On the 30th of August, 2014, somewhere over the Tasman Sea, I had an epiphany.
The Origins, 30 August 2014
I was returning home from the first New Zealand PHP Conference in Wellington. As a web teacher and amateur PHP enthusiast, I had been looking forward to that conference all winter. I built some wonderful connections during that conference, including a long-time friendship with Developer Steve.
Steve recognised me from the Parramatta WordPress Meetup weeks ago, and even though I did recognise him immediately, we became fast friends. Steve is like that – he’s a true networker. And we’d discovered we were on the same flight back to Sydney, and I had swapped seats so we could chat on the way home.
Steve had been one of the speakers at the conference (and if you’ve ever seen a Developer Steve jam, you’d know why he’s memorable). Being a quiet, starry-eyed TAFE teacher, I envied his high-flying conference speaker lifestyle. Steve challenged me on this – why wasn’t I speaking at conferences, what was holding me back.
And pretty soon he had me convinced I should start applying to speak. I didn’t think I would be accepted at something like a PHP conference – I don’t write much code. But maybe… “well there is this Learning Management System that we use at our TAFE campus…”
The idea was a hard one to shake. Perhaps I had a story to share. I started investigating and pretty quickly stumbled across “MoodleMoots”. The next Moot in my part of the world was in New Zealand, in Nelson, in a mere five weeks time. So I pretty quickly booked another trip back to the land of the long white cloud.
MootNZ14: Nelson, 1 – 3 October 2014
I remember a few of my first impressions of flying into Nelson. First of all, the plane was tiny. That was slightly terrifying, but I survived. Next, everyone on the plane seemed to get on the same shuttle bus I had booked. And everyone on that shuttle bus seemed to show up the next day at NMIT for the conference.
I had booked the Moodle Mobile workshops for that Moot. Knowing my students and their smartphones, I knew this is the future, and I wanted to be a part of mLearning. I met some great people at that workshop – too many to name. And of course, I met the one and only Stuart Mealor; he was a little busy running the show but still approachable as ever.
The two presentation days were very good. There were some interesting ideas of how to use Moodle I had not considered, and it was interesting to see how Moodle was enabling so many educators. And I was able to satisfy my PHP coding needs in some of the technical sessions.
Martin Dougiamas himself was there to deliver a keynote from the pulpit. Literally, it turned out as the NMIT campus used an old chappel as a meeting room.
I flew home full of inspiration. I had ideas about how to improve my courses, how to deliver my web design content in a blended manner, how to build a gradebook to show my students their progress.
And inspiration on how to share my story, how to follow my friend Steve down the path of conference speaker.
Later that month, I applied to present at the next not-that-far-away Moot the next February in Kyoto, Japan. “Hey, it’s a long shot,” I said to myself submitting my talk, “If I get accepted, then I’ll worry about explaining to my spouse why I need to go to Japan on the heels of two trips to New Zealand.”
MootNZ19: Auckland, 1 – 3 October 2019
It’s hard to believe it’s been that long since Nelson, but five years (to the day!) there will be another MoodleMoot in New Zealand. Unitec in Auckland will be this years’ host.
In fairly recent news, I am very happy to say I’m going to join you in Auckland for the Moot. Now, I had presented at the 2016 Moot in Whangarei, so it does break the Hollywoodesque-triumphant-return narrative that I have tried to craft with this post. But nevertheless, I am going to be on the program. I’m not going to reveal all my cards yet, so stay tuned. I am proud to be a part of MootNZ19 and be a guest of the wonderful New Zealand Edtech community!
One exciting development in the past five years is the rise of H5P. It will feature prominently at this Moot, with an entire day of presentations and workshops.
So why not join me? Register for MootNZ19 now – if you have not already done so.
Upcoming Asia Pacific Moots…
Hey, have I mentioned MoodleMoot New Zealand yet? MootNZ19 will take place at Unitec in Auckland from October 1 to 3! Look at all the ElearningWorld writers who’ll be there; meet Catherine Duncan, Richard Jones, Tish Kirkland, Tabitha Parker, and Miriam Laidlaw in person.
It might seem like far away, but MoodleMoot Japan 2020 will take place in Kumamoto at Sojo University on February 25 to 28.
…and other Elearning/EdTech Conferences
The 2019 National VET Conference will be held in Brisbane on September 12 & 13. Attend this one! Come see me present “What to Consider when Selecting an LMS”!
uLearn19 is being hosted by CORE Education in Rotorua from October 9 to 11.
RESCON, a flipped classroom conference, is taking place in Brisbane on October 18 & 19.
EduTech Asia is being held this November 4 to 7 in Singapore.
The 2019 Eportfolio Forum will be held in Canberra, on November 20 & 21. If you’re a Mahara user, you’ll want to check it out.
ASCILITE 2019, for those using educational technologies in tertiary education, in Singapore on December 2 to 5. “Personalised Learning. Diverse Goals. One Heart.” is this year’s theme.
And I am almost as exhausted typing all these out as if I were to attend them all. Please let me know in the comments if you find the conference calendar useful!