One of the major strengths of EDEN is the Network of Academics and Professionals (NAP), leading the association through academic practice exchange, networking and providing a highly effective meeting and communication forum. Despite the functional autonomy, NAP has a Steering Committee which was chaired by Steve Wheeler in recent years. It was my great pleasure to get to know Steve when I was a NAP member, #EDENChat follower, when I was learning with “e”s through his blog, when I followed his activities as EDEN EC member and when I read his concerns and considerations about education and e-learning since then until now, when Steve Wheeler completes his mission in the EDEN board.
It is not possible to list all his contributions made to EDEN as an organization, but it is a great pleasure and honour to have his post in the EDEN Presidency blog before he leaves. While you will enjoy the reading, I would like to invite Steve to continue his collaboration with us, in the open and very professional way he always does.
It has been a pleasure and privilege to lead one of the most influential global organizations in digital education. It’s now time to step down, as my 3 year term has been completed. Since 2014 I have served as chair of the steering committee of the Network of Academics and Professionals, an elected body that works autonomously alongside EDEN. It presently has over 1200 individual members worldwide, many of whom are active in distance education and technology supported learning. In my original position paper, written as part of the process leading to my election, I stated that I aimed to raise the profile of EDEN on the international stage. I hope the members will agree that is what has been achieved.
Over the 3 years, the NAP steering committee has been behind a number of new initiatives, most notably the highly successful series of Twitter based discussions known as #edenchat. NAP committee members host the live discussions, supported increasingly by NAP members and guest presenters, and the conversations are often lively and constructive. We have covered such diverse topics as personalised learning, silent learners, pen versus screen, and the future of the university. More than 30 #edenchats are now archived using Storify on the main EDEN NAP website.
Another initiative is my series of keynote interviews for the EDEN YouTube channel. Since 2014 I have chatted on camera to more than 20 luminaries in the field of distance education and digital learning including Sugata Mitra, Martin Weller, Audrey Watters, Marci Powell, Yves Punie, Leslie Wilson, and one that I’m particularly proud of, a four way conversation with Sir John Daniel, Tony Bates and Michael Moore. The latter caused some controversy because I billed it as an interview with three of the ‘founding fathers’ of modern distance education. Some pointed out that there were founding mothers too, such as Ann Elliot Tinkner. Yes, I am well aware of the history of dustance education, but I worked with what I had available at the time, and no-one should allow their eyes to be clouded from the important messages any, and all of these keynote speakers bring to us, regardless of their gender, or the style in which I have packaged them.
Other initiatives are planned for the future by the NAP, and membership is free. It is now in the capable hands of my successor, Antonella Poce, who will no doubt continue to pursue the agenda of writing EDEN large across the global education community. I’m sure membership will continue to grow. NAP is all about sharing, and generosity is at its core, We are all in this together, we can all benefit from each others’ knowledge and experiences. Let’s all commit to sharing our ideas freely in our social spaces, and across our networks as we learn and teach together.