Learning Without Frontiers – London 2011

​I recently had the opportunity to attend the ‘Learning Without Frontiers conference in London and found some really good ideas were discussed. This is a summary of what some of the guest presenters had to say.
Karen Cator, Director of Educational Technology, US Department of Education – The National Education Technology Plan in the United States of America is a move to the digital learning environment. Apps provide new ways of interaction. Digital textbooks with incorporation of social media will emerge. There is much data about learning we have yet to discover. We have to transfer the technology of industry into education. We need to design better learning technologies, personalise the learning, develop assessment technologies with feedback to all in the system. We need connected teachers and students connected to resources needed. There needs to be a learning registry. We need communities of practice, teacher profiles connected together. We need to see a cultural shift – power up the classrooms and give teachers the tools and invigorate them.
Iris Lapinski – director, CDI Europe, We must create a new generation of problem solvers. Problems in real life are context specific. The learner is to define the problem and devise appropriate solution. 5 steps – definition, market research, solution design, product design, build and test.

Saul Nasse – BBC Learning – Addressed the power of the media to inspire. He quoted BBC stargazing where 330 events were held around the country. He emphasised the attraction of Storytelling, personalised television any time, an immersive environment in our own homes, televisions with Internet access, group learning on mobile devices, with great power to inform and educate and entertain.
Dr.William Rankin – Director of Educational Innovation at Abilene Christian University. He spoke about the future of digital books – Information is now a commodity, the challenge is how to access all the information – ‘educational technology’ as a query in Google at 10 seconds per hit would take 86 years to complete a review of the hits. There is a crisis of information and pace of change. The characteristics of digital reading – personal, communal, context and collaboration, problem with print is where do I plug it in. The future for books is that they become social, customised augmented and collaborative, interactive, media rich, mobile and portable. The purpose for teaching is now information curation.
Lord David Puttnam – Film industry adaption of digital technology is very comprehensive unlike in education. The digital economy is the fastest growing aspect of national economy. Teachers are part and parcel of a digital world. What would a digital curriculum look like rather than a digitised curriculum?  The world of learning is isolated from the change in other areas with technology.  We need to reboot the education system. There is an intergenerational alienation – young don’t trust the old.
Jimmy Wales – founder of Wikipedia –There is no global shift from traditional education. Change is in informal learning. He has Dream of free knowledge for everyone in the world. New project Wikia – create polls, blogs, top ten lists.
The main points I thought of interest were:
Technology has in the main been deployed to support 19th Century teaching practices. We need a new conversation – change and disruption. We need to design better learning technologies, personalise the learning, assessment technologies with feedback to all in the system. We need connected teachers and students connected to resources needed. We need communities of practice, teacher profiles connected together. We need to see a cultural shift – power up the classrooms and give teachers the tools and invigorate them.

What would a digital curriculum look like rather than a digitised curriculum?

If a child can’t learn the way we teach maybe we should teach the way they learn!

The complete set of conference videos from the LWF International Festival of Learning & Technology recently hosted in London are now online at:

http://bit.ly/lwf11-vids

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