My New Zealand Mahara adventure!

I’m now back at work after what can only be described as a ‘once in a life time’ opportunity and definitely the highlight of my career to date. Being invited to present at a conference is always exciting and an honor, but it’s even more of an achievement if invited abroad. This blog post may be a tad long (sorry) but I hope you will get a sense of how happy I am to have experienced what I did in Auckland.

Mahara Hui 2015 – See schedule

This was a wonderful conference and a great opportunity to meet those who I’ve only ever spoken to online – and of course to get together with the marvelous Kristina Hoeppner again.

I was fortunate enough to be involved in the pre-hui developers day hosted by Catalyst, where I delivered a workshop on re/designing mahara features. This was a great way of getting the developers and users together to discuss issues and wish-list items for Mahara, and look into ways of improving them. I hope it gave Catalyst plenty of food for thought 😉 (sorry Aaron!)

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(Pictures by @anitsirk)

My keynote was the following day, however it was at this point I became unwell. I managed to get through my talk, but unfortunately deteriorated afterwards. Many thanks to the staff and students of Solent who allowed me to share their stories and work with the world!

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(Pictures by @anitsirk)

You can see my presentation below, resources can be found underneath:

https://mahara.org/user/samtaylor/maharahuinz15

I saw so many fantastic presentations and case studies – too many to mention here, but in particular I enjoyed:

My main ‘takeaways’ are all to do with how Mahara can be used for so much more than just assessment. I hope to get cracking with it here at Cranfield CDS site at some point over the summer! Thanks to all the sponsors and organisers – and to AUT for hosting the event, and for my amazing mountain jade necklace xxx

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Auckland University of Technology

As part of my trip, I was invited to AUT for the day to talk about my experiences of using Mahara, going through the HEA Fellowship and CMALT applications, and any other Edutech topic that popped up. I also facilitated a workshop with academic staff at AUT based on a previous one I did at the Mahara Barcamp in Germany last year:

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I had such a wonderful time there and really enjoyed talking to members of the CfLAT team (especially Mark, Shen, Michele, Lisa and Jawyei x). Thanks for the gifts, food and great conversations!

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Exploring NZ

I did have a couple of days to explore Auckland and some of the surrounding tourist attractions with my hubby Gav, including Waiheke Island, Sea Life Aquarium, Hobbiton Movie Set, Glow Worm Caves, Auckland Zoo, Auckland Museum, The Star Dome Observatory & Planetarium, and the Sky Tower. Below are just a few of my pictures, but I won’t bore you with many.

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Thanks for the wonderful memories 🙂

I’m a Mahara Hui Keynote!

This week it was announced that I will be at the Mahara Hui 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand, presenting one of the Keynote presentations. I am so honoured and excited about this amazing opportunity, especially as I’ll be able to meet all the wonderful people that I’ve been speaking to online in real life.

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My talk is titled ‘Growing up with Mahara’ and will take you on Southampton Solent University’s journey from the start of our ePortfolio exploration in 2008, to where we are now, concluding with what will be happening next (we think). You can read my abstract via the Mahara Hui website. This presentation pretty much compliments my keynote that I delivered last year at the German MaharaMoot barcamp which looked at how we at Solent support such a large number of courses that use Mahara, giving its diverse and flexible nature.

If you intend on coming to the Mahara Hui and had some questions for me, please feel free to leave them as comments on the bottom of this page – I’ll do my best to answer them.

Anyhoo, time to start hunting down my trusty academics and students and recording their thoughts on film! Their voices are just as important as mine 🙂

Sam x