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Collaborating for next-generation learning – highlights from the Idea 13 conference

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Idea is an annual conference, presented by Education Services Australia on behalf of The Australian Government Department of Education that showcases the way current and emerging technologies can be integrated to improve teaching and learning across the Australian education sectors. Idea 13 was on 12 -13 November in Melbourne

AARNet’s Manager, Education Outreach Nick Cross reports:

Key Themes explored at Idea 13

  • Collaborating for next-generation learning
  • Embedding innovation in learning
  • Monitoring learner progress
  • Improving learning through interoperability

Mark Pesce delivered the opening keynote. Mark also spoke at Questnet in July this year. (https://www.questnet.edu.au/display/qn2013/Mark+Pesce). At Idea 13 Mark’s presentation expanded the key messages he presented at Questnet:

The network is taking over

It has been18 years between the z80 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zilog_Z80) and the web, and 18 years between the web and the present. Those first 18 years largely dismissed as insignificant because we were disconnected. Connectivity has brought us one another and collaborations are now possible at a scale that was previously unimaginable.

This moment provides the greatest opportunity and the greatest challenge to formal education in the last 200 years – transforming curriculum, pedagogies, measurement and assessment.

Our education systems have developed in an era that has only recently passed, where knowledge was rare. We now have universal knowledge available everywhere and to everyone.

Now that the culture of sharing knowledge is everywhere, what are we? What is a Teacher, what is a Librarian, what is a Library? We now carry the collected, connected and shared wisdom of the universe with us in our pockets.

The rise of the sharing native

To have a computer or device is to have it connected – continuously. The value of connectivity lies in its capacity to amplify our effectiveness. We have long understood the notion of the digital native, we are past that, and we are now in the time of the sharing native.

Mark applied the metrics of Moore’s law to predict that by 2016 every student globally will have access to portable hand device that will be ‘good enough’ and remedy equity of access issues at low cost. It is difficult to constrain learning and sharing when everyone is connected.

The network is the handmaiden of a culture of sharing

The network is the handmaiden of a culture of sharing but you cannot share unless you have something to contribute. Assessment is intrinsic to the act of sharing, yet Teachers are trained in an education system where historically sharing is considered cheating.

Because of the connected scale peer mentoring has never been easier to access than now. Students learn how to assess and be assessed by peer mentors.

Mark again posed the question ‘What is the classroom offering that can’t be accessed by the tap of a fingertip?’

Where the activities of peer mentoring and knowledge sharing fall short, that is where professional educators will step in to bridge the gap facilitating meaning and context and assisting with problem solving.

Educators are also forming their own networks of peer mentoring, again amplifying their own professional capacity.

Here’s a video of another recent presentation by Mark Pesce on this topic:

Other sessions attended of interest include:

Dr Dror Ben Naim, founder and CEO of Smart Sparrow, provided and overview of an adaptive learning platform driven by data analytics to develop personalised learning programs.  https://www.smartsparrow.com/

Mark O’Rourke from Victoria University Centre for Collaborative Learning and Teaching spoke about the adaption of first person shooter gaming environments to develop work place safety simulations for the construction industry. This is an initiative he is involved in that is funded by the National VET E-Learning Strategy. http://www.whitecardgame.com.au/

A panel session titled ‘Improving Learning through Interoperability’ featuring representatives from IMS Global learning Consortium, SIF Association, UQ and the US Dept of Education. The key themes of this session were related to the development of standards that enable high speed provisioning of applications and services, data sharing, data analytics, Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) framework, and the epub3 standard.

Delia Brown, co founder and President of Peer 2 Peer University (http://www.idea.edu.au/www.p2pu.og) provided an overview of P2PU and open learning.

Nelson Gonzalez, founder of Declara (https://www.declara.com/), an intelligent social learning platform. Education Services Australia has engaged Declara to assist with the development of Scootle Community (http://community.scootle.edu.au)


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