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Location: Meensel-Kiezegem, Belgium

Friday, May 20, 2005

Stakeholders Vision Round Table (2)

*. Education/Students.

Justin Fenech (National Union of Students in Europe) and Hans Laugesen (National Union of Upper Secondary School Teachers) gave their impressions about eLearning for teachers and students.

Justin gave a passionate and inspiring talk, beginning with the question "do we even know where we are going? let alone know how we will get there...".
He focused on Access (the cost of eLearning may not be put with the students), Skills (ICT skills as well as social skills), and Pedagogy and support (for teachers and learners). He concluded with the remark that students' perceptions and opinions should not be forgotten when people discuss learning.

Hans Laugesen gave a very useful overview of drivers and conditions we need for eLearning to take off. "Computers For Teachers" is a concept which gives very promising results: if you give teachers free (or almost free) computers, they automatically will use them both personally and professionally.
Support for teachers should be plentiful and technology should be reliable. Far too often, promising experiments fail because of technological problems, causing frustration and bad learning (and teaching) experiences.

Furthermore, schools should formulate clear goals about what they want to do with ICT. Management should not only know what teachers do with ICT, but actively stimulate and support the activities.
On the other hand, sufficient room must be let for variation. Not every teacher has to attain the same ICT level or use.

At the national level, we should have minimum e-requirements in the curricula, and adapt the workload for teachers (and students!) to eLearning and e-teaching.

*. Governments/Research.

Diana Laurillard of the British Department for Education and Skills, gave a clear, well-structured and usable talk about the British impressive e-strategy policy. In six priorities, the British government will stimulate elearning throughout all educational sectors.

- Personalised information across sectors
- A virtual lifelong learning space for all
- A learning activities strategy (learning strategy is more than content-strategy!)
- A development package for front-line staff (teachers, supporting staff), including training, support and hardware-for-teachers.
- A leadership development package.
- A common digital infrastructure.

Fascinating - I'm very curious to see how they will implement these into practical goals and actions.

Nicolas Balacheff (Laboratoire Leibnitz) spoke about (e)Learning research and the problems with it.
Pedagogical or technological research is not obvious. Not only the learner and the technology are two variables, but also the learning context. This makes the research often difficult to translate to other domains or situations.

A second problem is that research groups are often small teams which are geographically spread all over Europe. He saw great opportunity for research networks and centers of excellence (a learning-research grid throughout Europe).


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