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Home groups: Reflections on the conference

Cambridge International Conference on Open and Distance Learning, 25/9/09

Cloud created by:

Gráinne Conole
25 September 2009

Reflections on the conference overall

Group 1

Used wordle to summary the discussions – emerging role of teachers, becoming facilitors, self-directed learning how re present questions how are the stories told and convincing others ROLE or SOLE?

Friends and learning partners find a friend learning partners, build community, cultural issues, privacy concerns, marketing potential, student success = e-learning partner?, how do you self-select

In or out of the clouds? Cloud and cloud like concepts, issues for developing countieis, course developers.learning technoologists, cloud like groups/tols or 3rd party tools reinvent or reuse, does it make a difference? Course retention, how do we measure if it makes a difference?

OER – are they really open and accessible, how far can you go in sharing, corporate copyright holders, need for IT skills, central access point/index – dewey?

Whole wordle – learning, role, technology, partner, stories, teachers.

Group 2

Keynote 1: Our group thought more ethnographic research is needed to look at peer group and also unscripted support and learning. Reflected a move away from teacher-centred to learner-centered

Keynote 2: transparency vs. privacy, also raises some management issues, also a cultural component which could be of great use

Keynote 3: Scalability as an issue for Cloudworks, does the number affect it, is it about  Is design peripheral or central for a teacher more what makes for successful innovation. Is it about community at the overall level or sub-communities.

Keynote 4: Who does OER support more – teachers or learners? OER’s as beneficial for developing countries.

Group 3

Different approach – looking at more of a thematic output. Keynote 1: was to do with the role of the teacher in the learning process, learning happens when students are given access to knowledge, keynote 2: more about the function of the role of the institution, communities of learning and how they relates to individual students motivation to learn – learning for work, or for its own sake. Keynote 3: impact – recognised they we don’t have anyone in our own institution thinking about clouds – technologies in all sense of the word open doors that we may not even realise exist. Coming here enables us to share our experiences. Keynote 4: learning takes place when all sources of knowledge are available freely to students, we need to think about how to make this available to our students 

Group 4

Five key issues

  1. Context: the issue of context kept remerging, cultural differentiation, gender issues, whatever we do, context is very important and we need to bear it in mind.
  2. Invisibility of teachers and students – the group thought that the design process needs to be more open, there are also legal issues and privacy issues.
  3. Critical thinking – recurrent problem, range of tools can be used, how do all these tools actually enhance learning, rather than just support it? It isn’t just about “googling” things.
  4. OER and access
  5. Mobile learning – have huge potential for learning, can work anywhere anytime. How does it help students to actually learn?

Group 5

Points relate to the experience of the conference, experience of awareness raising, exposure to a range of things, opportunity t think, reflect and inspiration. Valuable to be exposed to so many people from different countries. Sharing how things are at home. Exposure to new ways of using technologies. Experience of teaching through distance and the concept of openness, exposure to web 2.0 and beyond. Raised questions about technology and pedagogical issues? How will technologies improve pedagogy? Regard the tools as tools. Communities of learning are key. Exposure: related strongly to idea of examples of good practice. Struck by the innovations in the papers – the hole in the wall for example – an example of good pedagogy. New students are different to those from the past, the issues of pacing was raised. We need to rethink new mechanisms for retention. Gaps: maybe not enough emphasis on including the excluded. Inspiration – take back an awareness of the issues we hold dear as distance educators, the vision of distance providing access.

Group 6

Sugata: kids can be just as self-motivated as adults students, possibly

But were the learners orchestrated? Is there such a thing as a teacher? Are the kids autodidacts or is there a learning designer behind the hole in the wall>

Freedom to learn, motivations, outcomes - can u test with adults

Morten – does more access and participation in online self-paced open enrolment, degrade quality of education, does more mean worse? Analysis still on going – need evidence

Learning is not a single, one-way passive activity, it is bi-

Grainne: neat, cute functional and efficient – why don’t we use it? Why don’t we make better use of the technologies – resistance – we don’t have enough time, Mason – time is the new distances, distance – disadvantage social, economic or spatial Answer – Andrew Marvell – “To his coy mistress…

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Dominic Newbould
2:02pm 27 September 2009


The point I was making with the Andrew Marvel poem (which is actually about something rather different and wholly inappropriate for this learned debate!), was that we must not be coy about the new media and the new technologies. They are opening up opportunity for learners and teachers in ways we never dreamed even 15 years ago.

Now my message is that we don't have time to waste, as Marvell claims. We know the speed of change is terrifying, but - while we cannot make our sun stand still "yet we will make him run..."

Dunno why the sun should be masculine there, but ICTs, OERs and other pioneering manifestations are the contemporary representations of the sun. We can't do everything we may want - and I have about 6 tabs open on my laptop at the moment, with 6 different threads and applications running - but we must do all we can in the time we have, and still make more time...

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