October 24, 2014

Conference: Closing the generation gap, EDEN, Portugal, 2012

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The next European Distance Education and e-learning Network (EDEN) conference in Porto, Portugal has a very interesting theme: ‘Closing the gap from Generation Y to the Mature Lifelong Learners’.

Where: Alfândega do Porto Congress Center, Oporto, Portugal

When: 6-9 June, 2012

What: In times of great challenges for Europe, all generations are called to act together, thus also to learn, to produce, share and preserve knowledge. The 2012 European Year of Active Ageing and the Solidarity Between Generations serves as framework for raising awareness, generating innovative approaches and disseminating good practice.

The EDEN Annual Conference will approach the key questions of learning methodology and technology focusing on the “Open learning generations”, the contexts of socially significant target groups: junior and senior e-learners. We will explore their learning cultures, technology use patterns and discuss new approaches in pedagogy and andragogy that respond to them.’

Deadline for papers: 10 February, 2012

More details: Go to http://www.eden-online.org/2012_porto.html

Comment: Given an average unemployment rate of 25% for young people between the age of 18-25 across Europe, and as high as 45% in Portugal and Spain, this is a timely topic.

EDEN conferences are usually excellent, combining high quality presentations, strong networking and interesting cultural and social activities.

The port and excellent local wines should appeal to those of us who are ‘Mature Lifelong Learners'; the lively night life in the city will attract the younger crowd – and the wonderful Portuguese friendliness and hospitality will suit both crowds!


Conference: EDEN Open Classroom conference

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Ellinogermaniki Agogi: the first Greek school on the web

Here’s a chance to visit Greece before it disappears under a mountain of debt – hurry, there’s not much time!

What: Never waste a crisis! Inclusive excellence, Innovative Technologies and Transformed Schools as Autonomous Learning Organizations (all the right buzz words here).

Where: Pallini, Athens, at the headquarters of Ellinogermaniki Agogi, the host of the 2011 Open Classroom Conference

When: 27-29 October 2011

Conference Scope

Crisis, change and innovation

Recent waves of economic crisis and uncertainty have re-aligned a range of European and global issues. This sense of crisis and challenge however may also serve to energize system transformations, identify alternatives, suggest new directions and act as a driving motivating force when old modes are broken.

Registration: click here

How much: 350 euros (unless you’re Greek – I’m not making it up).

More details (including list of speakers and topics): click here

Seriously, this looks like an interesting conference, and the Greeks need as much support at the moment as they can get.






Online learning in the Garden of Eden

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Titian's the Fall of Man: but who's the snake? Online learning?

Daniel, J. (2011)  20 Years of Distance Education in the Garden of EDEN: Good News and Bad News EDEN 20th Anniversary Conference: Learning and Sustainability: The New Ecosystem of Innovation and Knowledge, Dublin, 20 June

This keynote raises some interesting issues about distance education and online learning in particular. After congratulating EDEN, quite rightly, on creating an organization that bridges Eastern and Western Europe, John Daniel, the President of the Commonwealth of Learning, launches into a critique of the conservatism of the higher education system, in particular for not fully exploiting the potential of technology to reduce the costs or improve the effectiveness of learning. He argues a point he has made previously that higher education risks splitting into two camps: research universities that are publicly funded and teaching universities that are for-profit institutions, with the latter fully exploiting technology.

More interestingly, he launches into a criticism of more recent opposition to online learning and distance education at a governmental level. In particular he singles out Ethiopia, India and the United States for introducing government regulations that unduly restrict the potential for open and distance learning. He argues that because of some bad apples, some governments are throwing out the whole barrel. His response:

  • open and distance learning are essential if countries are to rapidly expand opportunities for learning; expanding the existing system (four new universities every week to meet the identified demand) is just not going to cut it
  • self-directed learning is an essential 21st century skill and open and distance learning strongly facilitate this
  • ODL is an effective mechanism for integrating ICTs into higher learning. Governments need to be reminded that ODL institutions have the muscle to innovate cost-effectively at scale
  • maintain strong and independent quality assurance agencies that have all higher education under their purview, public and private, classroom and distance. What matters is the quality of the output of higher education, not how it was offered or under what corporate structure.


It’s hard to argue against any of these points. However, the challenge still remains to demonstrate clearly that technology indeed can break the triangle of cost, quality and access. We will not get better quality and increased access with the same or less cost unless we radically change the dominant paradigm of classroom-based teaching so that the full potential of technology can be exploited. Specialized distance education institutions is one possible model, but we need other models as well that still remain to be invented.

Nevertheless it is refreshing to see a leader of an international, inter-governmental organization so strongly challenging in public mistaken policies at a governmental level.


EDEN conference registration now open

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Dublin Castle

Registration for Learning and Sustainability: EDEN 20th anniversary conference (EDEN = European Distance Education Network) is now open.

To read the registration procedure and conditions as well as registration fees arranged, please, visit the Registration menu on the web and use the Online Registration Form to join the event. All attendees (presenting or visiting) are expected to register.

The conference is in Dublin, Ireland, between 19-22 June, 2011

EDEN Annual Conference 2011

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Dublin Castle

Learning and Sustainability: EDEN 20th anniversary conference (EDEN = European Distance Education Network)

19-22 June 2011

Dublin, Ireland


‘The role of innovative learning as critical awareness raising factor for global sustainability links organically to education around understanding the contexts of ecological challenges. The aim of the 2011 EDEN conference is to highlight different ways and approaches, in order to integrate better the concept of responsible and sustainable development within learning, in its widest sense.’

[If you know what that means, please tell me.]

Call for Contributions

To learn more about the scope of the event and consult the themes, please visit the respective conference pages.

The Conference web-site and the Call for Contributions is open.

As usually, there will be opportunities for submitting and presenting papers, workshops, posters and demonstrations. The conference theme implies in the meantime high level of openness and creativity both in choosing the topics and applying/proposing formats of interactive and involving ways of presentations.

Schedule and Deadlines

Paper Submissions – 28 January, 2011
Registration Open – Mid February
Notification of Authors – 31 March
On-line Registration Closes – 1 June

Organised in collaboration with Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design & Technology