Hi from Sheffield

Day one at the Alt-i-lab in Sheffield. A presentation from the chairperson of Digtial South Yorkshire provided an insight into why Sheffield has been chosen as the venue for the conference. Digital South Yorkshire is the specialist networking and support organization for Creative and Digital Industries (CDI) in South Yorkshire. The transformation of Sheffield from a predominantly steel producing area into a region with a wide range of digital and creative industries is really impressive.

Professor Diana Laurillard , Head of the e-Learning Strategy Unit in the DfES , opened the conference with a strategic view of learning technology from the UK perspective, drawing from the material in their publication Harnessing Technology: Transforming Learning and Children??s Services. The encouraging thing about this presentation was how closely the strategic work in NZ parallels what is happening here.

A panel of other speakers provided perspectives on Measuring the Impact of e-Learning. Dr Paul Clark from the Open University focused on three measures; course completion, student satisfaction and cognitive change, providing examples from the OU experience to illustrate. Brad Wheeler from Indiana University counseled ??if you are going to measure, measure what you care about!??, suggesting measures that focus on behavioural, perceptual and financial impacts. Ed Walker from IMS focused on issues of sustainability and affordability, referring us to the IMS website for definitions of ??sustainable?? and ??affordable?? to help create a shared understanding of these terms.

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