October 31, 2014

EDEN 2012 conference program ready

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© Roberto Boni, 2009

The full program for the EDEN conference in Porto, Portugal, 6-9 June, is now available.
This is one of the major conferences for online and distance learning in Europe, and it is a good way to assess the current developments and status of the field, especially as Europe struggles with its economic difficulties.
I’ve pulled out a few personal choices to give you a flavour of what’s in store:
Technology-Enhanced Learning for Creative Collaboration in Older Adults
Pirkko Hyvonen, University of Oulu, Finland, Margarida Romero, Elena Barbera, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya – UOC, Spain
Quiz em Movimento – A game to Stimulate the Intellect While Fighting a Sedentary Lifestyle (man, this one’s for me!)
Barbara Amorim, Pedro Martins, University of Porto, Portugal
Challenges for Policies, Strategies and Leadership in an Increasingly More Open World
Gard Titlestad, Nick Moe-Pryce, International Council for Open and Distance Education – ICDE, Norway
Perceptions of Progress: Learning Analytics and Social Learning Behaviours
Deborah Everhart, Georgetown University, United States of America
E-Learning Portugal
Antonio Moreira Teixeira, Universidade Aberta, Portugal
The Clash between Generation X and Generation Y: More Myth than Fact!
Helene Raimond, Walloon Agency for Telecommunications, Belgium
Out of Chaos Emerges a New Order: Student Blogging and Communities of Learning
Steve Wheeler, Peter Yeomans, Oliver Quinlan, University of Plymouth, United Kingdom
Personalisation in e-Learning – The Key for Success in Learning in Later Life
Sonia Hetzner, Eline Leen, Innovation in Learning Institute – ILI, Germany
Apologies to the other equally excellent contributors worthy of mention that I’m omitting.
Wish I could be there. If you go and would like to do a report, I’d love to publish it.

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