May 1, 2016

A full day of experiential learning in action

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Marie Bountrogianni, Dean of Chang School, opening the ChangSchoolTalks, 2016

Marie Bountrogianni, Dean of the Chang School of Continuing Education, Ryerson, opening the ChangSchoolTalks, 2016

On Wednesday, February 17, the Chang School of Continuing Studies, Ryerson University, Toronto, put on an impressive one day conference, called ChangSchoolTalks, focused on experiential learning.

The day was organized into the following activities:

  • opening keynote
  • main ‘stage’ talks, of 10-15 minutes in length
  • master classes of 45 minutes length
  • brain dates: one-on-one mentoring on specific topics
  • exhibition.

Opening keynote

Don Tapscott was the opening keynote speaker, who talked about rethinking learning for the networked age. For those who know Tapscott’s work, he covered familiar ground, claiming that higher education must respond to four key leadership challenges/ strategies:

  • the technology revolution, in particular the power of networks and distributed knowledge (‘global intelligence’)
  • the Net Generation, who are ‘wired to think differently’
  • the economic revolution, the move from an industrial to a knowledge-based society
  • the social revolution, including an increasingly unequal distribution of wealth.

He referred in passing to his forthcoming book, ‘The Blockchain Revolution, How the Technology Behind Bitcoin is Changing Money, Business and the World‘, but did not really tie it in to the world of higher education during his talk.

Although I don’t disagree with many of the points he was making about the need for universities to change, I didn’t really leave with anything that I didn’t know already, although others may have found it new and refreshing.

Stage talks

Stage talks were plenary sessions. For me, this was the best part of the day, in terms of what I learned. There were five excellent speakers who used their limited time (10-15 minutes) expertly:

  • Arlene Dickinson, an entrepreneur famous as one of the dragons on the TV program ‘Dragons’ Den’, who talked about leadership
  • James Paul Gee, from Arizona State University, who talked about how participants in multiplayer games collaborated and strategized to solve problems within the games. (I would like to have asked if there was evidence of these problem-solving strategies being successfully transferred outside games, into other kinds of learning environment, but I didn’t get the chance)
  • Steve Gedeon, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy at Ryerson University, who talked about the pedagogy of entrepreneurship. This talk appealed to me the most, because Gedeon argued somewhat convincingly that the pedagogy of entrepreneurship (e.g. Lean Startup approaches to learning) could be applied to many other disciplines
  • Michelle Weise, from the University of Southern New Hampshire, which is one of the fastest growing universities with one of the largest online programs in the USA. She talked about competency-based education. I have mixed feelings myself about competency-based learning, and it was interesting to hear her arguments for it.
  • Marie Bountrogianni, the Dean of the Chang School at Ryerson, was the master of ceremonies, linking all the talks together.

What I liked particularly was the wide range of approaches and topics, with each one well delivered and clearly described in a very short time.

Master Classes

These were two sets of six to seven parallel 45 minute sessions covering the following topics:

  • robot subjugation for beginners (Alex Ferworn)
  • building an effective learning environment (me)
  • building pathways through online competency-based education (Michelle Weise)
  • handling reputation and shame in the social world (Boyd Neil)
  • collaboration and creativity: a challenge in design thinking (Michael Carter)
  • data visualization: what does your business look like? (Michael Martin)
  • big data: a roadmap to be a data scientist (Ayse Bener)
  • a discussion in learning in games (James Paul Gee)
  • the 5Cs of a bustling peer-learning community (Christine Renaud)
  • gamifying learning experiences (Jeremy Friedberg)
  • introductory economics revisited (Eric Kam)
  • ethos as a brand builder and driver for business (Deb Belinsky)
  • if they build it…co-creation as education (Vincent Hui)

As always with parallel sessions, there was always a clash. Because I was giving one, I could go to only one other. However, the list of titles gives some idea of the diversity of ideas and topics covered.

I will say a little bit more about my master class in a separate blog post.

Brain dates

Software made available to the ChangSchoolTalks by the company E-180 enabled participants to book online a one-on-one face-to-face session with a personal mentor, i.e. with anyone attending the conference who had expertise that you would like to access. This was somewhat restricted by a very full agenda for the day, but turned out nevertheless to be very popular.

Exhibition

There was also a small but very interesting set of exhibitors, covering displays of virtual reality, smart materials ,an augmented reality sandbox, a 3D robot labyrinth, 3D printing, and serious gaming.

Comment

The ChangSchoolTalks was a particularly effective showcase for the interests and work being done at Ryerson University.

I came away from the day with my head absolutely buzzing. I was subjected to a torrent of fascinating ideas and developments. What I liked particularly was the diversity of topics, not all of which were specifically educational, but which nevertheless are significant for the future of education.

I would have like a little more time for informal networking, more time for questions and discussion with the ‘stage’ speakers, but there is a lot to be said for the fire hose theory of learning! I learned so much in such a short time, but really need to follow up on most of the topics.

CAUCE-CNIE conference, 2016: Education 3.0

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No, not that Waterloo! Image: Wikipedia Artist: William Sadler

No, not that Waterloo!
Image: Wikipedia
Artist: William Sadler

What: TARGET: EDUCATION 3.0, Possibilities at The Nexus of Pedagogy, Technology and Access

Creative pedagogy coupled with openly shared digital resources are inspiring educators to explore new paths. This conference will spur conversations about current innovations as well as the implications and opportunities for future innovations.

Who: (CAUCE) Canadian Association of University Continuing Education and (CNIE) the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education

When: May 30, June 2, 2016

Where: Waterloo, Ontario

How: The call for presentations has been extended to January 11, 2016. Click here for more information.

There is no information to date on the web site about fees, registration, actual conference location or accommodation. (Hence my choice of graphic.)

Comment

I realise that this is a conference primarily for members of CAUCE and CNIE, but it is frankly unrealistic to expect people to commit to a paper or presentation with such little information.

This should be a major national conference for educational technology and online learning in Canada, and consequently I would expect the advance information to be better. There are many other good conferences around the same time, and although the theme for this conference is promising, it might be safer to choose an alternative if for financial reasons you have to make a conference commitment fairly soon.

EDEN conference 2016

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Budapest University of Technology was founded in 1782

Budapest University of Technology was founded in 1782

What: Re-Imagining Learning Environments‘.

We are set a challenge to really understand our learning environments. To create and invent responses that are possibly not even thought of yet.  Perhaps there are new business models, new policies, different ways to understand technological influences, new ways to interpret the collaborative and social-networked society that we live in: the learning environment, in its widest sense.

Click here for the full conference scope.

Networking and interactivity, sharing and discussion will be core aspects of the conference experience, focusing on what you can learn from and with your peers.

Who: EDEN (The European Distance and e-Learning Network) 

When: 14-17 June, 2016

Where: Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Budapest, Hungary

How: The call for contributions is now open.

To find our more on contributing to the conference, click here.

To register and/or submit a contribution, click here.

Comment.

EDEN is usually one of the best conferences on online learning and distance education. I would certainly go if I could.

Contact North to host the next ICDE conference in Toronto in 2017

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Toronto from near Union Station

Toronto from near Union Station.

The International Council for Distance Education (ICDE) announced at the close of this year’s conference in Sun City, South Africa, that its next conference will be held at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto between 17-19 October, 2017. The host will be Contact North/Contact Nord and Maxim Jean-Louis, its President – CEO, will be the President of the Organizing Committee of the 27th World Conference.

ICDE

The International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) is a global membership organization and provides leadership in open education, flexible, online and distance learning, including e-learning. Its members include stakeholders working in educational institutions, school authorities and the commercial sector, as well as individuals. ICDE has a formal consultative status with UNESCO and promotes the core value of UNESCO: the universal right to education for all. To support this ideal, ICDE relies on the unique knowledge and experience of its members around the world, in terms of development and use of new methodologies and emerging technologies.

ICDE was founded in Canada in 1938 as the International Council for Correspondence Education. Today it has worldwide members in more than 60 countries.

The ICDE Permanent Secretariat has been located in Oslo, Norway since 1988. ICDE receives funding from the Ministry of Education and Research of Norway and from membership fees.

For more information about ICDE, please visit the website at www.icde.org.

Contact North

Contact North/Contact North was established in 1986 by the Government of Ontario. A key component of its activities is to provide residents of the province equitable access to postsecondary education and training opportunities through its 112 centers of online learning, often located in remote communities without any post-secondary educational campuses.

Thus Ontario students have the ability to participate through Contact North/Contact Nord in online courses and programs, in French and English, from Ontario’s 24 public colleges, 22 public universities and 250 literacy providers, as well as access basic skills training, without having to leave their community. Contact North/Contact Nord’s headquarters are in Thunder Bay and in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.

For more information about Contact North/Contact Nord, please visit its websites at teachonline.ca/home and studyonline.ca/

Further information

I first came to Canada in 1982 to attend the ICDE conference in Vancouver. It was at this conference that it changed its name from ‘Correspondence’ to ‘Distance’. These conferences enable one to get a very good oversight of the world of distance education.

I will be providing updates as more information about the conference becomes available.

 

COHERE/CSSHE’s ‘ocean-to-ocean’ conference on flexible learning designs

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Victoria, BC

Victoria, BC

What: Flexible Learning Designs: Building Community Through Blended, Online, and Multi-Access Learning  in the Post Secondary Classroom

Who: COHERE (Collaboration for Online Higher Education & Research) and the CSSHE (Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education)

Where: An ocean-to-ocean conference located in BOTH Victoria, British Columbia (Pacific) and Halifax, Nova Scotia (Atlantic). The conference format is intended to profile the tools and technologies that enable mult-access, distributed learning – including videoconference connectivity and web conferencing – to connect the two locations.

When: October 22-23, 2015

Keynote speakers: 

How: To submit a proposal, fill out the submission form available at: http://cohere.ca/2015-call-for-proposals-form/

Proposals will be accepted in the following streams:

  • Building Community: Practice that leads to increased sense of trust, respect, and collaboration in blended and multi-access learning environments.
  • Social Justice:  Policy and successful practice that recognizes that face-to-face education promotes privilege in participation, and research that provides evidence that flexible learning designs promote participation from non-traditional student groups.
  •  Evidence-based research for multi-access and blended learning designs: From tracing learner interactions to configuration of room and interface designs for collaboration
  • Open: The adoption of open learning practices to enhance post-secondary education through an increased global community of learners and leaders.

Proposals related to these and other issues related to flexible learning designs for community- enhanced multi-access and blended learning are invited.

No information is currently available regarding registration.

Halifax NS

Halifax NS