EdTech Mobile Presentations

ascilite 2013 Conference Notes

Be aware that these are notes – not transcripts of talks. I tend to think about quite a lot during a good presentation (I don’t do “passive absorbtion” and I’m always processing and questioning as I go). The notes reflect this space that my mind operates in and should never be seen or treated as a transcript of an event

The Great Debate: The Dream of Technology-Assisted Learning Has Been Realised

I didn’t take too many notes from the debate – but I liked this line:

Technology seduces us like a medusa and pedagogically we turn to stone – Gregor Kennedy

Innovation via a thin LMS: A Middleware Alternative to the Traditional Learning Management System

Marc Wells, David Lefevre, Fotis Begklis

  • like the thin LMS concept
  • developed a hub for each “programme” – csu term = course or degree
  • first iteration was communication based
  • 2nd was integrating 3rd parties
  • 3rd fully replaced the LMS
  • thin LMS a middle ware solution
  • Integrates college systems & best in class technologies
  • student record
  • based on WordPress for the win!!!

Keynote – Learning from the Past

Professor Kay O’Halloran

  • Early definition of a computer was the person who made the calculations. Then It went on to become a tool. – Like the idea of people “being” the computer rather as a tool we use.  Performance of people becomes increasingly more important when calculating effectiveness of the technology!
  • software is a way of being
  • Computing has become about communicating, not calculating.
  • ‘World is awash with data – what’s lacking is an understanding of how we make meaning of it’
  • Technology should allows us to focus on the learning rather than the individual.
  • Side note – is there space for learning outside of research in #highered? Overwhelming focus on data & analysis – not experience
  • Edtech needs groups of experts working together. We can’t do it alone! Or is it multiple cultures rather than expertise? Kind of like cultures – it’s encompassing of a world view not just a job

Keynote – Understaing our Present

Gregor Kennedy

  • Learning is a social process. Interactions between people and artefacts.
  • Learning (regardless of theory) … results in cognitive change.
  • Current use of edtech usage matrix

  • Why teaching matters? Here some research perspectives. Bloom & Hattie

  • While teaching practice has become more student centred, #edtech usage is much more teacher centred.
  • Teachers don’t just put information in someone’s head, but based on that we emphasis Learning rather than teaching – Peter Steele
  • Interesting Model – Sage on the Stage > Guide on the Side > Plebs on the Web
  • Power of learning analytics is in improving teacher/learner and learner/learner interactions.
  • Thinking back the interactions Gregor mentioned – don’t think there was learner/data – should there be?
  • READ – Rod Sims – levels of interactivity 1994 & 1997

Symposium – How Open and Collaborative Can We Be?

–  Implementation challenges for open collaboration challenges
–  The semantic structures within institutions vary so much they are truly a language problem.
–  Do we need an academic equivalent of Esperanto to deal with collaboration?
–  Alignment and compatibility problems include credit levels and teaching periods too.
–  Institutions want to bottle content and own their students. Great point! Pity they haven’t realised theres no value in that! Value is in the ability to produce knowledge
– Openness is seen as a risky shift
– IT security is a huge issue – but perhaps open standards LTI could come to the rescue
– Openness tends to question what is valuable within an institution?
– Need to ensure you’re sharing the rationale – why are we doing this? What is the purpose?
– Another plus 1 for middleware to enable openness
– One core component of openness needs to answer the question – What is the purpose of the course? Extrinsic motivation – ie grades aren’t a good enough motivator for authentic or proactive learning.

Learning: Maˉori Advancement at AUT University

Associate Professor Pare Keiha

  • Getting the balance right in education. Balance in Education
  • The Maori notion of Ako. Ako
  • What if students produce assessments for their own communities, even their university, rather than the ephemera of a grade?
  • Awesome advice for those working in education – “start running now!”

Session – Re-imagining the university: Vibrant matters and radical research paradigms for the 21st century

Reem Al-Mahmood

  • The idea of the university ideological, specially and ethically has shrunk – Barnett
  • The holistic/relational nature is missing
  • Emerging ideas of the university Emerging Ideas
  • Utopian ideas of university Utopian Ideas
  • Ecological universities: one of one of my fav concepts Ecological Ideas
  • Would be interesting to see which of these fall into  administration, faculty and student categories or points of view.
  • equality of funding is the wrong starting point, we need to equalise access first.

Imagining the Future

Mark Pesce

  • It’s difficult to stop sharing and learning once you’ve formed that connection.
  • The new culture of shared knowledge – a good explanation of the present state
  • Sharing includes the good and the bad. That means sharing knowledge and stupidity.
  • The aakash tablet will provide a rich, connected and shared learning experience …. for $29
  • The educator is embedded in the environment. Not off to the side or in a bubble somewhere else.
  • Quality of education institutions will become dependant on the networks they can help their students build
  • Been thinking about this for a while – Student need to become a node supported by the  network they build
  • Networks tend to start from intent. They may grow and change but there is purpose and drive.
  • Connect. Share. Learn. Do.

Conference Snapshots

Some interesting ideas that came out during the conference.

Universities need to provide opportunities for academics to have informal and formal conversations about technology – @LucyArthurMQ

Can we stop lying – there is no “digital native”. There’s a skills deficiency, which can be remedied with gasp education. @timklapdor

Wonder if we can relabel this Conference Program > Conference Attendance INformation vs Knowledge

Mobile has become an appendage rather than a technology. @timklapdor

Love the idea of a senior manager being a groupie for their staff! 🙂 @debbiweaver
*about Pare Keiha’s approach to management

This was my favourite twitter exchange from the conference!


Finally links to some of my work related to the conference.

Presentation on our work on The Adaptive Digital Publishing Engine.

The related examples: COM123 web version, Proof of Concept web version  and the downloadable PDF and ePub files.

Presentation on the lessons learned from University wide iPad Trials

You can download the papers from the conference– including those related to the presentations above!

Find out more about the mLearn project and all the related documentation here: or check out some of the [documentation on slideshare](

Other Accounts of Ascilite

Sheila MacNeill has a couple of posts here and here

Andrew Spencer shared his ascilite experience here.


By Tim Klapdor

Passionate about good design, motivated by the power of media and enchanted by the opportunities of technology.

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