Thursday, May 13, 2010

DEANZ conference 2010

In all the excitement of the Virtual International Day of the Midwife, I forgot to talk about the Distance Education Association New Zealand conference I went to in April. This was the first education conference I have been to since I moved out of midwifery and into staff development, so it was really valuable to meet other people doing similar work to myself.

Second Life presentation
I gave a presentation about the virtual birth unit. There was not the interest I expected but having said that, I had some good one-on-one discussions about the work following my session. I felt the presentation didn't go as well as it could have done - what I should have done was play the YouTube video that explains how the normal birth scenario works. I have tried to do this before at conferences, but when there is little or no Internet access this can be a disaster. Suffice to say, we were at Te Papa which had excellent Internet access.

Meeting Terry Anderson
I sound like a bit of a groupie when I say the highlight of the conference was meeting Professor Terry Anderson. Terry is a Canadian who works in Athabasca which is the Canadian equivalent of the Open University/Polytechnic. Terry is world renown for his eLearning work, and his book "Theory and practice of online learning" is my is open access and free to download.

Connectivism made easy
In Terry's keynote speech he talked about the history/phases of eLearning and put things into words of one syllable which made a lot of sense to me. At long last I understand the difference between behaviourism, constructionism and connectivism:

Behaviourist - self paced, individual study
Constructivist - learning in groups
Connectivisim - learning in a network

What comes first...the chicken or the egg...?
The other thing that Terry discussed which rang a bell with me was the relationship between technology and pedagogy. I have heard the mantra "the pedagogy comes first" many a time, and I have said it myself, often as a means of apology...feeling I have to apologise for my interest and love of technology. I have never had the nerve to voice my thoughts...that we would not have the choice of pedagogy without the technology.

Terry sees technology and pedagogy as ying and yang...doing a dance. He said that technology sets the beat and the timing...and pedagogy defines the moves.

Here is Terry's presentation which I hope you enjoy as much as I did.


Bronwyn hegarty said...

I look forward to listening to Terry's presentation. So glad you put it up.

Dark Daughta said...

Thanks for the name Terry Anderson. I wasn't acquainted with his work but I will now be searching him online, of course. :)

Sarah Stewart said...

hi Dark Daughta, he's a really cool guy who has lots of teach us about open education :)