JISC Online Conference – Day 1 Part 1

This is the first time I’ve participated in the Jisc Online Conference so I was really interested in how the format worked.  It’s great to have the flexibility to dip in and out as necessary but on the other you need to get the balance right between focussing on the conference and the day job to allow enough focus on the conference and the topics.

The first day started with a cracking discussion with Lord (David) Puttnam who was very relaxed and open about he was learning to use the webinar technology. It was a wide ranging discussion but there was some key themes around what would be included in a ‘Digital pedgagogy’.

I’ll discuss the key themes shortly but from a personal perspective David’s talk was very much a plea for some strong political leadership in the area of education with a salient warning that our society risks getting stuck behind the emerging markets such as China if we do not seriously think about how much as a society we should be investing in ICT throughout all areas of the education sector.

There was a strong call to invest more in teacher training at all levels of the sector to ensure that our staff are properly skilled and immerse teachings in a learning experience where technology is used appropriately and creatively.

One of the interesting points that David Puttnam (as a ex film producer) would like is to turn lecture halls into copyright free zones. Educators are cautious of doing the types of mashups with audio and video that their students, less worried about the implications of copyright infringement, are doing at home anyway. The trade off, according to David, would be that the education sector would take on the responsibility to educate our students about copyright.

David also talked about what technologies would be important in the future and here he cited the main streaming of voice recognition and the associate skills of oracy and organising your thinking that would become critical for students and staff in the future.

David left the conference with three themes to think about:

  • How can we use technologies creatively?
  • That oracy and and organising your thinking are going to be critical skills
  • And that this is possibility at a ‘Gettysburg address moment for education’ (referencing Cathy N Davidson’s blog post about the protests at UC Davies)

In summary this was almost a call to arms for the education sector to be much more proactive in looking at it’s impact on society : “education must be a compelling experience for all students and we need to demand the resources we need to be able to do this”.


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