Digital Event

Learning Through Engagement with the Conference #JISCEL12

Last week I attended the JISC ‘Innovating Learning’ online conference – here’s a blog post I wrote for ‘Letters from the Edge’ – the conference blog:

This is a post, as with my ‘live’ blog posts, written as an ‘on the spot reflection’ rather than an agonised-over academic piece!

Over the past few years, I may have sworn at virtual classrooms in my previous role. Once, however you stop focusing on the technology it’s great to see the amount of content that can be shared – without having to leave the house/office…. Ironically, my new job has almost immediately required Elluminate (see our first event as a Storify), and we want to expand on this..

I moved from Winchester to Durham 3 months ago, and I seem to spend an extraordinary amount of time on the train – or in the air – and so participating in this kind of conference is giving me a chance to engage my brain whilst giving my tired body a chance to relax into an oversized bean-bag in front of an open fire (as Java  causing issues in the office)!

I’ve had the privilege of being a ‘superuser’ for the last couple of JISC online conferences (2011, 2010, 2009). This year I’m a paying customer, and I really think the £50 investment (& the time, let’s not forget the time!) has still been worth it. As with all conferences I’ve thought about what I’m going to attend, as new-job mode means different priorities:  I’m still working with ODHE on the JISC Digital Literacies project, but I’m not teaching this year. In future I will be helping develop online learning potentially for St John’s College, The Methodist Church and The Anglican Church – so much more emphasis on mature/lifelong learners.

A lot of my job seems to involve creating ‘buzz’ for events, and pulling in external participants to widen the conversation, and so I’ve got very used to producing content quickly, using mostly a mix of Twitter/Storify, and blogging – for the conference I have produced:

I made a decision a couple of years ago, that when I do these “live-blogs” (and I’ve done them for several webinars), I would do these as notes for me, and if others find it useful, then that’s a bonus – and that has framed how I take notes. Notes are also still rough & ready, but would reflect something ‘in the moment’ (the historian in me is coming out!). As with all conference talks I don’t aim to capture 100% of it, but seek to capture things that may be useful in my role or challenge my thinking – digital data can be so ephemeral and I want to be able to come back to my notes (I always lose paper notes!)… and if I wait until it’s “perfect” then I just end up not writing them at all!

Thinking about James’ blog post on ‘making notes’, I still scribble notes in meetings sometimes, but usually then find myself transferring them into a more ordered system online. For this conference, however, I am just using my laptop (MacBook) – I used to have a Word file open as well as Collaborate & make notes in that, but I now write them straight into a new WordPress post which I keep open in another tab – as I seek out links mentioned in the event, hyperlink them – so I can return to useful suggestions later. I don’t expect to capture everything – but engaging with the content allows me to capture useful content … and that’s OK!  I take screenshots of particular slides I’m interested in (in the same way that I’m likely to take photos of slides in a physical conference) – Mac’s record them with the date/time they were taken, so I can see what order I took them in – as these usually need to be inserted into particular points in the post later once I’ve “trimmed the edges”.

It’s been interesting comparing the live/recorded experience – the live experience can be a little frantic as I seek to partake in the live discussion as well as listen and capture, but the recorded experience can leave a little frustration as I think – oh, I wanted to say something – but there’s always the forum for that… although I like the opportunity of spreading the messages a little wider than the conference delegates… though it’s mostly the conference delegates who are interested in looking back at them…

Anyway, lots to learn every time I engage in this kind of event, especially when thinking about how learning can occur in online spaces (does it always require a VLE?), the benefits of drawing in content from across the web/from a range of people’s viewpoints, the need to allow time/the right physical space to be able to engage, and of course all the new content itself that will help me as I start to develop more blended/online courses.  I look forward to the last few hours of the conference…


#JISCEL12: Why do I need a teacher when I've got Google? @thatiangilbert

Drawing on ideas and themes from Ian’s best-selling book of this title along with his experience of working with young people and educators around the world, this interactive session will explore why world-class is the only standard for education, why the democratisation of knowledge has to be matched with the democratisation of learning and why lunging at the first question that comes into our heads will make us better learners.

Bring out the best in people, by challenging them to think different – see this video on ‘Thunks’

Mental limbering up makes for more effective learning [Is that why I have to springclean before I write?]. James Clay queried this, as he did with the need to avoid the word brainstorming.

What state do students walk into your classroom (online or offline… I kept flinching at the use of real/virtual, but then Ian’s not a technologist :-))

Studied Business School, Durham University: Your attitude counts (aptitude/study also counts)…

The Great Educational Lie: “Do well at school and you’ll get a good job”

Dyson – said – A* = you’ve shown you’ve got a brain – now go away and use it.

Others = ‘it doesn’t matter’ ‘get the best education you can & keep on learning’ – school didn’t work for you, but you still have as much right to success on this planet.

One to watch later

Reference to ‘BRIC“, Goldman Sachs research:

We now have a much flatter world … geography doesn’t count any more for some of us (digital economy). – employers have 5 x as many people to choose from – but our students are going into competition with 5 x as many people who have more experience … need to work more towards being ‘world-class’ rather than good enough.

Thomas L Friedman: World is Flat: fungible jobs; from the chat: the world is spiky

Why do we need creativity – for so many of us in school is waiting to be told what to do – and how to do it well.

Robot Doctors: Medical Robots; Robotic Surgery; Robot Doctor

Nominet: Young People’s Use of Search Engines

Google offers democratisation of knowledge/learning – so our job as educators is to add value to that experience – needed more than ever – unless you’re a bad teacher!

Picasso: Every act of creation requires starting with an act

of destruction.

Gabi Witthaus:

The knowledge management hierarchy goes: data -> information -> knowledge -> wisdom

Sometimes there’s so much teaching going on, there’s no time for students to learn….

Adam Jones (Newcastle University)

difference between information and knowledge: the man with one watch knows the time, the man with two is never sure

YouTube: Ultimate Search Engine.

Think in a way that works for you – Darwin used to have ‘thinking walks’ – a specific route

Sheryl Williams ( Loughborough Uni)

you do need to know what to look for or where to start in google !!!

Sharon Lewandowski

I wonder about the ‘sum of knowledge’ on the net…getting to it depends on the browser you use and how it indexes and its structural hierarchy

Dave Middleton (OU)

This all goes back to this mornings session. We assess learning by assessing how to remember facts. But why remember facts when they are at your fingertips via a smartphon


Elisabetta Lando rsc london

Now brains have freed up more space to use the information/ knowledge rather than expend energy remembering it

Mark Stiles

Whilst personal learning may well be more open and accessible, there is a real danger that we are, espeicially in the west, moving backwards to a world where formal learning is the preserve of the wealthly…

Nathan Cobb (East Riding College)

I do not believe I can “know” everything I need to to do my job now – what is important to me is that I have the ability to find what I need to know when I need to know it – often that is online but it isn’t always – the sheer volume of information available and increasing at an ever faster rate means that to me, while knowledge may be power, it is not everything (and breathe)

Brains don’t work on a straight line – dips & curves, and we need to think about how that affects our concentration, etc.

Chris Thomson (JISC Netskills)

Thinking aloud – at the moment we can rely on the web to be our information store, what about when the semantic web develops? Will we be able to get the web to do our understadning for us as well? What would that mean?

There are probably many problems that we are not able to solve, but which we need our younger generation to do so .. We should not just be training up accountants who are going to be unemployed.

View other teachers teaching = inspiring

Richard Jones

try starting at the end and then work backwards

ckwards with what you are teaching

More links: Using IT to go green; Gapminder; Happy Planet

Are worries that students can tell us what Socrates thought, but can’t think for themselves… what questions does this picture raise for you:

Take right/wrong out of the equation as much as possible… ask questions without a right answer, and then ask why they think that – encourages idea that are lots of different viewpoints, etc…

Big Bang Theory: Shrodinger’s Cat

Think of questions such as “is it wrong to read a newspaper in the store without buying it”… someone then suggested: “is it OK to take a bite from bar of chocolate without planning to buy”

Stimulus (5 minutes) to come up with your own ‘thunks’ – about a journey…these were Ian’s:

8 Ways of Thinking:

As spend longer on thinking – start to push deeper – e.g. start with “how many people live in London?” then get much deeper… Can do f2f, paper notes, Twitter, Skype, etc.. .

Education can’t just be about addressing the ‘known’ things..

Look for more on: 

Digital Event

Lifelong learning in a digital age: New audiences, new needs, new approaches #JISCEL12

Marion Manton, Oxford 


4 years – every programme uses technology in some way, but in very different ways – the magic words ‘efficiency gain’.

A weekend/few days of study a few days a term, rather than having to come to Oxford every week. Opened up the study wider.

Oxford programme information.

Lots of learners would say that they would prefer face-to-face, but you can see learners who realise that online learning allows more participation and see them won over.

  • The importance of administrative support
  • Lots of questions about anonymous marking – for & against
Susie Schofield:

my personal view on anonymous marking is we need to educate those for it of the benefits of non-anonymous marking and if there are problems with the ‘mark my work not my face’ then we need some serious faculty development

Alison Felce: what does responsiveness mean to your context/organisation? 

Students need to understand that universities cannot provide an endless range of courses to meet personal requirements.

Do students/the market know best?

Dave Middleton

@Mark in most disciplines there is a body of research which has bulit up over many centuries, would market research and/or employers understand that, or should we ditch the canon entirely?

Emma Purnell: Illustrations of Adult Learners and Digital Literacy

Access and support to students for digital literacy important, as not all had access to the on-site infrastructure.

Be mindful that most lifelong learners are very task-focused – they just want the technology that will help them get the job done, and they want it to work. [Keith Mildenhall – the ‘out of the box’ test.] They also may have different access issues at their institution..

Nathan Cobb:

I work in an FE College where we have both teenage and mature learners – without completely re-hashing the digital natives theme I don’t notice a significant difference – we have confident and less confident learners in both age groups

Interestingly, we have a cohort of mature learners on our access to HE programme this year who are very digitally literate and have been frustrated by ILT literacy levels of their tutors

Susie Schofield

@peter I created an induction module which takes them through the whole process. We also have screenrs and a dedicated technologist who supports them via email / phone etc

Christa Appleton

I think its better not to generalise digital literacy its not simply age related

Marion Manton

I think global cofidence with tech has massively improved in the last few years

I think as people use tech more for all areas of life the happier and more confident they are about using it for learning

Alison Felce

We found that literacy wasn’t related to age – there is a wide variation for all sorts of factors – most commonly lack of confidence has a big impact on apparent literacy.

Anne McDermott

We have found that some younger students’ belief about their skills becomes a barrier to their learning i.e. they cant understand why they are having difficulties and swithch off

Dave Middleton

@Anne that is a really good point. I’ve noticed that people who are very confident cannot cope with digital failure.

Clare Killen

90 year old farmer asked for internet-abled PC for his birthday so he could skype and communicate with grandchildren overseas. Unusual but he had the motivation to do it.

Interesting point – digital literacy is often not a problem with students, but a problem with staff…

“some of the staff in this area are “CAVE” people (Colleagues Against Virtually Everything) – they attend the training but simply make no attempt to use it”

Merv Stapleton

@Nathan – CAVErs are everywhere – very difficult to sell them the benefits of tech – or any way of doing anything that is different to what they already do

Becky Thomas

We are all individual and have our own comfort zones – what does it take for people to explore and extend their own comfort zone?

Re students printing off online courses then not returning to the VLE:

Marion Manton

@gavin the key is to make sure your course is less content and more activities that gets them online – but you are right some will do that

Nathan Cobb

@Gavin this is exactly why a VLE course needs to build and develop dymatically so learners have to interact with it

Susie Schofield

@Gavin we have made our course available in different modalities to suit individual learner needs so e.g. a Camtasia presentation will also be available as a podcast, word document and pdf

Some courses then offer extra support in the first couple of weeks – which find pays back over the course as more confident users/less tech queries. May include ‘compulsory’ discussions online to ensure students are using the materials.

Sue Lewis

We have been working with adults in the work place helping them map their skills and experiences to a set of skills required in HE (taken from something called the CogenT toolkit). Has been very successful in helping adults recognise their potential for higher level study. Not have an elctronic mapping tool for this called HE Skills Map. Useful at engagement stage but also helps them collect evidence for admissions and APeL.

Clare Killen – re ‘tech-savvy’ youngsters…

@Ruth – good point. They may be literate but don’t know how to use it to support their learning.

Marion Manfield then referring us to Dave White’s idea of ‘Digital Visitors’ – they just want to get in, do what they need to online, and don’t want to faff around with Facebook, etc.. Me:

Noting with ODHE project that if a reason to use it they will- but if try and persuade them they should be using Twitter/FB, etc. most don’t get it – but tech tools that help them with e.g. travel, etc. are a way in ..

JISC LifeLong Learning publication, and other information. WBL Toolkit. Continue discussion (delegates!).

Digital Event

Catching Up 'Levers of Change' with @jamesclay #JISCEL12

Levers of Change – seeing similarities with steam engines …

  • Some levers make sense – move forward, it moves forward
  • Some don’t have obvious sense
  • Some are out of our control – e.g. points can take us in different directions

3 Questions for this session:

What causes change? What can we do to instigate change? What can we do to mitigate some of the issues caused by change?

Unsurprisingly many e-learning people are early adopters:

James then refers to the ‘Hype Cycle’ which often appears – calling it a waste of time – a marketing tool that looks like this, because this is what we expect it to look like/fits what we’re doing:

Then James got people to mark on innovation adoption where people thought their institutions were – a much wider spread, and less innovators.

Robbie Matthews:

individuals are generally more interested in potential on new technology … institutions are generally more sceptical of new tech

Question: Do you prefer physical book or electronic text? Both have affordances and disadvantages.

I’d agree with Becky Thomas:

both! Depends on what I am reading, where I am reading and how I need to interact with the text

When I was first given an iPad (not from work!! oh no!), I started to play with free books downloaded from Kindle … started to read books I may not have done otherwise (though I’m typically a charity shop/library reader anyway) – then started to get stuck on the train and find opportunities to read work books en route… etc.

A great blog post on the topic

James challenging us to think what is important to us from this conference…

Sally Betts

Innovation is great if it is not just for the sake of playing with the latest technology – it needs to really make a difference to learning.

Thought this was interesting … as space to ‘play’ gives an opportunity to find things that we didn’t expect (e.g. mobile phones – never expected texting to take off inthe way it has)

Some thought provoking quotes

Much agreement with:

But then look at when this was written:

Lots of conversation about ‘independent learners’ – not all are comfortable in this, some need the scaffolding – and in all this, we have to remember that they ARE students, so we need to help.

Read suggested solution. (Real Environments for Active Learning)… and replace ‘REAL’ with VLE, MOOC, etc… why are we asking the same questions? Why are we not taking on board the lessons? And then why do we wonder why we are where we are?

Simon Thompson

Great learning analogy is that education is like a gym membership. Join the gym but if you don’t engage in it you’ll not get fit/lose weight. Join a course but if you don’t engage in all the facilities and expertise you will likely not pass the course.

How long does change take?

Kinda funny – but not really – from MBS Manchester:

Sometimes and go to meetings about online teaching and learning and wonder if I have wandered into a session planning to reform a band from the nineties.

Karen Clark

Is the reason we have not moved on that we focus on the technology and not the pedagogy? Institutional structures in many cases have yet to move away from the idea of learning soley as transmission

Dave Middleton:

A number of tech innovations have not been hyped and then taken us by surprise: mobile phones, Facebook, Twitter etc.

Louise G-H

I think lots of technology is not being used a collaborative tool – students do not feel empowered by it and therefore do not take the responsibility that we want them to take for their learning.

Nathan Cobb

I am starting to see some learners taking more ownership of collaboration with each other now in ways I haven’t seen before – they are taking it outside the institution – a group of learners recently approached me because they had set up a group dropbox to share resources and support each other and they wanted to know whether they were allowed to download all their teachers resources from moodle to put into this dropbox area

Lots of questions about how long change takes to implement… context sensitive.

What are people researching? Why – because it’s passion that drives them, or because institution requires it?

Why do people repeat research? People don’t know that others have already done it. Want to experience for selves? See their institution as ‘too different’.

Caroline Graham

How much research gets read? Maybe that’s why things don’t appear to have change – we keep reinventing the wheel in a different guise

If we’re not going to build on our research/stand on the shoulders of giants … why do we bother publishing it? Research as a lever of change in organisations = doesn’t do the job (doesn’t mean invalid, but know WHY you are doing research).

Helen Beetham

You have to be quite expert in a community to actually know what else has been done already.

Sarah Knight

Do we need to be more explicit about how others can learn from the research we do – so pulling out the lessons which are replicable for others?

Probably a more common answer than many said:

I tend to do, then find the research that supports the theory i’ve made up, lol

Chris Thomson

We need to be better at telling the story of the impact of research as well

Julie Voce

Being able to quote other studies is useful when convincing managers of something’s worth

Nathan Cobb

I agree with Ruth – We get very positive feedback from learners where teachers use the VLE effectively – it is very easy to simply criticise it when we haven’t taken full advantage of it

Do we talk about technology or pedagogy?

Technology is shiny, pedagogy is ‘more important’? If the technology is not equally as important as the pedagogy – why do we have learning technologists/research into technology.

Sharon Lewandowski

pedagogy is what we do, technology is the tool

lilian soon

some pedagogy only possible because of the technology though

Return back to the question between paper/ebooks … a lot of reasons given for (preferring paper) are technological issues [Suddenly wants an iPad 3, as the Retina screen is a better reading experience!].

Focus too much on the technical issues, rather than the affordances that technology brings us..

Project Gutenberg – since 1971 –  was a tablet device then, but only with iPad has it really taken off (though other devices are catching up).

We give too much power to technology? This kind of quote can be replaced with all the ‘new’ types of technology:

Nathan Cobb

“Do you like books or do you like reading?” Clay, James (2011)

Dave Middleton

Is Dickens a bad writer if he is on an e-book? Surely the point is the words not the medium. Lets not forget books replaced the oral tradition.

Don’t wait for something to become mainstream before you are able to use it – some simple changes – e.g. QR codes in the library – connecting physical book with more e-resources online:

Nathan Cobb

We use QR codes as well – we have a lot of books both as physical copies and ebooks and we have qrcodes on the physical copies to highlight the fact that there is an ebook version

See JISC Project.

Another great comment from MBS Manchester:

Lecturers want to to tell them what they think need to know, but don’t want us to tell them what they aren’t interested in!

Paul Richardson

We need to understand technologies, not devices. e.g. speech-to-text.

We talk about change as if it isn’t happening – but it’s happening all the time!  Future is not the problem – we’ve forgotten about the past, and the lessons from the past.. Think about how email, PowerPoint, etc. got mainstreamed within your institution – seems to be a combination of answers from ‘top down’ to ‘early adopters’.

Clare Killen

Would require greater societal change for MOOCs to take over completely and @MarkS – I don’t think they are cheap. Technology changes how you spend money but doesn’t doesn’t necessarily cost less.

 Change from referring to ‘change’, and seek ‘enhancement’?

Clare Killen

I guess many changes in the past (even getting data projector and laptop in classroom in time) had to be organised – beauty of mobile technology is that learners drive us to make the change. The power is in their hands not ours.

MBS Manchester:

Things become embedded when people find a use for them that they percieve to be beneficial. The more you try to dictate the use, the less chance the technology will be adopted.

How do we measure change? People always talking about how fast it changes? Why do some find time to change and others don’t?

Shri Footring

It’s useful to think about how a specific change would benefits others. It needs to recognised as providing a win-win solution for all, and it’s up to us to communicate how it does that.

Kevin Richardson

Give them technology and see what they do with it … because, despite what we think, it is the students who will find the affordances that matter


#JISCEL12 – Catching up on @Dr_Black Keynote

How can we innovate more in education? With Dr Sue Black – who I’ve been privileged to have a (rather boozy) night out with on the South Bank a couple of years ago …

First question: 

What has been good/bad about your own educational experience? Are we doing the right thing now in educational institutions?

Sue’s Education

When did Sue first realise she was a geek? Around age 7… Saving pocket money to buy maths textbooks at the weekend 🙂 Primary school – a particular problem to solve & work towards solving it – loved being challenged. Grammar school = hated it = too much ‘fact cramming’ into the brain. Started A-Levels, but didn’t fit with need to earn money – so went to work, then became a full-time mother. Read a lot to stimulate brain… then joined an adult education college for ‘return to study’. Unable to finish course as moved to single parenthood. Back into education via favourite subject – maths (always follow passions, I believe!). Decided with kids needed more education for better earning potential. Joined the Polymaths course – got problems to solve in class… Aged 31 finally got a degree.. as David Kernohan put’s it “what a great example of social learning” – but James Clay reminds us that education system has worked for many.

Raises the importance of the question of the personal learning journey – and how do those within the school system manage to cater for all styles?

Interesting quote from Helen Beetham:

It’s interesting how many people in e-learning have studied very broadly (including university of life!) or switched subjects a lot. Perhaps says something about the problem of pushing learners into narrow channels too early.

Sue moved into PhD programme & part-time teaching whilst very shy – shaking with fear in front of class first session – then enjoyed it (me too!). Force yourself – life can become more enjoyable!

Hurrah Marianne – yes to History – great subject as a base for so much in the future:

Good: doing a non-vocational degree in a subject I loved (History). Learning for learning’s sake. But the skills I learned stood me in better stead for employment than my vocational PG course.

Sue, prefers tutorials more than lectures – getting people inspired in the classroom, and getting students thinking about what they are thinking and how that relates to the real world.  Started terrified of teaching small classes, now happy to go on TV! Each new challenge accompanied by adrenalin. Comment in chat area – how many other areas of work would put people in with “so little support”.

My First Teaching Session: Definitely rammed a HUGE amount of content in, and now work hard to take more and more content out! However, got positive feedback (was a 3rd year class, invited by my PhD supervisor) that style was pretty dynamic, etc. Every time having a ‘why am I qualified to do this?’ moment, have to remember a range of those positive feedback comments – not the handful of negative which tend to stick in the brain!!

Becky Thomas talking about now undertaking a course with the OU:

I feel that my ideas are valued and that I can pace my own studies…definitely a good educational experience

Another comment from James Clay:

We are doing the right thing for some people, but not all people.

Lisa Vincent:

Learning now is a positive experience because I’m doing it for myself & chosing subjects that I want to study, not because ‘I have to’

Something we want some of today’s students to think about!!

Paul Richardson:

People arrive with a lot of ‘baggage’ (good and bad). A critical teaching skill is finding out what people bring with them. It’s really disengaging when techers (or facilitators of workshops) ignore what the participants bring…

Louise Golding-Hann

I think it’s important to nuture teachers as well as students to enable them to empower students….if the institution is poor at this then both parties suffer.

Important point from Helen Beetham:

@Lis when I was teaching ‘difficult’ modules I found that satisfaction dropped off quickly through the first few weeks but later on they often said it was the best thing they had done. I worry that the focus on student satisfaction scores will punish innovative teachers – students can be conservative (probably because they feel relatively disempowered and want to hang on to ‘what’s going to work’) and don’t see the value of being challenged except in retrospect.

Second Question:

Why was the UK one of the leaders in the industrial revolution? Are we leading the way in the digital revolution?

Sue, synonymous with Bletchley Park

Hadn’t known much about it when she first went to visit it, and then found many women were involved (young, silent about what they were doing). Tales of men/women working there – one of whom it was crucial to sit and think to work out the problem – rather than always ‘doing’. (See Decoding Bletchley Park)

Some Tech Heroes

Many uncelebrated – partly because they had to work in secret, but also British are not good at celebrating such things.

David Kernohan

Q: How did Bletchley work as an organisation? How did the structures and policies support innovation?

i.e. why did the person who sat & twiddled their pencil in the name of thinking creatively not get sacked? BP saw as valuable…

Sue’s recent visit to Silicon Valley

Many lessons learnt as a range of people from different perspectives visit to see how things being done to take back to own countries

  • The importance of the positivity of ‘failure’ – have not failed – have moved forward from what you knew before. ‘Fast-Fail’: accept that we will fail, so get it failed and move on – fast! [Thomas Edison quote springing to mind!]
  • If you’re not sure whether you’ll be able to do something, you are encouraged to just go for it anyway. Dream amazing things, be positive – may never get to your ultimate dream, but will move further forward.
  • Some of the best innovations tend to come out a recession, the lean times – where have to find interesting ways through things – can’t just buy your way out.
Lisa Vincent:

“If you’re not prepared to fail you’ll never create anything original”

Nathan Cobb

The fast-fail cycle is definitely relevant to FE – for some teachers if we persuade them to try a new technology and the experience isn’t an immediate success they don’t have the confidence to try again

Sarah Horrigan

I had someone take feedback really badly and say ‘I wouldn’t have shown it you if I didn’t think it was perfect’ – that exemplifies a lot of the issues with learning and misunderstanding of what learning is

Elisabetta Lando

Californian cultural conintuation of hippy esoteric stuff such as meidatiation and insightfulness part of the digitial industry reflected in this idea of learning through mistake

Question 3:

What are the conditions for innovation to occur in education? What do we need to do to lead the digital revolution?

Setting up The <GoTo> Foundation 

See video (6 mins)… as someone who was living in poverty, this is a powerful driver for Sue.

Adam Jones

@James @Helen Raspberry Pi excellent for reducing the fear associated with things perceived to be “too technical” – in my experience most people who claim to be computer illiterate are scared of exploring and experimenting in case something goes wrong!

See ‘Scratch‘.

Sharon Lewandowski

Digital really can revolutionise distribution, access–can make things FREELY accessible FOR ALL–an idea far beyond the industrial ‘revolution’ As a library person, I think real dissemination of information can be a very powerful thing

Helen Beetham

@Saffra – totally agree – we need to encourage students to be creative with digital media and critical of messages in digital media, not just to be capable of learning their employers’ IT systems.

See also ‘appsforgood‘.

Sarra Saffron Powell – how get excitement for all subjects?

I think the innovation is in the approach not the subject?

Good question Sarah:

What is a ‘tech savvy’ person? Does it have to grow from early experience with tech or can it be learned later?

What does the digital allow us to do that is so much more than we ever dreamed of before? How do we celebrate what we do more? How can we get people interested in all kinds of subjects by ‘teaching them in the right way’? Give a challenge problem – encourage/enable people to work it out in their own way.

Matt Lingard (I think I’m with you here – we need to learn right tactics for each discipline):

I can see how these activities are wonderful for problem solving, collaborating and creative skills. But I’m struggling to understand why we need to know how to program or use a rasberry over a blackberry. For me, becoming tech savvy in terms of web savvy – critical thinking, online identity, privacy is a higher priority

Nice response from Helen B

@matt totally agree that knowing e.g. what happens with our data is a critical digital literacy. But just as we get students writing to understand how texts are constructed, getting them to do stuff with tech helps them to be more critical about what they are offered.

Lis Parcell

@Peter I think fear has a lot to do with it, fear of loss of control, fear of change, fear of loss of status, the myth that technology, and indeed teaching, are some sort of magic that you have to have special powers to perform.

Mark Russell

I love the idea of stimulating innovation – but we also need too, to ensure the innovative activity is embedded, diffused, evaluated and hence impacts on more students. A session on such at the ALT-C had fewer than 10 people in the room  . Need to make sure we don’t just create small, brilliant yet locally relevant activities

Read more at, and find the discussion online (registered conf delegates!). Think about ONE innovation you would put in place in education… Inspire teachers and parents as well as the children!

Celebrate the small innovations, as well as the big ones! The power of personal story to engage with bigger institutional questions also.