I’ve just returned from an inspiring, exciting two days at the Scottish Learning Festival. It was my first visit and despite restraining myself and only signing up to a couple of seminars and workshops I found the event exhausting.
What amused me most was the motley collection of stalls in the main hall. One of the Grounds for Learning staff expressed her puzzled concern about the number of computer and software companies and activities. Luckily I was able to explain the history of the event which began as an education technology event in the days of SETT.
I enjoyed walking around and seeing the tricks of the trade show where the sales folk find novel ways of enticing people into their booth. Alas there was only bowls of sweets everywhere which, in the age of health promotion had me worrying as to whether the GTC Code of Conduct would kick into place and we’d all get our knuckles rapped should we be spotted on a GLOW webcam helping ourselves to more than 3 sweets.
Every now and then a moment of inspiration or sanity could be found. I sought refuge at the Real World Learning booth for significant amounts of time. It was the only place where natural materials could be found as part of the display which an art student had designed with care and attention to detail that was probably lost on a casual passer-by. The RWL is a partnership between many outdoor and environmental organisations, so every time I entered there was a new face and new discussions to be had.
Probably my main gripe was the lack of effort towards demonstrating the environmental impact of the event and measures to counteract this by the organisers. No recycling facilities, lots of sweet wrappers and not a carbon footprint index in sight. Tsk! Tsk!