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Close … and maybe a Small Panatela if not a Churchill? March 4, 2012

Posted by IaninSheffield in Inspiration, Musings.
Tags: , , , ,

Back from a much warmer and sunnier (at least than Sheffield in February) San Francisco and the DML Badges Competition and DML Conference 2012. It’s been a real privilege to be able to attend these two events and certainly not something I’d normally have the opportunity to enjoy.

The first day, as I mentioned in the previous post,was spent at CAS prepping for our pitch.


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo by ianguest: http://flickr.com/photos/ianinsheffield/6805497380/

There were a lot of people there, many teams having half a dozen and more members. Having just a single representative from each half was quite rare, but perhaps allowed us to make faster progress. Along with many serious and intense discussions, it also seemed that folks were having fun and enjoying each other’s company too. Less frivolity on the second day as teams readied for their pitches. We were one the first tranche and our pitch seemed to go OK – just one tricky question from one particular member of the panel of three judges. Didn’t recognise him at the time – one Mark Surman? Well I don’t suppose he knew me either.

A real shame about the pitches was that we didn’t get the chance to see each other’s presentations and enjoy hearing interesting and knowledgeable people talking about their passions. But given the complexity of the whole process and in the interests of fairness, I guess that wasn’t really a possibility.


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo by ianguest: http://flickr.com/photos/ianinsheffield/6942532521/

But what of the result? Did we win? Well sadly no; not in name anyway. (All the winners are listed here) Given the pedigree of many of the winners (Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy, Smithsonian National Design Museum, University of Michigan, Disney-Pixar, Intel, Microsoft, Badgeville and many more), there’s no shame in that I feel. Though in a way we still won because the solution offered by Richard with whom we were partnered has in fact been funded:

This partnership will allow Moodle to extend their current work, enabling badges and permit Mahara to add badges to their Gradebook resulting in a deeply representative electronic portfolio.

Given the importance and pervasiveness of Moodle and Mahara, funding the development of this infrastructure was crucial for Badges and in fact two other technical solutions were also funded – one for WordPress and one for the Peer-2-Peer University.  Since our ICT Quests are delivered through Moodle, we’ll still enjoy the benefits from this development.

And what of the DML Conference? Despite only being able to attend on the first day before I had to return home, I was able to enjoy listening to words of great wisdom from John Seeley-Brown, take part in two seminar/panel discussions (“Women and Girls Engaging with Technology” and “Are Badges the Answer? Perspectives on Motivation for Lifelong Learning”) and be inspired and entertained by the Ignite Talk speakers in the evening.

Oh and did I mention it was all in San Francisco?