Although conference programmes can look very interesting and the themes spot on in terms of what we are KEA need to focus on, it is always with a bit of trepidation that I attend conferences as a first timer. This year KEA is attending EDULearn. KEA has not – to our knowledge – previously attended this conference, however, the themes appear to highly relevant if not necessary for us to focus on: education and new learning technologies. The many workshops address various research projects within the entire education system. It thus requires close scrutiny prior to attending each workshop in order to have gauged the potential value of each session as carefully as possible. Not that easy but this conference is obviously experienced in understanding this challenge as we have been inundated with updates on the programmes as it unfolded. Furthermore the website as proved to be user-friendly and as we are three KEA attendees we have been able to discuss themes, workshop, presenters and potential interest to KEA before attending the workshops.
The conference themes are
- World is changing fast – How do we educate people to that their place in the future given that we cannot anticipate what is about to happen? This is effecting your daily lives and not just a theoretical issue. “All is in flux”.
- Education – in a broad context as a driving force to bring forth change. What needs to be learned? Information, Knowledge, Managing information, Grit, Competency, Skills, Imagination. Education is not about giving answers today but about ensuring the students learn how to ask the right questions. Talent – a definition for talent: Talent = f(k+v)*a = function of knowledge and value times attitude. (Amanda D. Relph). Very interesting definition.
The opening speech by Antonio Garcia Ricos brought forth the interesting aspects of change and the impact of technology. Not necessarily new but placed in the context of education this is very interesting. Antonio Garcia Ricos points to the interesting change of perspective which educations have to take into account. We should no longer to
When industry prefers specific universities it is because not so much due to the knowledge, but due to
- Communication skills
- Social skills
- Team working
- Emotional intelligence
- Culture in general
Industry asks questions as to how universities ensure the students obtain these skills not just that they know about these skills.
Kiran Bir Sethi – Not by Chance, But by Desing!
Kiran Bit Sethi started her own school as she was discouraged by the ways in which her son was treated at his former school. Leaving home believing he could do things and arriving home believing that he could not do things, just didn’t sit right with Kiran Bir Sethi. Thus she formed and opened her own school: Riverside where the children are encouraged to imagine, feel, do and share.
The Design Mindset is extremely interesting as it is
- Human focused
Professor Eric Mazur – Memorisation or understanding: are we teaching the right thing?
“When I started teaching, I never asked myself how I wanted to teach. Interesting it would make sense that I had asked myself that question but I didn’t. Instead I started teaching in exactly the same way my teachers had taught me.”
My students in physics in premed got high grades and I naturally thought that I was the best teacher ever seen.
The illusion of being the best teacher unravelled.
For example the students put in their evaluation form that Dr. Mazur taught straight from his lecture notes… And it was not positively meant.
This passive model of teaching (instructive teaching) going on all round the world where the teacher is merely telling the students what they should know. And this model needs to change. As the students actually do not learn.
The difficulty is not in transfer of information but in assimilation of knowledge. Mazur started realizing that the challenge and obligation of teacher is to ensure an active class, not a passive class. It is not a new way of teaching. Rather the words of Socrates: Teach by questioning.
Classroom teaching can be based on a simple formula:
- ask a question
- give them time to think
- ask the students to find a students with a different answer to the question than their own
- present different answers
- provide explanation
The interesting learning from this simple formula is that is stimulates thinking and students become emotionally engaged and committed.
And so the conference got off to an excellent start and the key learnings have been addressed namely that the education system has to change in order to address the needs of today and tomorrow in a way in which the students are able to engage in tomorrow in meaningful ways where they are able to think, do and share.