Today I am in Birmingham for day two ofÂ Jisc Digifest 2016Â (catch up on Day One here). I’m particularlyÂ hear wearing myÂ Jiscâ€™s 50 most influential higher education (HE) professionals using social mediaÂ hat, helping to share the event with the wider sector who aren’t able to be at the ICC.
As usual, this is a liveblog so all corrections, additions, comments, etc. are very welcome.Â
At the moment my expected schedule for day one (thisÂ will be updated throughout the day) is:
The chair for this session isÂ Sarah Davies, head of change implementation support â€“ education/student, Jisc.
I have missed the beginning of Heather’s talk, so catching up as she addresses the issue of Area Reviews in FE… HeatherÂ is talking about the uncertainty of mergers, and of needing to be confident going forward, ready to embrace a technology led future.
Technology, however, is also a real and substantial job threat. But this intelligence is only artificial – until recently it tookÂ hugeÂ amounts of computation to recognise an image of a cat. We need to get out there and teach to create the next generation of creative and innovativeÂ future employees. We need to address the needs of this changing world through chnging pedagogies, through empowering students – perhaps to organise and teach themselves. But what would Ofsted say about that? Well, it matters, a good Ofsted report is very important for FE Colleges, but I would rather have creative and innovative teaching methods. That means we have to, as Tim Marshall said last night, bring the regulators up to speed more rapidly. We should be looking for solutions through the digital lens of technology
Professor John Traxler, professor of mobile learning, Institute of Education, University of WolverhamptonÂ
Prior to today some of what I will say has been pre-trailed on the blog. I was quoted as saying that “mobile learning” has stalled… But I essentially want to raise the issueÂ of “mobile learning” and just the regular matter of learning with the tools that we have. I wasÂ making that distinction around a couple of issues… One is that the money had run out, and that money and that will had fuelled the rhetoric of what we did with innovation in the first decade of this century; the second is the developments and changes in mobile technology itself. About 15 years ago mobile was delicate, fragile, expensive, scarce, something for institutions, and to promulgate their solutions. But the money ran out. And we also focused too much on what we were building, less on who we were building it for… But meanwhile mobile has made the transition to cheap, robust, easy, universal, personal. It’s hardly notable anymore. And whatever constitutes mobile learning now is not driven from the top, but by our students. And the technology moves fast but social practices and behaviours moves even faster, and that’s the harder thing to keep up with. People share, disrupt, discuss… That happens outside the institution…Or inside the institution but on an individual basis.
This technology is part of this fluet, transient, flexible, partial world. It enables people to help each other to learn. And web access is significantly moving to mobile devices rather than desktop machines. But what does that do for the roles of educational designers, teachers, etc. What people call “phone space” is very different to cyber space. CyberÂ space is a permitted space, back to the world. Whereas phone space is multimodal, you are having conversations, doing other things, crossing roads, travelling… And this is a very different learning space from a student sat at a computer.
Now, looking back I’d consider “mobile learning” rather backward looking, something of the last decade. I think that we, as professional educators, need to look outwards and forwards… And think about how we deal with this issue of abundance – how do we develop the criticality in our students to manage that. And we should question why they still come to us for face to face experiences, and to think about what that mean. Hence, I’m not that bothered if mobile learning actually is dead.
We are a registered not for profit in the US, we have been described as an Apache Foundation for Education – that’s not quite right but gives an idea of what we do. We provide software including SAKAI, Xerte, and OpenCast (capturing and managing media at significant scale). But enough about us…
Next generation digital learning environment… Lots to say there but I will be focusing on a conversation that has opened up in the United States, and the relationship of that conversation to developing the discussion around Learning Analytics.
That conversation was started by Educause, which looked at the VLE – the benefits but also the drawbacks of being inflexible, of being very course or teacher-centred. And that work highlighted what a new VLE might want to look like – flexibility for different types of courses, that it should support collaboration across and between institutions, that it should support analytics for advising, and that this new environment should be a much more personal environment than what has gone before.
The analogy here perhaps is of Groundhog day. These are issues we have heard before over the last 10 years. But why do I think the environment is different now? Well, we are are more mature in our technology. We have gotten smarter and better at lightly working tools in and out of different environments. We are pragmatic about bringing functionality in pragmatically. And, lastly, we are starting to learn and develop a practical use of big data and learning analytics as a potential tool for personalisation.
I just want to pause to talk about academic analytics – about institutional trends, problems, etc. versus learner analytics – which are specific and personal, about interventions, retention etc. And we are already seeing some significant evidence about the effectiveness of learning analytics (see recent Bricks and Clicks report), with examples from the UK and US here. If one looks at the ends of the continuum here we are starting from prediction for retention intervention, but moving towards predictions for personalised learning.
There are several approaches to learning analytics at the moment. One is to buy in a system. We are taking a very different approach, developing a platform that uses various flexible components. That helps ensure data can move between systems, and that’s an issue Jisc has been raising – a national and international issue. And I think yesterday’s opening session was absolutely right about the importance of focusing on people, on humans. And if you look at the work Jisc has done, on ethical issues and informed consent, that is having an impact nationally and internationally.
We work with the society of analytics research. And there is a Solar analytics maturity framework. We have partnered with Solar and Jisc on our work and, to finish, I’d like to make a shameless plug for our Solar colleagues for LAK’16 which takes place in Edinburgh this summer.
We saw a number of colleagues yesterday
10.30 – 11.15Â #HullDtn: a collaborative approach to digital pedagogies
- Ross Anderson, e-learning ambassador,Â North Lindsey College
- Ruth Clark, senior librarian: e-learning and e-resources,Â Leeds College of Music
- Emily Armstrong, libraries manager,Â Hull College
- Charles Horton, VLE operational team leader,Â Leeds College Of Music
10.30 – 11.30Â New directions in open research
- Neil Jacobs, head of scholarly communications support, Jisc
- Tom Crick, professor of computer science and public policy, Cardiff Metropolitan University
- Ross Mounce, postdoctoral research associate, University of Cambridge
- Cameron Neylon, professor of research communications, Curtin University, Australia
11.45 – 12.30Â Introducing the UK research data discovery service
Christopher Brown, senior co-design manager, Jisc
13.30 – 14.30Â Plenaries: the power of data
What can data mining the web tell us about our research?
14.45 – 15.45Â Responsible metrics for research
- Catherine Grout, head of change – research, Jisc
- Stephen Curry, professor of structural biology, Imperial College
- Cameron Neylon, professor at the Centre for Culture and Technology, Curtin University, WesternÂ Australia
- Dr Petr Knoth, research fellow, Knowledge Media Institute (KMi), The Open University