Thursday, December 10, 2009

Education in our Our Broadband Future

Eora Exchange Student Lounge at UNSWGreetings from "Realising Our Broadband Future" forum in Sydney (you can participate online). The afternoon stream I selected is Digital Education with Greg Moo, CIO, Department of Education and Training, Northern Territory, Craig Foster, Education Director, Microsoft Australia, Andrew Skewes, Executive Director, Bendigo Campus, LaTrobe University, David O'Hagan, CIO, The Learning Place, Education Queensland. Also like the rest of the delegates, I am coming to grips with the Wiki for the event. We have all been invited to contribute. My book of my e-learning course was launched earlier at the event.

The first d-education session was a little disappointing. The low point was a promotional video from Microsoft, with their version of the future. This video was not specific to education (and apparently was being show in one of the other streams as well). I was having difficulty getting the wifi to work, so I could use the Wiki and so went out to the conference technical support desk (The conference has excellent technical support).

At that point I decided to take a break and wandered off for a coffee at the student union. The coffee turned out to be free, as I found I had wandered into a scientific conference. This was at something called the "Eora Exchange", by lahznimmo architects. This was a dropping cyber cafe (with real coffee). There are wall botths which seat about six students, on each side of a table. One the wall at the end of each table is a large computer screen, with a VGA cable. There are five power points available on the wall for laptops and another two points on a pop-up panel in the tabletop. Also there is the UNSW wireless. I felt right at home here and was a little reluctant to go back to the fast pace of the forums. Also I felt I was learning more about d-education from observing this room than I had at the official forum.

ps: I tried to post the following comment to the wiki comments on the forum. But I was unable to enter my user id or get the anti-spam image check to work, so here is my comment. Perhaps someone who can get the wiki to work can add it:

One of the reality checks on digital education is that in many ways broadband will not change education. Many of the fundamentals will be the same. My e-learning course, which Senator Lundy launched the book for this morning at the forum is very hi-tech, but underneath is about old fashioned education. David Lindley, calls this Mentored and Collaborative Online Learning. I have coined the term e-Oxbridge education to describe this.

Education has not changed since Aristotle was teaching: the teacher gives some guidance to the student and then sends them off to explore for themselves, later the student discusses what they found with other students under the guidance of a tutor, the student then explores some more alone or in groups and produces more and more complex analyses, until the tutor and the student think they have learnt enough.

1 comment:

idriss said...

Thanks for the loads of useful information on the "Realising Our Broadband Future" forum in Sydney and its great to hear that your book on e-learning course was launched at this event.

But why is this very well organised government-funded forum NOT include the role of ICT to increase awareness and support action on climate change (or ICT sustainability)?

After all given that its timing is right in the middle of UN Climate Change Conference - COP 15 (7-18 December 2009, Copenhagen), why can’t the role of broadband in reducing our impact on the environment deserve at least a stream on its own just or be featured in each of the five streams?

One consolation is that Professor Larry Smarr from Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering, UC San Diego will be speaking on 9:00 am Friday 11 Dec. While it’s not clear what he will talked about at this forum, he has been speaking frequently on ICT sustainability issues and particularly on cyberinfrastructure in a carbon-constrained world.

On the topic of ICT sustainability, next week AIIA will be hosting the Asia Pacific Digital Innovation Summit (APDIS) in Melbourne (14-17 Dec) including International Sustainability Futures Forum (Thursday, 17 Dec) which will feature,, AHTechnology, Ncomputing, Change2 and other organisations. ( ).

Last but not least for those to follow the ICT “side event” at COP15 Copenhagen can surf their browsers to the “iSeeT@COP15”:
This 2009 exhibition of the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) contains demonstrations and presentations spaces with dozens of interesting presentations available online. They will show how the world is focusing on how information and communication technologies (ICTs) are helping to increase awareness and to support concrete action on climate change in both developing and developed countries.

The sole presentation from Australia that got selected in demonstration space is the “iSeeT@COP15” is Australia's national carbon accounting system by Government of Australia. But this might be a presentation from Department of Climate Change or Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts…not a concern of DBCDE.

One nagging question is when will Australia’s broadband department take a lead in showing that broadband or ICT has a vital role to mitigation or adaptation of climate change? Or are they content to treat such a big topic just as an after thought?

Idris Sulaiman