EDEN 2014 - Up and running

June 11, 2014 by Alastair Creelman   Comments (1)

The key enabling technology for this year's conference is surely air-conditioning. Without it there would be no conference with outside temperatures of around 34 C today and most delegates seemed quite happy to stay inside. EDEN 2014 has certainly started with the same energy, friendliness and intensive discussion as when we last met in Oslo. It also seems clearer than ever that, as our morning keynorte speaker Blazenka Divjak (University of Zagreb) put it, e-learning is the mainstream of higher education, and proof of that was that the conference was opened by the President of Croatia Ivo Josipovic. This is not the first time EDEN has been opened by a nation's president but the symbolic value is very high and I'm sure appreciated by all delegates.

So what are my impressions of day one? There are some general trends that seemed to crop up in all the sessions I attended. One is that fact that we have succeeded in turning our attention from the technology and tools to talking more about values, relationships and attitudes and how underlying technology can support these crucial soft factors. Another often repeated notion was the need to balance between bottom-up and top-down and that the two approaches are mutually dependent. We can't rely on policies, funding and directives to change education just as we can't rely solely on grassroots initiatives and pioneering projects. All stakeholders must be involved for real change to occur.

I love to collect quotations from conferences and although they do not always reflect the nuances and depth of the discussions they do set the tone so here are a few pearls from today's sessions. I hope I have noted them accurately and if I am guilty of misquoting please say and I will ammend.

  • There is a paradox in Europe today, a young generation with the best education but who cannot find work. (paraphrased) - President Ivo Josipovic.
  • Before changing education you need to rethink current practice. Blazenka Divjak
  • MOOCs are the froth on the top of the educational cappuccino. Jeff Haywood
  • Teaching online will be a normal academic activity. Jeff Haywood
  • All students should be required to take at least one serious fully online course. Jeff Haywood
  • Do we need innovation angels in every institution? Claudio Dondi
  • Is grassroots innovation stimulated by problems and lack of resources? 
  • Give teachers autonomy to free them for innovation. Give them space and show trust. Value and reward good practice. Session C5 What makes changes happen in educational institutions (not sure who said this).

There must have been lots of other good sound bites like this in the other sessions so please add more that you heard. Keep track of what's going on by checking the hashtag #eden14 on Twitter or following the compilations of photos, tweets, blog posts and more on Eventifier.

Thanks for the clarification Ildiko.

Alastair Creelman 2655 days ago