Monday, June 04, 2007

The Future of Education

Today I attended the first day of a five day online conference "The Future of Education." It was a terrific series of thought provoking seminars on how technology is being used in Education around the world.

Ironically enough this world wide conference is being organized from right here in Winnipeg by George Simens, the associate director of the Learning Technologies Centre at the University of Manitoba.

Presentations are run through Elluminate and are being recorded so if you missed anything you can check out the saved editions. I found the program surprisingly well suited for online discussions and quite flexible, despite some sound issues. It was really fascinating to see other websites, youtube videos, and blogs being brought into the discussion as we were listening.

I was particularly interested in the presentation by Professor Sugata Mitra who studies education technology in the UK. His discussion of information technology in remote and rural Indian communities was an important reminder about how technology should provide opportunities as opposed to barriers based on geographic and social exclusion. His study of self-organizing structures is particularly suited to the online community, and would be of great benefit to help groups across Canada connect.

Dave Cormier's presentation was also excellent and I was particularly interested in his discussion of Disposable Learning objects as it pertains to history books and websites. I still have to go back an listen to the presentation again to get the full scoop, but after sitting in I felt like my technology grasp went up tenfold in a short period of time.

Still so much to learn, so little time.

The Conference goes on until Friday and all the topics are being posted online. Looking forward to more great discussions!

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