sue watling

ICICTE 2009

July 13, 2009 | Leave a Comment

The International Conference on Information Communication Technologies in Education (ICICTE) was held in Corfu 9-11 July and focused on the changing nature of higher education and the implications of this for students and staff. I was half expecting a ‘techie’ based conference but found presentations and workshops embedded in pedagogical frameworks and my paper on the design of learning for distance delivery was well aligned with the conference keynote and themes. The challenge of blogging a conference is to be succinct so here is my blog summary.

Themes

  • the changing nature of the student – student as ‘consumer’ with increasing numbers entering H.E. students are the new drivers for change
  • the changing role of staff from deliverers of ‘knowledge’ to guides for internet browsing and inquiry based learning
  • the changing nature of the H.E. institution as validator and mediator of knowledge rather than the gate-keeper
  • the ‘commodification’ of H.E. as academic capital; ivory towers changing into golden arches as university’s become service industries/providers
  • international vision of senior management that ICT is a cost effective solution for delivering H.E. to a widening participation audience
  • increased demand for H.E. is happening alongside mass reduction in funding

Implications

  • costs associated with ICT are higher in terms of finance and resources than traditional face to face delivery but senior management still see ICT as quick fix solution.
  • increased use of ICT raises digital literacy and digital competency issues for both students and staff
  • changing location of knowledge – no longer esoteric and behind campus doors but increasingly freely available – raises issues of management of mass electronic library resources and critical digital literacy abilities

Conclusions

  • Shift happens – higher education is changing and its future is online – the tide of education technology is unstoppable.
  • Bridges must be built between the technology and pedagogy if traditional H.E. qualities of critical thinking by independent self-aware individuals is not to be lost
  • The role of students in providing support digital confidence and competence should not be underestimated
  • Staff have to engage with virtual learning – CPD through PDP could provide initial steps if senior management recognise the need for strategic direction
  • Higher Education will continue to be an exciting, rewarding environment in which to work

I’ve come away with my head spinning as usual with the wider international picture; networking with educators from different countries reinforces how the UK is seen as exemplifying all that is relevant and important about higher education.

I’ve gained increased awareness of the potential role of eportfolios and the importance of digital identity for everyone and personally I like the idea of a virtual one-stop-shop, that can say more about you than a CV ever can. The question is one of choice – WordPress, FaceBook, Mahara – realistically one area is enough to maintain –which one you choose is becoming the question – not whether or not you do it in the first place. Like it or not, online identity is fast becoming non-negotiable.

The conference website is here and the organisers have a produced a CD-ROM containing all the peer reviewed presentation papers; light, portable, saves trees and is transferable from one environment to another – the future is indeed online!



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