Association of Learning Technology members should have a look at our Cabinet Secretary and Minister for Education Mike Russell - leading from the the front on giving the educational system a shake and trying to put the whole debate on educational technology in schools and beyond on a new and different footing - the debate is all focused on making the most of what we have in that colder and more challenging climate - which will be all the clearer at the end of this month when the Scottish budget settlement is finally revealed and in place.
It would be good too to get some input from the ALT Community in the work that is going on to shape the educational technology future of Scottish Education here - I am already seeing things where I know a lot of lessons have been already learned across FE and HE. Folks from global community should have a look at all things tagged #EduScotICT.
It was a rare treat and a privilege to get away from my desk and get to a whole ALT-C conference and it did not disappoint I came back buzzing with ideas and just as significantly an armoury of practical solutions and for my day job some potential business opportunities. You can't really ask for a richer diet than this.
The big picture stuff which colleagues in Scotland should have a hard look at came from Uruguay , America and a timely reminder that "the future is here already it is just not evenly distributed". Though I came away from my first session being more and more convinced that the cycle of innovation adoption is getting shorter and shorter around the world. Here is just a snapshot and some links for folks to have a look at
1. Day One I managed to attend two of the pre-conference workshops
- The Horizon Report on new and emerging technologies really worth a look - especially on the ever shortening adoption curves. If we are thinking in Scotland around tools we will have access to in 3 years time this is the place to look This work is really worth having a look at. This work is commissioned by JISC for the UK but is based on similar studies from around the world.
- Also managed to spend some time looking at impact of learner analytics oops I should be calling it Activity Data . I am still a bit sceptical of this approach while I appreciate most organisations are now data rich and information poor . I worry that monitoring lots information on a business systems dashboard around an individual learners attendance , performance , time spent accessing VLE , books borrowed from library, even through GPRS how the move around campus etc replaces human contact with the institution. One staggering piece of research showed those borrowing most books at a particular institution were most likely to get a first class degree. If you are interested in this area of work you should check out this site.
- The highlight of conference for me was hearing Miguel Brechner and about the progress of the one lap-top per child programme and educational and social impacts of Plan Ceibal – a new approach to the use of technology in educationUruguay has deployed more than 450,000 computers to every pupil in state education from the 1st year of primary to the 3rd year of secondary school. 99% of these students now have Internet connectivity in their school. All wireless and we're talking schools some of which had no power before programme started. It is totally transformational.From Miguel - as all pupils have laptops and connectivity new challenges appear and the personalization of education becomes a real possibility.
- I then spent a session looking at the growth of virtual schools and colleges around the world and in the UK . Currently I get approached once a month or so by a new virtual college or school looking at ways they can support education in Scotland and Scotland's learners. Worth having a look at VISCED they are uncovering some great practice from around the world and some in our own backyard that has so far been over looked.