Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Ways emerge in that we go them

I'm not really sure if it was Gandhi or another innovator who gave this sentence to the world, but I really like the mentality behind. It seems to me that most innovators follow such mentality, otherwise they wouldn't dare to step on unsecure new grounds. I was really thrilled to meet you, innovators at the Conference and I truly hope that our ways will be crossing each other again.

This is the last blog post for the EDEN 2010 Annual Conference and it is dedicated to all participants, bloggers, tweeters, organisers, all those who shared this experience live or online. Thank you for being there, sharing your thoughts, or just listening and absorbing the complex thoughts of your distinguished peers.
Innovators and followers: see you soon in Budapest at the next EDEN event.

To follow EDEN events, visit the European Distance and E-learning Network's website.

Last but not least, cheers to my fellow bloggers: Steve Ildiko and Gabor!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

More images of EDEN

The coffee and lunch marquee, Martin Bean keynote speech and Ama giving it stick in the NAP new members meeting.

More EDEN Pictures

Some more pictures from EDEN this year in Valencia: Steve Wheeler, George Siemens, Gila Kurtz

Planes, people and places

I'm just back from the EDEN Conference, having spent just over 15 hours travelling, via 4 trains, a bus and a much delayed flight. The plane eventually arrived, but when we finally landed at London Gatwick, I had missed all of my connections, and I finally arrived home very late. Yet regardless of the travel difficulties, it will be the people I met that will reside in my memory the most.

I had a lot of fun at this year's EDEN Conference, and I would like to express my thanks to all those responsible for the organisation of the event. From the great idea of having the marquee outside the venue for lunch, drinks etc., to the inspired choice of the city of Valencia to hold the conference in, all ran smoothly and was enjoyed by all. Valencia is in some ways its own kind of Eden, with a city plan that is divided by a meandering city park that has replaced the course of an old river bed. You can walk for miles along this and simply take in the beautiful scenary, the jacaranda trees in full bloom, and the orange groves heavy with their sweet fruit. The stunning Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (City of the Arts and Sciences) provides a futuristic spectacle both day and night and is well worth an hour or two of wandering around, just to appreciate the sense of scale and space, as well as the fine attention to detail the complex affords.

At the conference, I loved 'Mr Bean' (as usual, Martin Bean, Vice Chancellor of the UK Open University, was a great keynote speaker and raised some key issues for us to think about at the outset of the event) and I loved hearing George Siemens for the first time. I managed to talk to both of them during the conference and I am impressed the depth of knowledge each has, and their keen ability to convey their ideas succinctly and accessibly. I also enjoyed my brief sparring match with George over the title of 'e-learning' and whether it was still a valid and relevant term to use to describe what we do most of our working days. Michael Moore who was sat next to me was expertly dragged into the debate by the ever urbane Alan Tait (pictured above), and the Twittersphere was also buzzing for a short while as many people not at the event also weighed in with their views. For me, the jury is still out on this issue, even though one of the final plenaries saw Jim Devine create something of a reworking of what the 'e' stands for in e-learning - echoing in many ways a keynote I gave several years ago at the University of Wales. I'm playing devil's advocate still - do we really need the 'e' in e-learning anymore, or does it still serve a purpose?

It was wonderful talking to so many smart people about their passion of advancing e-learning further. I had several prolonged discussions with new President of EDEN, Morten Flate Paulsen and other members of the executive committee, such as Denes Zarka and Ari-Matti Auvinen and touched base with other old friends including Nikitis Kastis, Montse Guittert, Albert Sangra, Thomas Fischer, Marci Powell, Niall Sclater, Thomas Kretchmer, Grainne Conole and Sally Reynolds. I also met several people face to face whom I had been linked previously online, including Alex Pickett, Deborah Allen, Sebastian Fiedler and Ricardo Torres Kompen. New friends were made, such as Peter Shea, Thomas Richter and Stephen Jenner, and many more whose names have slipped me, but will not doubt bump into again and have more interesting conversations with. Thank you all - you made my short stay in beautiful Valencia cerebral, enjoyable and memorable (Apologies if I have misspelt any of your names).

I can't wait for next year's EDEN conference in Dublin. I will for the first time be able to get a direct flight from my home town of Plymouth, and be there in just over an hour.

Friday, 11 June 2010

eden10 wiffiti

EDEN Fellows

After his welcome note, Alan Tait awarded this year's EDEN fellows. The two Senior Fellow awards were given to Michael G. Moore and Martine Vidal. Martine, unfortunately, could not be present, but the other fellows appeared to be delighted to be welcome in this special circle. Here are the snapshots:

Michael G. Moore, Senior Fellow

Antonio Teixeira, EDEN Fellow

Airina Volungeviciene, EDEN Fellow

Deborah Arnold, EDEN Fellow

Berit Johnsen, EDEN Fellow

What do lifelong learners expect?

Andy DiPaolo from Stanford Center for Professional Development on the evolution of Online Education talked about new players in the mix of the higher education landscape: new universities established playing their own game. This game is get their students "love-live-work". Main challenge: what do lifelong learners and employers need and expect of online higher education providers? So according to Andy, they:
  • are busy
  • want access everywhere
  • want choice
  • want bites of learning, not the full packadge
  • want engagement
  • fast and practice oriented knowledge
  • need challenge
  • multitasking (hello homo interneticus!)
  • blended environment
  • TIVO: digital video recorder learning your viewing habits (shiver)
  • want mentors
  • want social community
  • variable pricing (example of iTunes)
Wonder how many of the traditional universities on the old continent know who their learners are and what they need?
After this exciting experience for strategic planning from the other side of the Atlantic ocean, Ciaran Mc Cormack gave an insight into exciting primary and secondary school online multimedia projects showing real-life, already established hands-on examples. If you listened well, you may be in the position to scribble in your iPad a short note on who your students will be in 15 years!

Both presentations will be available later on the EDEN website.

Coffee break now.