This week, the Desire2Learn team will make its annual trip to EDUCAUSE. I’ll be joining our staff later today, after spending time at another great event – the World Social Science Forum in Montreal.
EDUCAUSE is one of the key events we attend every year. For us, it’s an opportunity to engage with our client community, meet with partners, exchange ideas with prospects, and learn about the new and emerging trends and challenges on the minds of everyone gathered at the conference. This week, everyone is buzzing about MOOCs, connected learning, the cloud, and some of Sir Ken Robinson’s insights as he discusses the need to encourage creativity in learning. These are broad issues and trends – some of them about harnessing technology to help address challenges, and some of them about core issues in teaching and learning.
These are topics that I get to hear a lot about and discussions that I am pleased to be given an opportunity to participate in. Only a few weeks ago, here in Waterloo, Perimeter Institute and the University of Waterloo hosted an event that I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in called the Equinox Summit: Learning 2030. The venue, speakers, and attendees were very different than what I expect to see at EDUCAUSE this week – but many of the underlying themes were similar.
The education environment continues to experience complex and dramatic changes. There are many predictions about what this might mean today, tomorrow, and even in 2030. No matter where I travel or who I am having conversations with, it seems like everyone’s talking about how we can work to reshape learning and education for the future.
For my part, I believe strongly in the idea that technology can help achieve these goals. Delivery models are shifting from a traditional, face-to-face approach to virtual, blended experiences. Learning is becoming pervasive and students are shifting from consumers to producers. Content can no longer be confined to a rigid, inflexible textbook but needs to move into digital and adaptive.
Learning is becoming insights-driven, engaging and personal. It’s accessible. And it offers learners a variety of pathways – all of which lead to a greater achievement of one’s own unique potential. All these ideas culminate in our vision of the Integrated Learning Platform and our belief that it helps to address the real challenges facing education.
I believe that it is the sharing of ideas with educators, governments, and IT leaders around the world that really starts the work that lies ahead in making this transformation. No teacher can figure this out alone in a classroom. No IT leader can select the right technology without the dialogue to understand what needs to be re-imagined. And no entrepreneur can develop a vision for the technology to support these needs without this discussion. It’s about building a powerful learning network so that we can work together to understand all the pieces of this complex and shifting environment.
I’m happy to be able to play a part in the conversation this week at EDUCAUSE. I hope you’ll join in as well.