Archive for category Conferences

LAK18 – Sydney

Banner - LAK18 was great (change my mind)A highlight of my year will surely be LAK18 – the annual Learning Analytics and Knowledge conference run by the Society for Learning Analytics Research (SoLAR). Together with Simon Buckingham Shum, Xavier Ochoa and Agathe Merceron, I was programme chair for the conference.

Our five days in Sydney were the culmination of more than a year’s hard work. We were really pleased with the attendance and the engagement at the conference, and the success of new initiatives such as double-blind peer review and the introduction of discussion around meta-reviews of the papers.

The next steps for us will be two special sections of the Journal of Learning Analytics – one related to the conference theme of human-centred design, and one including extended versions of the best papers. I shall also be ex officio programme chair of the next conference, at Arizona State in 2019.

Three images from the conferenceThe conference also provided a chance for many of the Learning Analytics Community Europe (LACE) organising team to meet up and make plans for the future.

LACE team

 

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Perfect Storm Utrecht

Sound sculptureWhile in Utrecht in February I also keynoted at the Perfect Storm. This innovative educational event is a collaborative conference designed to kickstart projects and ideas.

The organisers describe the event in this way: ‘The PerfectStorm 2018 is a unique concept called collaborative conference. Bring your team to kickstart your own innovation. Design Thinking, Learning Design and Leading Creativity collide in this energizing event where you work on your own goals, guided by international experts. Enjoy sharing learning journeys in campfire sessions where you experience a broad range of best practices, new tools and innovative insights.’

The Perfect Storm took  place in a working art school, with sculptures and art works to explore during the breaks (see picture for a sound sculpture by Dianne Verdonk that I enjoyed – sounds in the megaphone are transformed into vibrations in the body of the sculpture and thus transferred to the body of anyone lying on top of it.)

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Keynote abstract

Design thinking involves the creation of innovative solutions that address people’s needs. In the case of education, what are those needs? Are we educating people to be workers, citizens, good members of the community, rounded individuals or lifelong learners? Rebecca Ferguson, lead author of the Innovating Pedagogy series of reports, will talk about the challenges facing our learners, the problems we need to solve, and some of the pedagogies that offer a starting point.

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Utrecht: ATEE Winter Conference

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Utrecht, with conference venue in distanceIn March, I enjoyed my time as keynote for the Association for Teacher Education in Europe (ATEE) Winter Conference in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The conference was held on February 15th and 16th and was organised by the Archimedes Institute from the HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht.

Keynote abstract

From educational radio and television, through virtual learning environments, to mobile devices – when we think of innovation in education, we tend to think of the technology used to deliver it. This technology has helped to extend access to education, but technology alone cannot bring about deep and sustained improvements in the quality of learning. The Innovating Pedagogy reports shift the emphasis towards innovations in pedagogy: identifying new forms of teaching, learning and assessment to guide educators. These innovations can be used to help learners deal with a changing world in which they need to make sense of increasing amounts of data and information, and make the most of their opportunities to make global connections. In her keynote, Rebecca Ferguson will talk about new pedagogies that can be put into practice in the classroom, the ideas that connect them and the skills that support them. Some of these approaches extend current practice, some personalise it, some enrich it and others explore new possibilities that have opened up in the past decade.

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Challenges and opportunities of innovation

Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 12.07.50European Distance Learning Week kicked off today with a panel on the challenges and opportunities of innovation. The week is organised by the European Distance and E-learning Network (EDEN) in collaboration with the United States Distance Learning Association.

You can watch the panel here.

As one of the panelists, I talked about our work on the Innovating Pedagogy reports, identifying ten pedagogies each year that have the potential to change practice. This year’s report goes to the printers at the end of this week, and will be out on 7 December.

Event description

“At first glance, the speed of developments in Europe is overwhelming. Pre-existing conditions created in education established immense possibilities for innovations on the continent. Very complex and concise solutions are already in place. If we think about Open Education, we have a variety of forms on offer (MOOCs, OER, open online learning, virtual mobility, remote experiments and science education, to name a few), as well as regulations facilitating collaboration of education providers on all levels of education (Bologna process, credit transfer, prior and non-formal learning recognition).

“ET2020 open coordination groups already proved their important role in fostering developments in member states. The working group on Digital Skills and Competences addressed transversal issues and collaboration on innovation development and implementation through all levels of education. New instruments and tools were established to agree upon digitally competent organizations; citizens, teachers and learners can suggest new training schemes and certification possibilities, as well as recognition of digitally skilled employees in companies.

“The opening panel of EDLW addresses these speedy developments, unbundling solutions, micro, mezo, and macro level discussions and the complexity of Europe.”

Moderator: Airina Volungevičienė, EDEN President

Panel members:

  • Sumathi Subramaniam, European Commission, DG Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, Innovation and EIT
  • Brikena Xhomaqi, Director – Lifelong Learning Platform
  • Rebecca Ferguson, Senior Lecturer, Institute of Educational Technology, The Open University
  • Sharon Goldstein, Berkeley College Online
  • Marci Powell, USDLA
  • Timothy Read, Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor of Methodology & Technology, National Distance Education University (UNED), Spain

I received an open badge for my participation – an EDLW facilitator badge (below).

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CALRG conference 2017

Together with Liz FitzGerald and Eileen Scanlon, I chaired the 38th annual conference of the Computers and Learning research group (CALRG), which took place at The Open University 16-18 June 2017. We enjoyed keynote presentations from Siân Bayne, Jenny Preece and Ben Shneiderman.

Full details of the conference, together with links to all the abstracts and to many of the presentations, are available on Cloudworks.

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The third day of the conference was FutureLearn Academic Network day. This annual conference event prioritises the work of doctoral students within the FLAN Network. This year, it brought together presenters from Bath, Lancaster, Purdue (USA), Sheffield, Southampton, The Open University, and Warwick.

Our discussant was Professor Rupert Wegerif, University of Cambridge.

Members of FLAN can access the video of the event.

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Thanks to the organisers

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LAK17: it’s a wrap

Scattered between my research presentations at LAK17 was my work as a member of the executive for the Society for Learning Analytics Research (SoLAR). The executive met daily during the conference – it is the only chance we have each year for face-to-face meetings. The LAK conferences also provide a venue for the AGM of the society and, despite the size of the room, where the AGM was held, it was standing room only for most of the meeting.

The executive also have a role to play in decisions about the conference itself, as well as acting as reviewers on the programme committee and chairs for the different sessions. Next year, at LAK18 in Vancouver, I shall be taking on a bigger role, as one of the programme chairs for the conference.

The picture shows me with half the SoLAR Executive at the post-LAK17 review meeting.

SoLAR women

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Learning analytics community Europe

The European FP7-funded learning analytics community exchange (LACE) project came to an end last June. Since then, we have become a special interest group (SIG) of the Society for Learning Analytics Research (SoLAR) and we are now the learning analytics community Europe (LACE).

Although the loss of large-scale funding has meant scaling down our activities, we have still been active and our Twitter account reflects some of that work – including presentations on European learning analytics work in China, Japan and South Korea.

The LAK17 conference provided a chance for eight of the international team to get together and plan our next event, a workshop in our ethics and privacy in learning analytics series (EP4LA) that we are submitting to this year’s ECTEL conference.

LACE crew

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