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Keynote and invited speakers
Chief Learning Architect for One Laptop per Child
David Cavallo is Chief Learning Architect for OLPC (One Laptop per Child). His work focuses on human learning, designing technology to facilitate learning, and large-scale reform of educational systems. Through his work on "models of growth", he has focused on comprehensive approaches to large-scale change, including content development, educational methodology, teacher development and organizational change. Prior to working with OLPC, He was co-director of the Future of Learning Research Group at MIT. Cavallo has also led the design and implementation of medical informatics as part of a reform of health care delivery and management at the Harvard University Health Services. David holds a Ph.D. and a Master of Science degree from the MIT Media Laboratory and a Bachelors of Science degree in Computer Science from Rutgers University. He has published widely on Learning and Education for the 21st century. Cavallo has served as an advisor to national efforts of educational change catalyzed by technology.
The New Maths: Multiplying by 1-to-1 to Reduce a Division
Social inequalities inside and between countries exist alongside rapidly increasing access to digital technologies. Reducing the digital divide to enable full social inclusion is therefore not just a matter of providing access to computers. Instead, reducing the social gap requires access to technology that supports the development of the kinds of agency and collective efficacy that can give users power over their lives.
One Laptop per Child (OLPC) aims to create learning environments for children that facilitate human and social development. By providing ubiquitous, 1-to-1 access to mobile, connected laptops, the goal is completely to transform the educational environment, both in schools and in the community.
In this keynote, David Cavallo analysed the implicit assumptions we make about learning and the organisation and processes of learning environments. Focusing on the underlying principles of OLPC, and providing examples of experiences to date, David engaged delegates in a discussion about how to evolve new, more progressive, more equitable ways of organising education and of empowering learners.^
Senior Lecturer at the School of Psychology at the University of Southampton
Itiel Dror is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Psychology at the University of Southampton (UK). He holds a doctorate in cognitive neuroscience from Harvard University and specializes in the fields of learning, training & skill acquisition, technology & cognition, and human performance, expertise & decision making. He has received numerous awards for his research and teaching innovations, and is a recognized international leader in learning technologies. Dr Dror has conducted research and consultancy for numerous organisations, including the UK Identity and Passport Service, US Air Force, the Japanese Advanced Science Project, the European Office of Aerospace Research & Development, and for a variety of police forces in the UK and in other countries. He has also worked with a host of commercial companies, including IBM, Orange, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and B&Q. Itiel's interest and experience is in taking scientific knowledge and theoretical academic models about the human brain and mind, and translating them into practical ways to improve and affect human performance and decision making in the workplace. Much of his applied work relates to learning and skill acquisition, decision making, and how technology can aid in changing behaviours and cognition. Dr Dror is an associate editor of Pragmatics and Cognition, and is editing a five year series on Cognition and Technology. A special issue on Learning Technologies is currently in press.
Learning and technology: what is it all about?
Learning is not only about acquiring information and knowledge, but also (and mainly) about whether and how these are remembered and used. To understand learning and how technology can affect it, is less about what is taught and what technology is used, and much more about what learners learn: if you want people to learn using learning technology, you need first to understand how they learn.
In this keynote talk Itiel Dror illustrated that when you know what learning is all about, then seemingly small differences in the way learning materials are designed and delivered can make a huge difference to their effectiveness. The full potential of technology enhanced learning depends crucially on those involved having an understanding of what learning is all about, and the know-how to apply it in practice.
Itiel's paper Technology enhanced learning: the good, the bad, and the ugly [75 kB PDF] introduces some of this general approach, and a specific illustration of it can be seen in his paper Helping the cognitive system learn: exaggerating distinctiveness and uniqueness [140 kB PDF].^
Professor of International Health at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
Hans Rosling is professor of International Health at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. When working as doctor in Mozambique he discovered a formerly unrecognized paralytic disease that his research team named konzo.
His research concerns links between economy and health in Africa, Asia and Latin America. He has been adviser to WHO and UNICEF and he co-founded Médecines sans Frontiers in Sweden. He started courses and published a textbook on Global Health.
With his son and daughter-in-law he founded the Gapminder Foundation to promote a fact based world view by developing Trendalyzer, software that converts international statistics into moving, interactive and enjoyable graphics - www.gapminder.org. In 2007 Google acquired Trendalyzer.
A fact-based world view
In this keynote speech on world development (which has been labeled "humorous, yet deadly serious") Hans Rosling analysed the economic, social and environmental changes that are taking place in the world. Trendalyzer's animations clearly display how countries improve or deteriorate from the point of view of health, environment and economics. Many in the audience may have found that their world view is some decades too old. Rosling's 5 main points were:
Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Leeds, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering
Professor Fisher welcomed delegates to the conference on behalf of the University of Leeds. John Fisher is Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Leeds, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. He is also a member of EPSRC's Technical Opportunities Panel and Non-Executive Director of Tissue Regenix and BITECIC Ltd. In his role as the University of Leeds' first Deputy Vice-Chancellor he focuses in particular on internal affairs including strategy, academic development and planning and faculty management. He also chairs the Steering Groups for Information Technology, Sustainable Development and the Capital Programme. Previously as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, Professor Fisher led the University's Research Assessment Exercise submission. Professor Fisher has over 25 years experience in Medical Engineering research, and has published over 350 journal papers in this field. In the last 10 years his research has focused on wear and wear debris of artificial joints. Current research also focuses on cartilage tissue substitution, spine biomechanics and tissue engineering. His work is supported by major collaborative programme funding from EPSRC, NIH, NIHR, Regional Development Agency and Industry with key international collaborations in USA, Europe, China and Japan.^
George Auckland - Head of Innovation, BBC Vision
Lifelong Learning, the changing role of the BBC.
In this illustrated talk George started with an historical overview on the BBC's involvement with Education in the UK, developed the concept of 'Beyond the Broadcast' and showed ways in which digital technology can help us engage more fruitfully with our audiences. BBC Education started broadcasting in April 1924, using analogue radio of course. However it was interesting to see how many of the early concepts are alive and kicking today. Some people would even call them Web 2.0.
NB George's session could not be recorded at ALT-C 2008.
Building the Arc: the Social Network and Emotional-Intellectual Dynamic Methodology of the SMARTlab Practice-Based PhD Programme
A series of SMARTlab projects have focussed on 'bridging the digital divide' over the years, and their not for profit activism has linked closely with their research and knowledge exchange platforms, to provide a number of rich ‘digital dividends’ too. With the 30th practice-based PhD soon to be submitted, and an MIT book about the method soon to be published, this invited paper shared the history of the SMARTlab PhD Programme and its aims for the future. The talk discussed the learning models and the social networks and community building models imported from the NGO and Creative Industries sectors in which the team also work, to inform a scholarly programme designed to support individual scholars and simultaneously to present the academy with a range of creative challenges from within.
Jane Hart - Head, Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies
From the Top 100 Tools for Learning list Jane highlighted 25 key, free tools to enable you to explore and experience the wide variety of learning tools now available. The tools were a mix of personal productivity tools for managing your own personal learning as well as authoring tools for creating all kinds of learning experiences. Many of them so-called Web 2.0 tools that promote a social, collaborative, sharing approach to learning.
Denise Kirkpatrick - Pro Vice-Chancellor for Learning and Teaching, The Open University
In this session Denise reflected on the Open University's experience in adopting the open source learning management system, from initial decision-making through the extensive development work involved, to a consideration of the issues associated with participating in an open source community. She identified the business and cultural challenges we face through the journey, ways that we responded, and described the activities that are intended to support and encourage uptake and use of the VLE and greater levels of staff and student engagement in e-learning.
Richard Noss - Professor of Mathematics Education at the Institute of Education, Co-Director London Knowledge lab, TLRP Associate Director for Technology Enhanced Learning
What are the Grand Challenges for Technology Enhanced Learning?
When the Teaching and Learning Research Programme launched its Technology Enhanced Learning call, it chose four major themes: personalisation, productivity, flexibility and inclusion. Are these the grand challenges for TEL? Or are they merely signposts for research? If the latter, how can we turn them into real challenges that can stimulate cumulative research and, of course, real change in schools, colleges, workplaces and in the home? Richard outlined some of the TEL projects currently underway, and some ways in which the TEL programme is attempting to rise to these challenges - as well as talked about some of his own research too.
Gilly Salmon - Professor of e-Learning and Learning Technologies, University of Leicester
WHAT IF...... Learning Technologists Ruled the World? ...
In this session, Gilly speculated about creating the future for learning through an LT lens (If you can vision it, you can action it!)
Clive Shepherd - Chair of the eLearning Network
E-learning in the workplace has been dominated for too long by top-down management initiatives to deliver formal content to large audiences as cheaply as possible. There are signs at long last that e-learning is beginning to shake off its CBT (computer-based training) heritage and re-invent itself as a much more flexible, responsive and learner-centered medium, one in which all learning and development professionals can play a valuable role, and which encourages learners to be active contributors. In this session, Clive explored the potential for the democratisation of content creation in the workplace, ever mindful of the reactionary forces which can hinder its progress.
George Siemens - Associate Director, Research and Development, Learning Technologies Centre, University of Manitoba
Finding new centres: Institution and Individual, Formal and Informal
For almost a century, bold predictions have been issued declaring the transformative impact of technology on the educational enterprise. For learners and educators alike, reality has yet to provide even a pale reflection of the promises offered by hype. Recently, learning networks have become important topics of discussion, with subtle indications of serving as tools of leverage for systemic changes within education. This session argued for learning networks as change agents transforming both information access and learner interactions. As information and interaction change, new centres of balance are required between institutional and individual as well as formal and informal learning.
Page last updated: 16/06/2009 (LS)