Monday, January 10, 2011

Learning without Frontiers - Welcome - Day 1

{Live(ish) blog from Learning Without Frontiers Conference.}

The lights dim and Madonna music kicks in. Hmm!

Welcome to the Learning without Frontiers conference: "This is a lean forward event!" Many years of technology in learning but the claim from Graham Brown-Martin is that it has led to very little in the way of genuine disruption. How will the technology do more than support old teaching methods?

Graham talking about his daughter, "handheld learning girl" and how she is learning with technology - pre-literate and self taught. Brilliant.


First Speaker: Karen Cator

Karen Cator - supporting learning. Transforming education, education powered by technology. A number of drivers are helping change:
  • Tablet computers will help drive the transition from print-based education to digital education.
  • Broadband: ubiquitous and easy access to Internet
  • Apps: A new way of distributing and using computer programs.
  • Social Interaction: Couch surfing - interacting to find places to stay when visiting.
  • Data: The proliferation of data is astounding. Games online for example have loads of data about what brings people to games. How can we use this type of data to leverage more effective learning?
  • Economics: How do we get out of economic downturn? Education is key. As a nation, we cannot fail to educate our population.
Example: A school in New York City called School Of One. Everyday the children are given assignments based on their performance in tests the previous day. The activities can be collaborative or individual experience. How do we effectively personalise learning. For this to work, you need effective activities, better assessment tools and connected professional educators. This has implications including: giving children 24/7 access to the technology to allow them to learn any time and any place. Move from the idea of "seat time", i.e. time based courses where the curriculum is fitted into a fixed time regardless of the pupil's ability/understanding to a competences based model.


Question Time

Q: Is there a problem of tension between business/economic side of government wanting growth and development and education side of government looking for a back to basics approach?

Agreed that there needs to be a re-boot and a bi-partisan approach. Important to foster innovation and growth in both education and the economy.

Q: Debate is focused on learner - is the teacher forgotten? What is being done for teacher development and CPD?

Important to build a culture where the teacher is learner. Persistent digital profile to record and reward development.

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