The symposium kicked off with drinks and a keynote on the Monday night. First time if encountered this structure and I must say I’m a bit of a fan. The presentation, given by Phil Whitehouse from DT Digital, was extremely helpful in setting the tone and bring a perspective from outside the education sector.
Francis Kneebone gave the keynote the next morning which introduced HTML5 and the related concepts to the masses and contextualised it for many. The presentations that followed were a real blend of tech and education and gave a variety of different perspectives and demonstrated some of the real opportunities we have available to us.
I got the pleasure/curse of being the final presentation. A pleasure in the sense that I tried to bring together some of the threads and themes, but a curse because I was the last of 4 presentations and the only thing standing between the audience and afternoon tea. Well not the only thing – we had a quick panel for questions at the end
After a quick coffee we were split into small groups to go away and discuss the symposium and bring together our thoughts and ideas to share. This was something also I really enjoyed – an interactive session to debrief and align our thinking. So here are my main takeaways:
We were asked to come up with 3 words to sum up our ideas about HTML5. Interoperability was one of them and I liked that a lot as the practical description for my other word – Seamless. To me interoperable is how the technology needs to function, but the experience of the user should be seemless. They shouldn’t be able to tell where the joins are, when technology or systems shift, when languages and functions change. My third word would be Opportunity – which I feel is what HTML5 offers in spades. The opportunity and the motivation to rethink, redefine and rediscover what it is at the heart of what we do and how we do it.
Some of the other themes and ideas I still need to unpack – but here’s a quick overview:
- We need to prioritise the definition and start the process of questioning to get to the heart of the matter – for the student/staff and developers sake.
- Switch to Toddler Mode. Start by asking why repeatedly – then explore concepts and ideas with a new perspective and embrace new thinking that adapts to a changed world.
- Shared problems could be solved with shared solutions and perhaps it’s a time for collaboration rather than competition. Changes in systems don’t threaten business models, intellectual property or market share – it’s what we do with them that differentiates them.
- Challenge assumptions and expectations – because mobile will (see Phil’s example where 89% of access to a new Vodafone campaign came via mobile).
Links to presentations:
- Phil Whitehouse – The bigger context
- Francis Kneebone – Mobile First: Are you responsive?
- Julian Davis – Developing native apps using HTML5 and Phone Gap
- Helen Farley & Neil Martin – HTML5: New opportunities, old threats
- Tim Klapdor – Standing on the shoulders of giants: Improving exiting systems with HTML5