John Davitt, back in London from the edge of Europe, shares six key principles for BETT 2016

Four years ago I left the UK and headed for the west of Ireland. After years of living a dual existence – UK writer, keynote speaker and developer versus sometime Irish peasant farmer and poet – I chose the latter and decided to give it a full-time shot.

The location was dramatic – five miles from the Atlantic up in the foothills of a coastal mountain range. What could go wrong?

Since then I have bred a small flock of sheep renovated Hare Cottage as a holiday rental, swapped my data projector for a chainsaw, my tweet for a dog-whistle and my laptop for a poly-tunnel. I have learned more than I ever thought possible and have climbed every mountain I can see from the front door.

'Missed face-to-face dialogue with committed classroom teachers'

Recently I realised that I had unfinished business at the point where learning and new tools meet. The thing I missed the most was direct face-to-face dialogue, plotting and workshopping with committed classroom teachers.

So I have developed these principles of practice into a workshop that I will take back on the road – just a little. At BETT I’ll be introducing the principles and some approaches to help make the most of them in the classroom. 

Later on in 2016 there will be another Learning on the Beach conference – it will be our third in Mulranny, County Mayo,

Ireland, out west at the water’s edge. I’ll keep you all posted. Meanwhile, it's good to be back, and virtually too. 

Davitt’s Six Principles of Practice for Technology Integration

The Learning Curve – Everyone has their own unique trajectory with new tools. This principle shows how to take ownership and annotate your own curve. Now with some extra tools to plot your own progress and keep the technology in its place as a servant in the learning process.

S&N – stands for subtlety and nuance!  When you first learn a new language you tend to shout “BONJOUR” It takes a while to settle down and whisper. We are still SHOUTING with technology. Perhaps we are still taking the easy wins and not driving it deeper and more subtle. There is still too much screen and not enough team. This is all OK of course – we just need to be thinking about how subtle all this can be. My sheepdog is still teaching me about this principle.

Ebb & Flow – From hand to screen and back again. Work needs to flow from paper to screen and back again – perhaps a lot more than it does. We need to learn more how to live powerfully in both worlds. See more on paper prototyping & notebooking (here at DavittLearning) 

Sensory Matrix – Too many learning situations still depend on teacher show and tell – whiteboards have made it worse at times. For many learners this is a Bermuda triangle from which no learning emerges. Show and tell is just the postage stamp – it’s time to walk the whole envelope of learning.

Active-Passive axis – The media industry want savvy but passive consumers – deeper learning lives at the other end of the spectrum in the make and do. This principle shows how to nudge all learners further down the active axis.

Difference Bingo – Celebrates difference and acknowledges that when the learning is new and difficult we will each walk a different path towards understanding. Play this game on the tube or bus to prove the principle – look at the three people nearest you and see how they are getting their learning. If they are all reading the same book, paper using the same app or device stand up and shout “difference bingo” send me a picture and I send you a prize – be warned it won't happen often – unless you are in a classroom and no prizes for that

John DavitJohn Davitt is a farmer, digital toolmaker & keynote speaker. His WordRoot language resource is currently under development as a mobile app and will be available in summer 2016
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Courses on outdoor learning & holiday cottage rental via Airbnb HareCottageLearning