Archive for the ‘Wales Wide Web’ Category

PLE Conference 2012: Call for papers launched

December 31st, 2011 by Graham Attwell

Very happy to see the paper on Building Personal Learning Environments by using and mixing ICT tools in a professional way, by Linda Castañeda and Javier Soto and presented at PLE2010, win the The Downes Prize 2011. Especially so as it was published in the Digital Education Review, an open access online journal.

And it coincides with the call for papers for PLE2012, being held in Aveiro in Portugal and Melbourne, Australia. Here is a copy of the blog I wrote to launch the call.

“When we first launched the PLE conference we wanted to do something different. “Why is it that the best part of conferences is the time you spend with colleagues outside the conference?”, we asked. “How can we make the conference sessions as entertaining as the social?” “How can we encourage people to learn from each other, rather than sitting passively watching powerpoint slides?”

And we wanted the conference to be open and accessible to as many interested people as possible including young researchers.

At the same time we realised that formal paper submissions were important in gaining support from universities for travel and attendance at the conference. We also acknowledged that journal publications remain important for career development for many researchers.

So we tried to balance all these things. We issued a call for formal paper proposals but at the same time encouraged submissions in other formats – workshops, bring-a laptop demos, and pecha keucha sessions. And when we were designing the programme we tried to build in unconferencing sessions as well as more traditional formats. We also said that even if you submit a formal paper, you can still use less traditional ways of delivering that paper. We tried to support people in working together in collaborative sessions. We also invented the unkeynotes where keynote speakers were challenged themselves to find new and collaborative ways of engaging with the audience.

Even small things can make a difference. Rather than provide the usual uniform conference badges we asked participants to make their own, to reflect their PLEs.

It seems to have worked. The PLE conference is not the biggest educational technology event, neither would we want it to be. But feedback constantly refers to the warmth of the atmosphere, the mutual support and the intensity of the learning experience.

2012 sees the third PLE conference, building on the previous events in Barcelona and Southampton. And yet again this year we want to push out the boundaries – to do something new. So this year conference takes place not in one venue but in two. And although the venues are interlinked by people and personal networks they are geographically a long distance apart. The conference will take place in Aveiro in Portugal and in Melbourne in Australia on 11 – 13 July 2012. Both events share a common organising committee and call for proposals. Both events will share common electronic spaces and spaces for networking. And we are hoping that despite the time differences we will be able to share some of the sessions through the use of technology.

One conference – two venues – PLE2012 is going to be a lot of fun.

Training and learning

December 21st, 2011 by Graham Attwell

This time of the year things are supposed to be quiet. Christmas parties and that kind of stuff. However at Pontydysgu its not like that this year – though a dare say we may stop for the odd mince pie and glass of mulled wine in the next few days.

We have been completing project reports and writing new proposals. And I have been traveling for the last five weeks. So there is plenty to update on this blog.

The week before last I was in Bucharest for the final conference of the PREZENT! project – aiming to increase participation in continuing training for those at risk in the labour market. The project has taken a series of actions over providing access information, and awareness about opportunities for continuing and lifelong learning in Romania.

And it turned out to be a very inter sting event. The conference organisers had produced a draft strategy on training in Romania and used the event for consultation prior to submitting the strategy to the education ministry. Although I was struggling to follow the debate (my Romanian being non existent) the strategy certainly seemed to have sparked off a considerable discussion.

Yet many of the issues were hardly new, or indeed unique to Romania. Delegates were concerned about business models and how training should be financed. Indeed, there seemed to be much support for the idea of a training levy on enterprises. Delegates were concerned about the quality and regulation of training. And delegates were concerned about professional development for training and particularly over the use of technology for training.

Personally I felt they were over optimistic about the potential impact of legislative change or even at getting legislation right. However this might reflect different cultures and certainly in the past there has been some evidence that Romanian governments have taken more interest in training than the UK (although that is not difficult!).

My contribution to the conference was mostly based on the use of technology to support informal learning. And although everyone was very polite and said how much they had enjoyed the presentation I am not sure they got it. Learning remains inextricably bound to formal training programmes usually linked to classroom or workshop delivery. Whilst there might be acknowledgement of the importance of informal learning it goes no further than that.

Possibly it is because trainers see no role for themselves in informal learning. however I have long held that informal learning does not happen by accident. Informal learning depends on rich learning environments be they in school or in the workplace. And informal learning depends on the ability to use that learning in work or in everyday life. For many their job does not provide either that richness in activities or in learning environment. For many the workplace is just a source of drudgery. And this could be the vital role trainers could take – in designing and developing rich learning environments. But I think for that we would require new ways of recognising learning based on learning processes rather than merely accrediting outcomes. And whilst education and training remains dominated by a discourse around competences that doesn’t seem likely to happen.

No shock – teaching in computing inadequate

December 14th, 2011 by Graham Attwell

No real surprises in this report from the UK schools inspectorate, OFSTED, as reported by the Guardian newspaper.

The Guardian says: “Schools are jeopardising the career prospects of thousands of teenagers by failing to offer compulsory classes in computing, a damning report by inspectors shows.

A three-year study by Ofsted found that in almost a fifth of secondary schools, up to half of 14- to 16-year-olds are not taught computing – known as Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

The subject is compulsory for children aged five to 16 and is seen as crucial to rebuilding of the economy.

Inspectors denounced the quality of teaching in the subject as inadequate in more than a quarter of secondary schools.

Too many ICT teachers have limited knowledge of key skills, such as computer programming, they said.

High-flying students are often not stretched and their interests in the subject are ignored, while many pupils spend computing lessons repeating tasks asked of them a year ago.”

I think the problem goes back years to the days of the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL). The ECDL focused on the ability to use a standard PC, and despite valiant attemts to produce an open source version, the ability to use standard Microsoft applications. This has little to do with ICT or technology and nothing to do with programming. The ECDL was highly sucessful and permeated school practice, where students were taught how to make powerpoint presentations, use a spreadsheet etc.

However the criticisms of this approach and the weaknesses of teaching ICT are not new. What is interesting is that the issue has now come to the fore. I am not quite sure why, but it is very encouraging to see such a debate.

Same words – different meanings

December 11th, 2011 by Graham Attwell

Here is a fun article from the WalesOnline, reporting on the publication of a new book looking at mistranslations between English and Welsh.

Examples include “the badly translated shop sign which reads “wines and ghosts” in Welsh and “the baffling bilingual road sign that warns Welsh- speaking motorists to beware of “exploding workers”.

But there is a serious side to this. Firstly, despite recent advances in machine translation there is still a considerable way to go. And even when machines can translate language literally, it is much more difficult to translate meanings. We are confronted with this constantly in international projects where whilst the lingua franca might be English and we all think we know what we are talking about, the meanings we make of different ideas and concepts may be very different. In most European languages there is a word sounding something like competence. But our understandings of the meanings of that word vary greatly depending on culture. Secondly, in developing Technology Enhanced Learning we continue to struggle to develop common understandings between different disciplines, with educationalist and developers often seemingly talking completely different languages.

Maybe we need bi-lingual roadmaps!

Sounds of the Bazaar/Radio ds106 LIVE at #OEB11 Day 3

December 2nd, 2011 by Dirk Stieglitz

And here the podcast version of our todays morning show. More details as soon as possible.

Sounds of the Bazaar/Radio ds106 LIVE at #OEB11 Question Time

December 1st, 2011 by Dirk Stieglitz

On the second day of Online Educa Berlin we had an one hour programme called “Question Time” in which a panel of four experts answered questions from the audience. Details will follow.

  • Search Pontydysgu.org

    News Bites

    Adult Education in Wales

    Learning and Work Institute is organising this year’s adult learning conference in partnership with the Adult Learning Partnership Wales. It will take place on Wednesday, 16 May 2018 at the Cardiff City Stadium.

    They say “Changing demographics and a changing economy requires us to re-think our approach to the delivery of learning and skills for adults. What works and what needs to change in terms of policy and practice?

    The conference will seek to debate how can we respond to need, grow participation, improve and measure outcomes for citizens, and revitalise community education.”


    Industry 4.0

    The UK Education Select Committee has launched an inquiry into the challenges posed and opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.The Committee is inviting written evidence on:

    • The interaction between the Government’s industrial, skills and digital strategies
    • The suitability of the current curriculum to prepare young people for the Fourth Industrial Revolution
    • The impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on the delivery of teaching and learning in schools and colleges
    • The role of lifelong learning in re-skilling the current workforce
    • Place-based strategies for education and skills provision; and
    • The challenges and opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution for improving social justice and productivity

    The deadline for written submissions is Thursday 21 June 2018.


    Online Educa Berlin

    OEB Global (formerly Online Educa Berlin) has announced its Call for Proposals and the overall theme for 2018: Learning to Love Learning. The event will incorporate Learning Technologies Germany – a leading European exhibition on learning technologies in the workplace – for the first time this year. More details here.


    Barcelona to go Open Source

    The Spanish newspaper, El País, has reported that the City of Barcelona is in the process of migrating its computer system to Open Source technologies.

    According to the news report, the city plans to first replace all its user applications with alternative open source applications. This will go on until the only remaining proprietary software will be Windows where it will finally be replaced with a Linux distribution.

    To support the move, the city will employ 65 new developers to build software programs for their specific needs. they also plan the development of a digital market – an online platform – whereby small businesses will use to take part in public tenders.


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    • Pontydysgu on the Web

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      We will be at Online Educa Berlin 2015. See the info above. The stream URL to play in your application is Stream URL or go to our new stream webpage here SoB Stream Page.

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    RT @Juliadoe51 What rubbish - Alan Sugar is younger than me......and I (and everyone I know) have 'got to grips' perfectly well with what is or is not acceptable in today's society, thank you very much. To use this an any kind of excuse is what's absurd. twitter.com/IamSairaKhan/s…

    About 14 hours ago from Graham Attwell's Twitter via Tweetbot for Mac

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