By Phil Hill
Based on my involvement in the Evolve conference sponsored by the 20 Million Minds Foundation, held in January, I wrote a series of posts covering the discussions around online education and educational technology. The three main posts:
- Evolve Conference Analysis: Move Past Status Quo and Focus on Student Success
- Evolve Analysis: Student Success in Online Requires More Than Courses
- Evolve Analysis: Student Perception of the Benefits of Online Courses
During the conference I put out a call for other conferences to follow 20MM’s lead and work harder to directly include students in their discussions of ed tech – full post here and video below:
Before we get to the analyses, however, it is important to highlight once again how unique this format is in education or ed tech settings. There is plenty of discussion about needing course design and support services that are learner-centric, yet typically ed tech conferences don’t have learner-centric discussions. We need to stop just talking about students and add the element of talking with students.
While I do not believe there is a direct connection, this week Sir Richard Branson created a youth panel as part of the UK’s Generation Tech review, giving students a direct voice in educational technology. The panel’s focus is K-12 usage and is described in The Telegraph:
Young people will be given the chance to voice their ideas about how technology can support learning in the UK, thanks to a new council being created as part of the ‘Generation Tech’ review.
The new Digital Youth Council, a panel of students aged between 13 and 17, will share their experiences with technology and discuss ways in which education technology can be improved in a classroom setting. [snip]
The council is being created as part of a wider review, launched at the end of April and led by Sir Richard Branson, looking at what impact technology is having in schools and what the future holds for teachers and pupils alike.
As children become increasingly confident using new technology, schools have often struggled to keep up – however, many classrooms are now equipped with tablets, interactive white boards and online learning platforms which allow teachers to more effectively monitor pupils’ learning.
The wider Generation Tech review is set to analyse how these new technologies are impacting education.
This is welcome news, and I hope these two efforts, along with WCET’s commitment for a student panel in their fall conference, mark the start of a movement. Who else will join? Are there other examples people can share in the comments?