Global Time Conference – Review

Posted by Niels on Tuesday March 1st 2011 at 22:17

Last week I attended the AACE Global Time Conference, a three day, online spectacle filled with speakers whom all shared interest in educational technology and media.

One topic which was a focal point throughout many presentations was mobile technology (e.g. Ipad and Smartphones). Judging the sheer number of speakers which submitted a paper connected to mobile teaching, it is clearly a ‘hot’ topic. Of course, this has its reasons. Thomas J. C. Smyth indicated that mobile devices are becoming very popular and widespread among different populations. Alec Couros expanded on this by showing that there will be more mobile devices than there are pc’s by 2012. Cathleen Norris and Eliot Soloway also said that better school results were achieved by students who used mobile learning devices instead of pen and paper. If looked at from the perspective of serious games, it is interesting to image the evolution to mobile serious games.

Keynote speaker Jay Cross suggested a provocative idea about the gap between how education (in this case relating to work, but this can also be applied in general) has always been and how it should be. He emphasized that we need to do things differently, but we don’t know how exactly. Following this train of thought, it reminds me of what Cathleen Norris en Eliot Soloway said in their presentation: “Schools need to create an opportunity of the current crisis. […] We need to change the way we work.” In other words, instead of rebuilding the same educational resources in the very same way, it should be improved upon. In my opinion, this also has some complications for serious games. They should not blandly integrate traditional schooling, but transform it in a meaningful, digital way.

The main trend, of course, was about the shift from traditional schooling to digital education. In an entertaining presentation, Alec Couros, talked about the vast resources that were available online, also known as ‘open education’ (open content, free software, open courses, open teaching, etc.). His take on open education, which is mainly a very social one, is an inspiration to anyone involved in schooling technology. Finally, Gilly Salmon made clear that mistake in e-learning were made in the past. Educators want to be innovating on every front, but should instead focus on core values. Wise advice for the future!

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