Thursday, 10 June 2010

Valencia, varied and voracious

We have enjoyed an interesting and varied programme here at Day 1 proper of the 19th EDEN Conference. The day dawned bright and almost cloudless, in great contrast to last evening, when the rain in spain became a pain and threatened to send our good hopes down the drain. We have met for coffee and lunch in the large marquee outside the main conference venue - in itself a good decision, because it gives us all a chance to don our sunglasses, and pose outside in th bright sun, networking, chatting, entering into conspiratorial circles (surely not - Ed) and generally making a nuisance of ourselves. Some complained that the excellent Valencian Paella they served up for lunch was all gone by the time they arrived at the marquee. Some people must have voracious appetites then, but you know what they say - the early bird catches the worm. (Look, I am not suggesting that there were any vermiform creatures cooked up in the paella, OK?). Anyway, we all enjoyed lunch. There were many excellent conversations to be had with the likes of George Siemans, Niall Sclater, Thomas Richter, Grainne Conole, Michael Moore, Ricardo Torres Kompen, Gila Kurtz, Ann Gaskell, Judith Collier,Jenny Kilgore, Pedro Nito, Alan Tait, Jack Koumi and many many more too numerous to mention. But I'm not going to drop any names, you understand.

This morning two great keynotes from Martin Bean (see my previous post) and his 'new Canadian best mate' George Siemens, set the scene for another memorable event. George in particular made some bold statements about the nature of courses and their failure to tap into the current needs of students who reside firmly in the world of digital media. It's not about knowledge acquisition he said, it's about making connections, and many traditional courses don't provide this opportunity. At the end of the plenasy, we had all been well and truly Siemenized.

My own session was shared with Claudio Del Rio, Thomas Richter (Stepping in for Ulf-Daniel Ehlers) and Gila Kurtz and was held in the main conference hall. We were very fortunate to have about 120 delegates listening to us, and there was quite a lively discussion after each paper presentation. I spoke on using blogs and wikis in a variety of combinations to promote a range of reflective and collaborative learning opportunities, and using 'blikis' to encourage deeper negotiation of meaning among peers. Others related their own research tales, ranging from great success to abject failure. It was, I think, a very honest and open session.

More later from the conference when I get some time.

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