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It's all about the conversation

Whenever you get a bunch of interested people together to discuss ideas, it will always succeed

We held our Learning and Innovation forum at the Northern Sydney Institute on 18 September. Of all the wonderful presentations and displays, the most important and rewarding elements involved conversation.

Every presentation, from Dan Haesler to Professor Shirley Alexander, including Pauline Farrell (via video), and multiple sessions with NSI staff, was well attended and enthusiastically received. Every display of hi-tech from 3D printing to giant interactive displays was amazing. Yet it was when we reached the "any questions?" part of each session that the true gems appeared. That was when people started presenting their own views, when a two-way interaction started to happen. That was when the day moved from enjoyable to inspiring.

Whenever you get a bunch of interested people together to discuss ideas, it will always succeed. So I guess that's the way for education to always succeed.

Shirley Alexander spoke at great length around the design of spaces at the new $1.5 billion UTS campus – no lecture theatres, all collaboration spaces – all conversation.

Dan Haesler's presentation featured interactivity between the audience, himself and Twitter. It was more like a conversation.

And our panel of students, teachers and learning co-ordinators was all conversation as well. From start to finish.

So when we're planning the future of teaching and learning, whether it's online, blended, or on-campus, I think we know what will work best. Just get a bunch of interested people together to discuss ideas.

(Note - this is an edited version of a post that was published on the TAFE NSW Innovation Network website on 21 September 2014.)