Wrapping up 2017 in EDEN

The Values and Flexibility for Recognition of Innovative, Open and Digital Education in Europe

September came with a promise of an Autumn rush for EDEN, but none of us could anticipate the richness of blended virtual and physical events that EDEN community enjoyed through the semester. October’s Open Classroom Conference in Athens and EDEN’s presence at the ICDE World Conference on Online Learning „Teaching in a Digital Age – Re-thinking Teaching & Learning”, hosted by EDEN’s long standing prestigious partner: Contact North in Toronto were sound introductions to EDEN’s November events.

The European Distance Learning Week (EDLW)  took place between the 6-10th of  November, 2017, for the second time in Europe, also continuing a successful collaboration with the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) in synergy with the US Distance Learning Week.

This year EDLW was also organized in a blended mode, having the international conference “Open Professional Collaboration for Open Classroom “ organized by EDEN – UNESCO IITE – MES – VMU, as part of the EDEN Open Classroom conferences, the physical event in Kaunas broadcast online.

Outstanding discussions and panels led online and face to face addressed the divide in values which may bring us backwards instead of driving forward. The divide is in the understanding of the mission of open and digital education and how it should support the development of the society, how to bring best immediate impact for the brightest minds and sharing, for development of professional community and new institutional business models to address new and transparent qualification models and recognition of innovative and digital education.

One of the major question addressed during EDLW was how to support educators for innovative, open and digital education?

The panel speakers discussed the Challenges and Opportunities of Innovation, addressing the need:

  • To revisit pedagogies to understand how technology should enhance learning
  • To agree upon the purpose of open learning and teaching
  • To communicate and indicate learners’ efforts and learning results in learning recognition, to build trusted network of all interested stakeholders
  • To support education providers to prepare the offer for a digital and networked society, while businesses are ready with their offer

Educators and the Network of Academics and Professionals should be supported in their actions by professional communities. The development of open and digital education in Europe ensures the possibilities to:

  • Improve teaching and learning services for most competitive networks globally
  • Develop the NAP community through peer learning, peer support and open professional collaboration
  • Solve complex and challenging contextual situations through networking and cooperation
  • Stay collaborative and share recognition of practices for motivation and professionalisation.

New opportunities should be addressed:

  • New forms of inquiry
  • Collaborative activities
  • Engaging new literacies
  • Authentic practice sharing with online international audiences – to support communities on the global scale
  • Open business models for education organizations
  • And others

All impressions and records of EDEN events are available at the EDEN website – cordial invitation to review them and spend some time on the reflection, as they are very rich content-wise and talk about the future of education. Contributions from ICDE Secretary General Gard Titlestad, European Commission – DG JRC – Directorate Innovation and Growth Yves Punie, prof. Alan Bruce, UNESCO IITE Svetlana Knyazeva, colleagues from USDLA, European LLL Platform, Open Education Consortium, EDEN member institutions and other EDLW contributors are most appreciated and recognised.

The EDEN team continues its mission presenting the current trends and research issues at the ET2020 Digital Skills and Competences Peer Learning Activity in Zagreb, Croatia, as well as in EDEN’s Technology Enhanced Learning & Quality Enhancement Special Interest Group webinars, the #EDENChat series and is preparing for the EDEN Annual Conference in Genova in June, 2018.

Among all recent developments and events, one very important fact needs to be mentioned. EDEN promotes Open Professional Collaboration for EDEN members and the NAP. However, internally, Open Professional Collaboration has been significantly strengthened in and between EDEN EC and EDEN NAP. This may become one of the most influential achievements to enrich the Garden of Learning, both virtually and in a blended mode. Thanks to all EDEN people involved.

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