Blog

Emerging Learning Design Wrap Up

Well I am already behind in using this website. I had planned on doing a write up about Emerging Learning Design the first week of June, but life got a bit crazy. Below is some information/excitement I got out of this conference as well as information from my presentation.

The conference started out with a keynote presentation by Dr. Punya Mishra called Transforming Education for the New Learner: The Role of Technology and Creativity. There was a lot wrapped into that presentation, so I am not going to cover everything. If you get a chance to hear Dr. Mishra speak though, make it is a priority. One element I will mention is the discussion of basing educational advancements on today's technology. To say we are able to define the whole of 21st century learning in the first two decades is just hubris. If we look at inventions from the early 20th century that had educational impact throughout the century the best contender is the crayon. Nearly every other technology has been replaced or revolutionized, but the crayon still has a home in every kindergarten class.

The first session I attended was Karen Schrier's Beyond Games and Learning: Innovating Production through Games. Schrier began by discussing examples of citizen science games such as Galaxy Zoo and Fold It as a method to move into a discussion about citizen social science games. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of citizen science, the basic premise is that to collect or sort through large sets of data one needs average people more than experts. The Audubon Society has been doing this for 114 years with their Christmas Bird Counts. While there seems to be agreement that tapping the human capital potential in this method has a benefit to the natural sciences, more and more we find a need to understand the social sciences. It appears that there are a lot more potential ethical issues that need to be discussed before mass adoption of these games occur, between bias, privacy & security, data validity, etc. I think there is a bit to go before we see the mass success that some of the science games are seeing. Schier is going to be continuing this research over in her Play Innovation Lab and I for one will be keeping my eye out.

I presented during the Ignite sessions. These are short 5 minute sessions that are presented to the whole conference rather than being split between various concurrent sessions. I found the format somewhat limiting and I had a slew of technical problems after i had already left my office and using borrowed computers. Still I think it turns out alright; if not exactly how I planned. Here is a link to my Portal 2 Presentation Files, there are two versions. The 'final' version is the one I meant to present, but due to technical issues ended up not being there are the conference. I recommend watching that one as the videos from the other one seem to be broken... yet again. I will be adding a bibliography page to this website soonish, so look out for that for more sources I recommend on the topic. Maybe when I get around to creating the article for the ELD journal's special conference issue I will do a recording of the presentation so you can hear my clever puns.

Overall, I highly recommend ELD as an affordable and inspiring one day conference. Check it out next year if you can!