New Generation Learning Conference, Dalarna University 2012

February 28, 2012

The NGL Conference came to an end on Thursday with some final presentations and a closing debate.

Rosamund Sutherland and Ton de Jon were the main presenters on the day. One subject that Rosamund Sutherland and many others took up was that of the digital tools that are used during instruction and the importance of using them in the correct way.

“Developing these in a professional manner is key… Many teachers don’t actually know how they should use the tools,” stated Rosamund Sutherland.

Lots to gain from using digital equipment

That there is a lot to gain from using digital equipment is clear to Rosamund. In her main subject area, mathematics, digital equipment is not used as much as it is in many other subjects.

“It has a great potential that is not being made best use of in England.”

Commercialisation

There were many positive thoughts about online learning at the NGL Conference. However, there was also an element of criticism. In the final discussion, the commercial aspect of digitalised learning was brought up and the risk of companies developing software that is not even necessary and that costs upon purchase and then as a result of future support services.

Andrew Casson, Director of Education and Research at Dalarna University, stated that staff must be educated so that they are able to identify what is required and consequently avoid making the mistake of purchasing unnecessary software.

Terry Andersson felt that the purchase of commercial products was a natural development.

“Previously, we have invested a great deal of money in, for example, libraries. This is a natural process. It’s business, and it will continue to be business,” he stated.

I was interviewed by Alastair Creeland on my paper on the use of learning platforms. You can hear it at http://audioboo.fm/boos/679211-ngl-2012-albin-wallace


8th ICE CONFERENCE 2012

January 25, 2012

I have been fortunate to be invited to speak at the  8th International Conference on Eduction CONFERENCE 2012 on Samos Island Greece, July 05-07, 2012

The Conference will build on the success of the previous ICE 2010 and ICE 2011 Conferences, which were held in Samos.

8th ICE SAMOS 2012 aims to facilitate the discussion on the problems of education internationally providing a forum for scientific debate and constructive interaction in a multi cultural social environment. The conference provides a platform for scientists and teachers and researchers to present their work; to exchange knowledge, ideas and experience and to identify and discuss the challenges and solutions to existing problems worldwide known in education.

Ph.D candidates are explicitly invited to present and discuss their research ideas and work in progress.

A bridge between the East and the West for centuries, Samos is located in the heart of Aegean Sea, where you’ll find a harmonious blend of culture, cuisine, arts and architecture along with fascinating beaches and sea.

The 7th ICE Conference was a great success proving it is still the must attend Conference of the year in this field.

I am looking forward to meeting some of you in Samos in July at what promises to be a most stimulating and enjoyable event!


Next Generation Learning Conference 2012

November 14, 2011

I was pleased to be invited to speak at the “Next Generation Learning Conference ” in Falun, Sweden in 2012.

The conference is being hosted by Dalarna University in collaboration with KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and is a Nordic conference on the implications for learning and education of the digital revolution. The conference is aimed at development and research projects on NGL in both educational and professional settings.

Next Generation Learning Conference include, but is not limited to, the following topics:

  • Mobility and learning
  • Self-paced learning and open educational resources
  • Information-tools and knowledge processes
  • New knowledge processes within the working life
  • Web-based higher education
  • Collaborative learning
  • Learning environments and the modern school

You can read more detailed descriptions of each topic on their respective page at http://www.du.se/en/NGL/Next-Generation-Learning-Conference-2012/


Sexting, Griefing, Piracy, Privacy and Massively Multiplayer Thumbwrestling

October 31, 2011

Last week I was fortunate to be at the First International Symposium on Digital Ethics hosted by The Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University, Chicago. The first keynote speaker, Jan McGonigal (author of “Reality is Broken”) had us playing Massively Multiplayer Thumbwrestling, a good way to boost oxytocin levels and a metaphor for online gaming. All the presentations were excellent indeed but for me there were several highlights: Jo-Ann Oravec talked about the ethics of sexting and
issues involving consent and the production of intimate content. Richard Wojak examined griefing through the virtual world and the moral status of griefing. Brian Carey took a controversial look at piracy and the times when it may be ethically permissible. Alex Gekker offered some fascinating insights into ‘Anonymous’ and the governmental oversight of the internet. A lunchtime treat
was Julian Dibbell reprising his seminal 1990s piece originally published in the Village Voice entitled “A Rape in Cyberspace“. Charles Ess provided an insightful view into privacy, the self and new media.

There is much to be learnt in this provocative and emergent area, and I look forward to hearing and sharing some further thoughts
on digital ethics.



ELSE Conference in Bucharest, Romania

October 13, 2011

I have had my paper on an analysis of national patterns of learning platform use by students in schools and academies accepted for the  8th International Scientific Conference eLearning and Software for Education, Bucharest Romania,  April, 26th – 27th, 2012. Conference details are at http://elseconference.eu/. I hope to see some of you there.


An analysis of national patterns of learning platform use in schools

June 22, 2011

The United Church Schools Trust and the United Learning Trust comprise a national group of 12 independent schools and 17 academies across a wide range of geographic and demographic areas of England. In 2008, the decision to implement a learning platform (also known as a Virtual Learning Environment or VLE) across the group was made. Although a fully supported technical solution was provided along with a sustained programme of continuous professional development, the decision as to how the learning platform was to be used was owned by each individual school and academy according to its own priorities.

The learning platform chosen was itslearning©, developed in Bergen University College in Norway and now adopted across a wide range of educational establishments. As a cloud-based product, itslearning offered a number of attractive potential benefits
including:

1. Ease of use

2. Speed of implementation

3. Enhanced collaboration

4. Continuity of curriculum anywhere and anytime

5. Minimal initial investment

6. Scalability

7. Reduction of operating costs

8. Reduction of hosting costs

Now that the learning platform is embedded in many of the schools and academies with consistent, sustained usage in areas of excellence, it was decided to undertake research into how the learning platform was being used and what strategic and implementation lessons could be learned so far. A survey was consequently undertaken of 1000 students into how they used the
learning platform and what their perceptions were about it as a vehicle for teaching and learning. The survey was based on the most commonly used features of the learning platform and was conducted online using the built-in survey
tools of itslearning.

The following descriptor preceded the survey:

To help us improve itslearning in UCST schools and ULT academies, we are asking you to fill in a survey.

We are looking at ways in which itslearning can help with students’ education and to see if there is anything we can learn from the way that you use it.

We would like you to do a short survey which will not take up too much of your time. You will not need to give your
name and no-one will be able to identify you from your answers.

We would like you to do this survey so we can look at what students themselves think and do. You do not have to do it, but we hope that you will help us in this way. However, we understand if you would prefer not to take part. It is totally your choice.

The following is a list of questions that were
asked using the survey:

1.         Which school or academy do you attend?

2.         Are you a boy or a girl?

3.         Which year are you in?

4.         How often do you use itslearning?

5.         Where do you use itslearning?

6.         When do you prefer to use itslearning?

7.         Which subjects do you use it in?

8.         What do you use itslearning for?

9.         What do your teachers use itslearning for?

10.       Have you ever used itslearning on your phone?

11.       Would you like to be able to change the colour and design of itslearning?

12.       How much does itslearning help with your learning?

13.       How much do you enjoy using itslearning?

14.       How easy is itslearning to use?

15.       Do the people who look after you at home have access to itslearning?

16.       What do you like best about itslearning?

17.       For which subjects do you find itslearning most useful?

18        What things in itslearning could be made better?

Tha data analysis will take place over the summer of 2011-2012 and will be available to inform our future direction at that time. A copy of the report will also be posted here.


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