I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the DEANZ 2010 conference being held in Wellington over the past few days. It has been wonderful to hear from international speakers Liz Burge and Terry Anderson, as well as to listen to presentations and research reports from educators from around New Zealand and Australia.
Liz provided a great opening keynote titled “No.8 Wire, Wool and Sure to rise: New Zealand Icons and Distance Education Pioneers”. Her presentation was a very clever weaving together of reference to these NZ icons and the research she has included in her recent book Flexible Higher Education: Reflections from Expert Experience
Terry’s presentation was titled Three generations of distance education pedagogy: Challenges & opportunities, tracing the developments through behaviourism, constructivism and connectivism as key pedagogical approaches in distance education . His presentation is available on slideshare, with other links available on the DEANZ cloudspace.
I had a lot of fun participating in the “Great Debate” which helped provide a little levity for the afternoon today. (The rather hazy photo at the top of this post is of the celebration shared by the two teams.) Hazel Owen has done a great job summarizing how it went on her blog – suffice to say that my team came an honourable second 🙂
The moot for the debate was “That the new places, spaces and tools of learning produce better outcomes and opportunities for learners” – and while the debate itself was a lot of fun, the research that went into preparing reminded us that this is a very serious matter, worthy of serious research.
A couple of weeks prior to the debate, my team (the affirmative) used CreateDebate to see what sort of response we might get from the international community – in that debate the affirmative won – but it is interesting to see the nature of the responses made. Many of the contributions to the negative side deal not with the technology itself, but with the issue of teachers and students lack of ability to use it effectively.
Despite putting forth compelling evidence including the following:
- US Dept of Education meta analysis of online learning
- BECTA’s impact of ICTs on learning
- European commission’s STEPS report
- The myth of no significant difference
… the judges made the decision to go with the negative team, based on the entertainment value they provided. I guess it all goes to show just how important the affective domain is!