Riding Giants: How to innovate and educate ahead of the wave


Alexandra Okada, Wednesday 03 September 2014

The ALTC 2014, annual conference held at Warwick University, was one of the key events at the forefront of learning technology this year. The inspiring theme “Riding Giants: How to innovate and educate ahead of the wave” attracted interesting keynotes, speakers, researchers and various professionals involved in the field of learning technology.


This event was organised through the metaphor of surfing: 1.     Predicting Giants: What are the forthcoming big questions, big challenges, and big changes? 2.     Learning to ride: What are innovative examples of collaboration and knowledge exchange in Education?   3.     Evidence on board: How do we collect evidence at scale (from experiments and full scale deployment)? 4.     Staying up, mobile and personal: How is digital (& learning) technology changing the learning journey?  5.     All agog: What are the results for emerging technology and teaching practice in significant action?


 Ale Okada  presented her work “Co-authorship and Colearning through OER at UKOU” on knowledge exchange and collaboration (Learning to ride) within the scope of activities conducted by CoLearn, an international community of educators, researchers and students engaged in the use of technologies for collaborative open learning.   CoLearn’s  association and collaboration with the UKOU’s OER initiatives have been most significant in three specific projects – OpenLearn, OpenScout and weSPOT. Hence, aspects of these projects have been selected for discussion, providing not only evidence of impact but also, crucially, indications of ways in which co-authorship can, and indeed does foster pedagogical innovation.

Okada discussed five issues  related to the conference: 1.     Predicting Giants: We have been promoting knowledge media technologies for participants to re(create) knowledge through OER since OpenLearn(2006-2008). Our research  analysed a few innovative examples, such as the Project Santos Dumont’s life, which won the 1st Microsoft prize for innovative Educators. Teachers and students from Brazil, Portugal and France used Blogs and the OpenLearn FM webconferencing tool to investigate and reconstruct collaboratively the  aviation pioneer’s life story using social media. New research questions then emerged, such as:  How could we empower OER colearners through knowledge media technologies to interact as OER coauthors instead of OER consumers?  2.     Learning to ride: During the European project OpenScout (2009-2013) our goal was to develop a tool-library of OER technologies. Colearners could then recommend tools, practices, examples and methods for readapting and recreating OER. We tested the OpenScout Tool-Library based on the social platform ELGG to promote knowledge exchange and collaboration. More than 30 research groups with more than 100 participants interacted in the Tool-Library to co-author a book - OER & Social networks. There are a variety of chapters and coauthors: scholars, lecturers, PhD researcher undergraduate students, teachers and web users. Coauthors n