EdTech for Export conference Wellington 12th April 2013

On the 12th April I was fortunate to be able to attend the first EdTech4Export conference in Wellington New Zealand. This post is my reflection on the conference, thank to Otago Polytechnic for sending me.

To get me in the mood the taxi driver from the airport had national radio on and they were discussing 3D printers. This whole concept is happening now and is so revolutionary. It seems that we are not in the middle of a technological revolution at all but we are just at the start of it. There is so much more just around the corner and we, in New Zealand, need to be prepared and ready to take advantage of this.

Following are the key points I took from speakers I heard at the conference. Note that the best quote is in my own words and may not be the actual words that were said at the time, but were what I had scribbled down.

Keynote

Karen Billings, Vice President, Education Division, Software and Information Industry Association (SIIS) U.S.

Key message for me

There is growing interest in personalised learning. However there is also interest in mass media, mobile, global blended and MOOCs (massive open online courses)

Best quote

“Learning is mobile and global.”

What I learned

Innovative Ed Tech solution could help to address the issues of; Disengaged students; Unrealistic expectations; Diversity; Unemployment.

We need to lessen dropout rate; Improve communication and collaboration (with mobile devices) More out of class learning (virtual tours etc);  support education reform; Technology however will never replace instructors. Real human interaction will always be needed.

More

Ed Tech opportunities in the U.S. exist in: Multiplatform aggregation/ Professional development/ Data analysis and integration (identifying students with problems)

Keynote

Carl Engkvist, Senior Vice President of Business Development Asia Pacific, Pearson (involved in the development of Blackboard)

Best quote

“Think global- Act local”

“China wants to modernise, not westernise.”  It has a long proud history in education, predating our own

What I learned

Asia needs more education than can be provided locally.

75% use mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) to go online, not desktop or laptop.

One week every year Singapore has an Elearning week, all schools, colleges and universities close and all learning is at home. This is pandemic planning.

When entering the Asian market need t long term view and work to that vision, adapt product to local needs.

More

Mobile learning is the way to go.

Keynote:

Tim Brooke-Hunt, Controller of Children’s programming, ABC TV

Key message for me

Linear television will not be around in the future. Television needs to be aware of what is happening with print media, it needs to adapt as it is going in the same direction.

What I learned

Very young children are using touch screen technology to learn, as young as 2 years of age. ABC is doing incredible things for education in Australia. They have developed wonderful resources to support teaching and engage children.

 Breakout sessions

Breakout 1

Stephen Knightly; Chair, New Zealand Game Developers Association

Key message for me

Games engage learners and provide great learning experiences if the pedagogy is aligned.

Best quote

Analyse everything and develop content accordingly.

What I learned

Games are effective pedagogically. They need to be enjoyable and challenging, they provide experiential learning experiences.

Identify Clear goals – use the right tools – provide challenges – give feedback

Do not let students stay stuck on a level. If they do not achieve, offer hints or tips.

The learning needs to be made apparent. Students need to know what they are looking for in the game. Play game, stop, reflect, learn.

More

Maru Nihoniho (Metia Interactive) http://www.tepapa.govt.nz/WhatsOn/allevents/Pages/13AprilMoveoverBoys.aspx

Maru developed a game Sparx which has been found to help teenagers deal with depression as effectively as having counselling sessions. This has been published in the British Medical Journal http://www.bmj.com/content/344/bmj.e2598

Breakout 2 first speaker

Rachel Bolstad; New Zealand Council for Education Research. http://www.nzcer.org.nz/research/rachel-bolstad

Key message for me

Lifelong learning changes the way we need to teach

Best quote

Knowledge is not a noun it is a verb. Knowledge is a tool to help us learn how to learn.

What I learned

Personalise learning – built around the learner

Work with diversity – diversity is strength. Plurality valued and students engaged.

Use Knowledge to develop learning capacity – collaboration and connectedness

Rethinking learner and teacher roles – building learner capacity, building curriculum

Continuous learning for teachers and education leaders

Partnerships between schools and community.

Breakout 2 second speaker

Garry Faloon; University of Waikato

Key message

Researched 5 year olds use of touch screen games for problem solving and learning.

Best quote

The best apps model good teacher practice.

What I learned

Rewards should be appropriate. Smaller achievements should get smaller rewards and completion should gain a larger award. Giving big rewards frequently reduces the effectiveness.

Formative feedback is important. Where students have tried and failed come in and ask “have you tried this?”

Breakout 3

Nick Billowes, Director of Development, Core Education

Best quote

It is not

Key message for me

Technology is a transforming agent in education.

Best quote

It is not about doing old things in new ways but doing new things in new ways.

Andreas Düesner. Senior research scientist. HITLab.(Human Interface Technology.)

Key message for me

Increasing costs of education means we need to be more efficient, effective and ecological.

Best quote

It is not about doing old things in new ways but doing new things in new ways.

What I learned

Asia is our market

More

Ubiquity:

Learning in the 21st Century is any time, any place, any pace and with or through any device

Agency:

Learner controlled, learner choice. Empowerment to act. Personalization. Lifelong learning. Universal design.

Connectedness:

High level collaboration. Rethink concepts such as ownership. How knowledge is controlled and how it can be shared

Conclusion

David Copeland, from Learning Media was MC for the day. He was very skilled at keeping things to time and identifying the underlying threads from speakers. He really made the day fun. It was great to get together and have the opportunity to chat with people interested in using technology in education. I was amazed at the number of people who had great ideas and some great products that they were developing and looking for investors to take their ideas further or looking for a market for their products. If I had one criticism of the conference it would be that there were so many there looking for these things but not so many investors or markets represented to take their ideas further.

It was really interesting to hear what these people had been doing and developing. Some wonderful educational gaming activities being developed by many, one I spoke with was Dan Milward from Gamfroot, something I will need to explore. I also spoke with Stephen Clarke and his sister, from pixelBook, who can create wonderful Ebooks with any content.

It was great to catch up with John Enlow from ADINSTRUMENTS. This is a company who already provide software packages to Otago Polytechnic and I will be talking more with them about how there software may be used in our midwifery blended learning programme.

Advertisements

Slideshare presentation about EXE and Moodle

This is a link to a slideshare presentation principally for Otago Polytechnic staff. Others usin EXE as a development tool for online learning packages may also find it useful
View more presentations from Carolyn m.

Wk 6: Open source: Threat or enhancement for formal education

This week we have been asked to explore whether open access presents a threat or enhances formal education. I have looked at one open access course which I think is a good example of the possibilities for this type of  learning resource. In this post I discuss this and some of the arguments for and against this type of learning. I also discuss recognition of prior learning and how it might be related her. finally I consider my plan for designing a flexible learning resource.

Example of open access

I just had a look at the Harvard Law School course CyberOne: Law in the court of public opinion I am very impressed with this it seems to use a variety of online media and is well organised and reasonably clear to use. Looking at this makes me feel excited at the opportunities this presents for anyone, anywhere to engage with the course and expand their knowledge and skill. There is also an opportunity to meet with others from anywhere in the world and to share, collaborate, communicate and learn. Not only can this course be taken by students within the environs of Harvard, it can also be taken by students at a distance from anywhere in the world. The course content is also available for anyone, anywhere to access at anytime and engage with in what ever way they wish.

Arguments against

I wonder does this pose a threat to Harvard Law school? In what way might that threat be posed?

  1. By losing control of the material when it is out in the public domain is there a risk that the public might misuse this, bringing the name of the institution into disripute?
  2. By giving this material away does it make the material somehow less valuable or less desirable as academic attainment for those who pay to participate?
  3. If the material is given away for free why would people want to enrol and pay for this course?
  4. Can the institution afford to ‘give away’ its skill and expertise ? After all this is all that educational institutions have to sell to generate an income.

These are arguments that seem to have some validity and are arguments I have heard expressed against the idea of open access to educational resources.

Arguments for

I will address these points as I see them

  1. This is not a new thing. Since Caxton invented the printing press knowledge has been available through printed media for around 600 years. There has been a gradual process of making printed material more and more accessible. The current evolution of ease of searchability and accessibility has opened up access to many more people in recent years however the information has always been there for those who chose to find it and use it.
  2. By expanding the accessibility of a course and opening it up to a wider audience you are also opening up the learning opportunities not only for those who are getting this for free but also for those who are paying a fee. Education is moving away from the didactic approach of knowledge transfer from expert to novice and embracing an approach of learner centered learning, where learning communities explore and investigate topics of interest and expand and create new knowledge through this exploration.
  3. I can see that what is accessed for free is actually not the same as being enrolled and working through the course with lecturer and institutional support. Doing this course for free online might give me a feeling of personal satisfaction and personal growth but I will not have any evidence of the learning that I have done. To gain this recognition I would need to enrol.
  4. Although the institutuion appears very generous in giving this course to the wider community it does raise the profile of the institution. Of course I have heard of Harvard, but now I can actually see what happens there to some degree. I could even aspire to enrol in a course from there, which I never could have before, and gain a Harvard qualification. I will not be alone in thinking this I am sure. So by giving away something for free, the institution is also actually opening itself up to a whole new market.

I believe this open access course provides a good example of the possibilities for open access. The benefits to individuals and to the institution are clear to me and i am sure I am not alone. John Seely Brown clearly outlines these benefits. I think the arguments above would also be relevant to any open access course that we might be considering for our Midwifery School at Otago Polytechnic.

Recognition of prior learning

If I do engage with a course such as this online and then later decide to enrol in the course in order to get the qualification do I need to repeat all the learning that I have already done. This week in DFLP we had Willy Campbell from the CAPL talk to us about assessment for prior learning and recognition of prior learning. I was nnot able to attend but was able to listen to a recording of the session through Elluminate. Willy explained this process very clearly and the discussion that followed was very useful. Willy explained that learning can be formal through courses completed or partially completed, non formal through group work and workshops etc and informal through on the job learning. CAPL have processes through which they can assess all of these against recognised course outcomes and can help individuals to prepare a portfolio which they can then present for recognition of the qualification. There was an interesting discussion about performing an assessment, or getting students to self assess themselves at the start of a course. This would identify the students existing knowledge and would enable them to tailor the course to suit themselves. There was some concern expressed about taking those with some knowledge out of the group as this can be an important part of the learning for others and is also valuable for the more knowledgeable members of the group also. This avenue of RPL is a way for work which has already been completed to be recognised and rewarded.

My plan

I need to now be planning what I will work on developing for my presentation at the end of this course. I have been thinking perhaps about the digital literacy project. I am wondering if I could work on something that could be intertwined within courses in the midwifery program rather than as a separate entity. I have also been very interested in developing an Open Access midwifery resource online. I have already prepared a wiki which I have done a little work on and I may look at developing this further. I may change my mind very soon however as next week we have our first collaborative meeting with CPIT to get to grips with the new program delivery. something might transpire out of that to which I need to give my attention

Conclusion

In this post I have discussed open source learning and given and example with some discussion about the for’s and against’s in to this. I feel there is a clear argument for this type of resource. I have explained how recognition of prior learning might have a place in this process. Finally a brief discussion about possibilities for my final presentation in this course.