Sunday, March 15, 2009

Conference in Melbourne

Well, it's been a busy little term so far. The more you have to blog, the less time you have to blog it, don't you find??

Taking up a lot of the first part of the year for us was preparing to present our research on Playcentre at a conference in Melbourne. It was a poster presentation, so working out how to display information in a suitably interesting and graphic way was part of the job.

Above you can see Bern discussing our research on governance of parent-led education providers with a delegate during the dedicated poster viewing 'happy-hour' at the conference. On the right of him is the second poster presentation from Playcentre, which is on the practicalities of engaging parents as educators in a co-operative setting (with no professional teachers in charge).

Our presentations were very well received. They were intriguing, inspiring and sometimes challenging to the many delegates who we were able to discuss them with. (I had a couple of stand-up rows with people who thought we were going a bridge too far!)

In the end, I think this was more effective way to communicate our ideas than a 25 minutes power point show, with time for a few questions afterwards, which is what the workshop presenters got.

The three presenters from Playcentre also 'worked the room' tirelessly at the conference! We button-holed most of the keynote speakers, and made sure that the views of parents-as-providers (rather than parents as passive recipients of services) was aired. Otherwise many speakers seemed to assum that parents were pretty useless - something that we know if far from the case!

We had some particularly synergistic exchanges with one keynote speaker form Pen Green in England, Margy Whalley. She already knew a bit about Playcentre as Nikolien (our other presenter) had been to one of their conferences in the past. They also work colaboratively with parents much more than any of the Australian folk seem to.

As well as that, we promoted some of the Playcentre Publications to three suppliers in Australia, and to Margy from England. We are hoping that increased book sales will arise form this. (Actually, I managed to sell two of my books - for Aussie dollars - which gave me some extra spending money.)