Information & Communication Technologies in Education conference 2015, Roznov

Just arrived home from another conference on learning with technologies, this time in the soft air and tree-covered hills of Eastern Moravia.IMG_7334

This is a conference with a major focus on PhD development in a neighbouring group of countries hosted by the University of Ostrava. Delegates and presenters attended from Slovakia, Ukraine and Poland as well as the Czech Republic and all these languages, as well as the official language of English, were spoken throughout the event. Proceedings are published in English and presentations are offered with English titles and sometimes English slides, though in deference to the largely non-English participants, the presenter’s own language was often used verbally. The official and compulsory PhD sessions in the conference offer a third and final opportunity for doctoral researchers to gain feedback, hopefully constructive, on their work before moving to final submission and viva in the following year.

I had been invited to offer the opening presentation on Designing with Technologies for Collaborative Learning, a topic which related to an editorial I had written for Interactive Learning Environments last year. Fortunately I was able to review the papers for the conference prior to my presentation and this helped me to get a flavour of the interests and pre-occupations of the participants. Many were focussed on specific projects involving technology in teaching at various levels – a notable example being Ota Kéhar who spoke of a problem based learning task involving public domain astronomical data to get students to learn about using Excel. My perspective is always that thinking about learning precedes and takes precedence over the use of particular technologies. I reviewed some of the key learning theorists who have guided our thinking on the value of interaction and collaboration in learning, before turning to the team perspective of designing learning fit for the 21st century, with academics working alongside developers, technologists, administrators and specifically the students themselves, to find ways of learning together with technology. It was fun to get participants using Poll Everywhere in the presentation, not a well-known way of using learning technology in this part of the world, where worksheets seem to be the most popular learning task.

The conference included much serious effort to gain traction with today’s educational technology. Tony and I were made welcome, but gained hugely from the presence of friend and colleague Dagmar El-Hmoudová, who was herself presenting in the PhD section of the conference yet made the conference particularly enjoyable for us with her ready humour, great company and excellent instant interpretation from Czech to English. We were also grateful to Pavel Kapoun (also the Executive Editor of the ICTE journal) who led us ably on a tour of the local Wallachian open air museum, after I’d enjoyed a brilliant cold and sunny swim in the open air pool at the interestingly named Hotel Relax…

What did I take away? lovely memories of the place, humility at the language abilities of many people in this region, and a clearer understanding of the reticence which many retain about expressing themselves publicly on the web, even if they are aware of the benefits of social media.

Mahara UK14 conference hosted at University of Brighton

After a week of social media at ECSM2014 and SSMS2014 hosted at Brighton, just a few days later Mahara UK14 also brought its conference to UoB.

Being on leave and trying to draw breath after the months build-up to SSMS and ECSM, I did wonder what had possessed me to offer a presentation at the Mahara conference. And having presented at the end of June at the UoB IS conference with Craig Wakefield on creative uses of both Talis Aspire and Mahara as technologies for learning, I also wondered to whom the Mahara conference would be addressed – just technologists?, IS people? academics?

In the event it was clearly a good decision to go to Mahara UK14 since ECSM had already demonstrated the liveliness and engagement of mixed role audiences. This was no exception as delegates included those intimately involved in creating, developing and using and applying Mahara. Developers need to see what teachers and learners need from software, and teachers need to work with and be inspired by the creativity of developers.

I presented on the second conference day on Supervising Research students with Mahara – in our UoB world studentfolio. The audience was keen to discuss and ask questions – giving rise to more ideas about good quality research supervision. Prezi can be found here

Various lovely artefacts via storify, Pinterest and epilogger from this conference as for SSMS and ECSM – see previous blog posts.

one storify

One delegate take on Pinterest, thanks to Linda Pospisilova from Pardubice here

Another delegate take on storify thanks to Domi Sinclair here

Epilogger link re this conference hashtag: here

JISC implementation toolkit for eportfolios here: here

UFHRD conference at Brighton

Developing people at and for work makes social and economic sense as well as introducing people, sometimes for the first time, to the joy of continuing openness to learning.

At the UFHRD conference – HRD in Turbulent Seas – Continued Global Economic Uncertainty: Challenges and Opportunities – to be held 4-7 June 2013, delegates will be exploring diverse issues around developing people.

Here are the different academic streams of papers – as seen below, five of them are offering the target of publication in a a related journal Special Issue:

  • Stream 1: Action Learning – research and practice – Special Issue Opportunity
  • Stream 2: Comparative and cross-cultural dimensions of HRD
  • Stream 3: Critical, theoretical and methodological issues in HRD
  • Stream 4: Diversity issues in HRD
  • Stream 5: Doctoral workshops
  • Stream 6: Employee Engagement & HRD – Special Issue
  • Stream 7: HRD Evaluation & Learning
  • Stream 8: HRD: identity, community, profession
  • Stream 9: HRD in BRICS+ and Multinational Corporations (MNCs) – Special Issue
  • Stream 10: Innovation, Sustainability & HRD – Special Issue
  • Stream 11: KM, learning organisations and organisational learning
  • Stream 12: Leadership and Management Development
  • Stream 13: Scholarly practitioner research
  • Stream 14: Technology Enhanced Learning at Work – Special Issue
  • Stream 15: Training and development, and retaining the talent of older workers
  • Stream 16: VET and Workplace Learning
  • Stream 17: Workplace Conflict

I’m involved in Stream 14 on Friday’s programme – looking at opportunities to use learning technologies for enhancing learning, and we have a call out for additional papers on this TEL at work theme for our BJET special issue – so if you have a paper/research study on that theme, even if you have not submitted to the conference, you can still upload submissions for the SI at the BJET website, noting that you would like to be included in this SI. Here is the Call for Papers of the SI.

Meanwhile the UFHRD itself has a very useful resource area on learning and teaching:

Link to great resources on HRD learning and teaching.

learning in great places

This year we have transported a postgraduate module out of normal seminar rooms and into the Creativity Centre in University of Brighton.

Some strong feedback so far – and it looks like fun. Does physical space make a difference to learning? And what happens when we integrate virtual and physical space?

Information Literacy – please read

Great article discovered from a librarian in Australia who breezes through some of the stickier conceptions about use of information resources at unis.
Thank you Pru Mitchell!