This is by no means a comprehensive report on the HandHeld Learning conference held at Central Hall Westminster but just some general thoughts. The main plenary on Thursday morning was a long long slog. Three hours witout a break is a lot to ask no matter how interesting the speakers are. Though Mark Prensky certainly woke everyone up in the last half hour before lunch. For the rest of the two days, there were plenary and breakout sessions at the same time. I wanted to go to a particular breakout session and also to hear Stephen Heppell so ended up sneaking in an out of the main hall and then the session room and not hearing either of them fully. Not good organisation I thought.

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Early morning mist on Westminster Bridge

Interesting facts, from Siemans – they have shipped their last PDA they are now old technology. Samsung came up with the rather scary statement, that a student studying technology at university will find that what he learnt in the first year will be obsolete by the time he graduates!

In general I found the breakout sessions more useful than the main stage, the best bits for me were, Pembrokeshire college on mlearning and the disaffected, the whole, post 16 and Adult Learning session and the Reflections on Pedagogy session. I managed to send messages to Jaiku using my phone which was interesting and got loads of comments from Dave and James. A mention must go in for Andy Black who was a human whirlwind facilitating sessions, blogging and calming worried Molenet college reprasentatives, and must be sleeping for England this weekend.

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Central Hall Westminster, flying the flag for HandHeld Learning

Finally, the food: dear me – oh deary deary me. On Thursday lunchtime, we all dutifully meadered back into the main exhibition hall and catering staff were wandering about with trays of small bowls containing a small piece of potato and a scallop. Yum, I thought I love scallops – nice starter. Then they came out with more small bowls this time with a large prawn on a stick with the shell on. Try it, stand in the middle of a room with a bowl in one hand and a lollipop prawn in the other and attempt to eat it – you can’t. So we all ended up crowding round little tables and attempting to dismantle and eat what was eventually a delicious prawn. Next came more small bowls with a dessert spoon full of risotto. That was it. So when the drinks and canape reception started at 6 pm, we were all ravenous and throwing wine and beer into very very empty stomachs. I’ll just say the rest of the night was very good fun – and the following morning, rather fuzzy.

On the whole an ok conference but too much handheld and not enough learning.

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