the moment. His sessions were active and challenging, while being inclusive and fun for all participants. Dan gave me much food for thought and his sessions directly improved my session the following day. Thanks Dan and yes, you are a fun+hair+clothes+attitude+mindset clone of my kiwi mate Steve Mouldey! 🙂


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Steve Dembo @Teach42

It was fun and thought provoking to both chat with Steve in the greenroom and watch him in his sessions. He’s really connected with where kids are at, how they think, and what’s important to and for them. He feel’s their pain within conventional schooling and understands their confusions too. In conversation, we discussed the opportunities within the craze of Fidgit-Spinners. While his session explained the power of and confusion caused by the seemingly simple internet meme. A real thought provoker and owner of expensive Fidget Spinners too. Thanks Steve, you’ll impact on my work immediately.

Kerry Gallagher @KerryHawk02

Kerry exudes intellect. Her 15 minute mini-keynote, sandwiched between two other awesome presentations, was just as powerful. Unlike me, Kerry doesn’t mess around. Her work is all well-researched and organised. Both the keynote and her session later were game-changers for many people I spoke to afterwards. It was so good to see the misconceptions about screen-time being covered, particularly at an event called “iPadPalooza”.

Few adults realise the extent of their own screen-time as they pontificate (using long words to pretend I’m as clever as Kerry 🙂 about children playing Mindcraft and such. She also shares my passion for empowering children with strategies to lead their own learning. Fab stuff, Kerry!

Tom Murray @ThomascMurray

For me, the event started on Monday with a iLead session for administrators led by Tom Murray. I’m not saying Tom’s important in the world of education, but his personal connections include the words “Whitehouse” and “Ken” and “Robinson!” His session hit all the current trends and decisions that schools in 2017 need to be aware of. As a Kiwi, it was reassuring to me that as Tom explained how American education needed to change, he described much of what’s going on in New Zealand already. I was really pleased to see the excellent work that Tom and Future Ready Schools are doing and the useful resources they’re producing for free. Thanks Tom, honoured to meet you.

End of an Era

Those who’ve read my blog for a while will know I used to be iPadWells and switched in 2015 to EduWells for all my social media.  I wrote a post about the reasons for this change at the time. Part of this talked about the natural evolution the edTech community is going through and how I, as an early adopter, was enjoying all the highs while also suffering all the lows.

The first of these was the initial excitement about the iPad. In 2011, schools started using a device that wasn’t a laptop, was tactile, had a camera, and so seemed like it was going to change education across the world. In many ways, the iPad has had a huge impact, but like so many issues in the world, the edTech community is coming to terms with more issues relating towards mindset than technology.

As the edu-conversation shifts from technology use to understanding the process and ownership of learning for all students and teachers, whatever event Carl Hooker dreams up next probably wont start it’s name with “iPad.” That said, it has been an incredible 6 years for iPadpalooza. Carl, his family, and his school should be mightily proud of how they have impacted on world education. I’m proud to have been a small part of it, that’s for sure! Thanks, Carl!

Others influencers I met that you MUST Follow:

  • Felix Jacomino : Lead, inspire, piano, sing, edTech, The jedi of Everything!
  • Lisa Johnson : THE creative force in EdTech!
  • Brianna Hodges : Future-ready educator changing the world, one Texas at a time!
  • Dean Shareski : So talented and intelligent, it scares me!
  • Monica Burns : Can answer any EdTech question in less than 3 seconds!
  • Brett Salakas : Adds excitement the size of Australia to all classrooms he goes near!
  • Julie Willcott : So experienced in EdTech, I was scared to say anything! 🙂
  • Ron Brown: Children first every time … and will do any dance for an iPad! 🙂
  • Lucas Loughmiller : The king of learning fun, partly because he decided to stay a 10-year-old! #lol #PokemonPlayer
  • Jona Nalder : So clever, he knows the FUTURE-U
  • Don Goble : Making learning REEL! (That’s a pun not a typo!)
  • Tara Martin : More edTech energy than Kansas can handle … so she travels 🙂
  • Audrey O’Clair : Thank god someone brought Soundtrap to the party!