Review of The Education Technology Show 2011
Education Technology Show 2011
Let us hope that this is the first of many events put together across the regions of the UK, designed to bring together school educationalists and the e-learning industry (and indeed other learning companies) together to meet, be inspired and share and celebrate success.
Held in Leeds, the Education Technology show 2011 succeeded in bringing over 300 teachers and learning professionals together with 25 or so vendors. However this was much more than just an exhibition, this was an event to attend to listen and learn as well as see the latest in e-learning and learning technologies, and it was the opening key note address from Professor Sugata Mitra that commenced an interesting and informative day.
Professor Mitra’s presentation was both informative, entertaining and challenging in equal measure. His proposition is quite simple, in that given access to ICT, kids can very effectively teach themselves almost any topic equally as effectively as being taught in schools. Though he does recognise that sometimes some encouragement is needed. Hence the wonderfully named Granny Cloud…as he told the Guardian newspaper
His views on the future of education are perhaps even more interesting than his research to date. Mitra almost goes as far as to argue that his SOLE (Self Organised Learning Environment) will not only change the way we conceptualise pedagogy, but will see more and more teaching/teachers replaced by technology.
We made reference to this in a recent piece “Harnessing Technology or Disrupting Class: two sides of the same coin?”
Mitra’s reasoning is sound. Given the acceleration in technology in the last 10 years, during the next ten years the changes in technology will be even more profound. He argues that no one will be able to tell if an individual is in an on-line environment searching and retrieving a piece of knowledge in real time or that they actually do know the answer to a given particular question posed!
Given this ‘all pervasive’ availability of knowledge on demand, education will be based on three simple tenants… Learning resources, the relevance to and aspiration of the learner and the accessibility to the learning resources. Pedagogy will be learner invented or learner designed and probably collaboratively so by the pupils. Indeed truly we shall see the substitution of the teacher by technology.
However, to Mitra, one fundamental challenge remains, he has quite comprehensively demonstrated that the SOLE model is effective for learners in searching, retrieving and analysing information in research across the world with some imaginative challenges set to kids. It is however he argues the learner having the ability or value set or insight to know what he or she can believe in this massive conflicting and contradictory and often plain misleading online world.
Following Professor Mitra’s opening address the conference offered a choice of seminar events, 16 in total, 4 per session. Topics were varied and delivered by both educational practitioners and vendors alike.
Workshop topics included Using Moodle, using Apple products, raising attainment by the use of games based learning, the use of animation software in class and using learning platforms and more.
The presentations were all of a high standard, with practitioners sharing best practise – and the suppliers equally offering well balanced and informed presentations. I particularly enjoyed the presentation from WAK Educate in the use of animation, and the examples of the work produced were fabulous.
The closing speech was delivered by Turnitin, followed by the awards ceremony to celebrate the day. Awards were given in 12 categories, recognising innovation, creativity and teaching excellence, and all richly deserved.
The day allowed for lots of interactions, informative presentations and meetings in a well- managed way, with the Webanywhere team on hand and exceptionally helpful.