Ascilite 2008

Ascilite 2008 final day.

The last day of the 2008 Ascilite conference started with a keynote from Gary Poole who spoke about learning homes and although he was mainly talking about physical spaces, a lot of the thinking is valid for online teaching. Learning spaces are any areas, physical or virtual where learning occurs. Below are some of the key points he spoke about:
•    Learning homes or spaces are personal and emotional.
•    Universalist learning. There are certain ways we learn that aren’t relative to people, places or time. For example the knowledge that people are social beings is universal.
•    Relativist learning implies that learning has relationships to other people, places and things.
•    He spoke highly of the John Bransford book “How people learn”.
•    Learning is facilitated by connections between the new and the familiar.  This aligns somewhat with Snowden’s work.
•    He spoke briefly on co-acting and interacting or learning in the presence of others or learning by interacting with others.
•    Students move furniture around in the library because they perceive the area to be their space and will shape it to suit. This has some relevance to the PLE project at CQUni.
•    A good learning home or place:
o    Acknowledges identity by adapting to universal learning attributes like cognitive process and social attributes.
o    Is adaptable to suit the participants.
o    Provides recognizable “icons of place” or identity.

All in all a very good presentation that has some personal relevance to the next stage in the BProfComm project.

ePortfolios are a big ticket item at Ascilite and I attended several presentations that spoke about ways to utilize them in higher education. Several organizations are using ePortfolios to allow students to record their own progress, self assess against learning outcomes and reflect critically upon their development over time. This also has some bearing on the BProfComm project as there are aspects of ePortfolios that help the learners overcome the bounded course model used by most universities. Of course the highlight of the day was the presentation by Nathaniel Fitzgerald-Hood and Jocene Valack on “The Missing Ps” and Nona Muldoon’s presentation on the Second Life project.

The Missing Ps
The Missing Ps

Overall I thought the conference was very well organized and attended. The quality of the presentations was good and being in Melbourne the food and drink was exceptional.

Rolley in heaven
Rolley in heaven
Nathaniel after a hard days conferencing

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