Tuesday, 16 June 2009

EDEN Dancing

Friends and partners in Gdansk long before the conference keenly recommended to invite to the conference dinner "Dedko Band" from Gdansk - an orchester playing cool music for lovers of dance. We did so and the result was frenetic indeed: the tradition of "EDEN Dancing" has been created and must be sustained at future events as well!

Monday, 15 June 2009

Farewell from Gdansk

After the closure of the Conference on Saturday, Eva, Gabor and me had a few hours to look around in the beautiful city of Gdansk. We have seen the stunning castle of Marlbrok, had a look around in the town center and had a great dinner. When finnally we unsuspiciusly headed towards our hotel, we bumped into a pageantry, where actors and dancers were telling the story of god Neptun creating the famous Polish drink, Goldwasser, by turning the founten water into vodka. At the and of the compelling show of the stilted dancers, a spectacular firework started. We were so delighted by the spectacle that we decided to share with you the video we made. We hope, you will enjoy it and this way we can transfer some of the feelings we had during standing on the bridge above the river Motlawa.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Session G4: Flexible Education for All: Open - Global - Innovative

23rd ICDE World Conference on Open Learning and Distance Education including the 2009 EADTU Annual Conference were organized on 7-10 June 2009, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Some notes:
  • EADTU disseminates EU projects results via F2F seminars
  • "Pick up, reuse, transform"
  • Quality of e-learning
  • Recognition of qualification
  • Maastricht Message

Session F4: Designing for Tomorrow e-Learning....

Go to GLO tool, download and test.

Poster Session 5: E-learning for Special Needs

The most interesting discussion concerned seniors' training, intergenerational, cultural and social issues.
Some photos are here.

Plenary Session 2: Here and Now or Wherever and Forever.

Born in 1939 in Warsaw, Poland. Documentary and feature film director. Studied physics at Warsaw University and philosophy at Jagiellonian University in Cracow. Graduated from Lodz Film Academy in 1966. Amateur film maker. His school diploma film 'Death of a Provincial' (Smierc prowincjala (1966)) won an awards in Venice, Mannheim, Valladolid and Moscow in 1967. Other early films made for TV include: 'Next Door' (_Za sciana (1971)_), Grand Prix in San Remo; 'Hypothesis' (Hipoteza (1973) (TV)).

Scriptwriter or co-writer of all of his TV and cinema films. Other early feature films: 'Structure of a Crystal' (Struktura krysztalu (1969)), which won in Mar del Plata 1970; 'Family Life' (Zycie rodzinne (1971)), which won in Chicago 1971, Valladolid 1972 and Colombo 1973; 'Illumination' (Iluminacja (1973)), Grand Prix in Locarno 1973, award in Gdansk 1974; 'Quarterly Balance' (Bilans kwartalny (1975)); 'Camouflage' (Barwy ochronne (1977)), Spiral (Spirala (1978)).

Mini Biography By: Zbigniew Pasek bigniew@engin.umich.edu

Friday, 12 June 2009

Through a keyhole

Although I'm not physically present at EDEN this year, it's nice to follow on this blog what is happening, even if it is like looking through a keyhole. I particulalry like the video clips people are posting, which provides a little more immediacy and social presence.

It would be even better though, if there was a live Twitter stream coming from the event. This kind of back-channel, I think, provides an even more immediate medium to participate remotely.

Steve Wheeler's e-learning blog

Workshop Media Zoo tour by the Beyond Distance Research Alliance

Workshop: "Media Zoo Tour: innovation to practice symposium" by Gilly Salmon, Palitha Edirisingha, Sandra Romenska, Matthew Wheeler, university of Leicester, UK
Participants will have the opportunity to take part in a discussion and a range of creative activitites, based on the research and practice of the beyond distance research alliance at the university of leicester UK, addressing two tf the EDEN09 questions:
How to empower innovation within the huge diversity of different learning situations and settings?
How to use existing and emerging technologies to create new value for learning
Using an innovative presentation format the Beyond Distance team will offer the participants transferrable ideas for successful integration of learning technologies into teaching practices in higher education, using examples from their own innovation to practice experience.

The workshop lead by Gilly, Matthew, Ming and Ricardo was based on group discussion or better yet, on exchanging personal experiences in new technologies for learning.
I had the pleasure of being part of a dynamic and very experienced group, so we exchanged quite a lot of ideas and build upon each others experiences.
The format of the group was build around a given framework of the Beyond Distance Research Alliance team, a framework they put forward to the ministry to get funded (the framework was build in 2005 and has recently been adjusted to fit the latest developments in eLearning - look for the 4 piece structure in the movie).
To get everyone in an open frame of mind, the opening question was: who is which animal (at this point in time) related to learning (I felt I was a Bonobo monkey for instance: very peaceful and loving, creative, playful and always interested in using new gadgets, our group also had a fish, a mother goose, a bird and a dog for different reasons and ... this approach started us all thinking.
So, getting back to the 4 pieces, each of them was zoomed into by means of a pecha kucha kind off ppt (with music), after each part a question was launched to the group. After discussing this question for 5 minutes, one of the groups chaired there conclusions to the given questions with the other groups.

Feel free to look at the movie to get some more impressions :

Thursday, 11 June 2009

A Reneissance of Audio - B4 Session

The subject which is aspecially interesting to me. Podcast. The team from Leicester University talked about how they use podcast in their teaching practise. Nice one.
They have proposed three types of podcast: presentation and assessment, feedback and transition ones.
What was really interesting - they use podcast as an addition to the on-line or blended courses for delivering: current news, planning and feedback and humor. It makes the course more human - but is it (the) role of a tutor in a modern education? Are we limited to be a human factor only, an addition to the perfect course?
Lots of thigs to think about...

#eden some Thursday morning writings from the conference at Gdansk

(For those of you interested in some feedback on the keynote speakers of today, I wrote a post on it (with my remarks) on my own blog. )

"The use of a peer-assessment and a reflection report to measure collaborating learning efoorts an interdisciplinary project for students of the faculty of teacher training, the faculty of social work and welfare studies, and athe faculty of health care" by Kristof Uvijn, Hogeschool Gent, Belgium.

A nice person with glasses, a black shirt.
Problems: would they use it to promote the learning process, or only for evaluation purposes?
They have a midterm evaluation to get the students more at ease with the technology.
they used it at 150 students from 10 different courses (teacher, logopedist, nurses, ergotherapists, ...)
The students are not face-to-face, but only see themselves 5 times throughout the year. The students are all in their last year before finishing, so the better students.

Want to hear/see more, look at this vodcast (just uploaded the movie, so it might not be accessible yet, depending on the youtube upload capacity, but you can see it later for sure):

"Online Learning: variations in Groups of parcitipants and tools" by Miri Shonfeld, Ilana Ronen, Kibbutzim College of Educatin Technology and Art, Israƫl (ah, art already in the title!)
(this presentation wanted to go immediately into the wiki, but the connection did not allow it)
Students with learner dissabilities (Inge, try to get her contact details to be able to see it)
Blended learning with the classic face-to-face meetings at beginning and end an two virtual field trips.

The question for the students: construct a science teaching unit.
They use a synchronous teaching platform similar to Elluminate and also asynchronous possibilities.
The course resulted in learning outcomes that were amazingly better results for disabled students. So an analysis was made:
students with disabilities participate more in an online course than in a f2f-course.
These students also evaluated the course much more highly than the others.
The final grades were also higher than the others (the others included the 'excellent students'.

why: because disabled students had to learn on their own anyway, they were better at time management (they do not have to wait for pick-ups, or other time consuming actions).
online courses allow them more flexibility which is motivating for them.

Session C5

The Workshop "Creative Technology Enhanced Learning in Later Life" started from 16:30 in the Green Room.
Many interesting presentations were delivered. Finally several questions were asked.
During the Demonstration Session on Friday (starting from 11:30) I will try to answer some of them.

A1 session

I attended the A1 session. The best presentation (my opinion) was the one given by the Ladies from Politecnico di Milano. They talked about two projects: MathsOnLine and PerformingGalileo. Great tips on how to motivate students to learn, lots of ideas.
Sounds familiar? But they did it. Ans have shown us how.

Jolly good fellows

Last year at EDEN in Lisbon (yes, yes I know I keep banging on about it) I was made a fellow of EDEN. This was news that made me world famous in my village. I still have the certificate, and it keeps pride of place. This morning I heard that my dear friend Anna Grabowska was also made a fellow of EDEN. This is well deserved, and about time too! (Now she will be just as insufferable as me). Together, we will be a force to be reckoned with, we will sweep all before us, and no-one better mess with either of us. OK?

Seriously though, together, Anna and I have a big job to do in the coming years and our EDEN Fellowships will stand us in good stead within the academic community. You see, I am chair of the International Federation of Information Processing (IFIP - a UNESCO Sponsored organisation) Working Group 3.6 on Distance Education and Anna is one of my two illustrious Vice-Chairs (the other is Peter Surdiukov, USA). Together, we will be steering this group over the next 3 years, as we seek to shape distance education and e-learning practices and influence policy in many countries around the globe. You think that's difficult? Just try getting an EDEN Fellowship then!

Have fun at EDEN everyone!
Read Steve Wheeler's e-Learning Blog

On a way to EDEN 2009 venue

have a look at my pictures I have just taken near by the Conference Venue.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Missing in action...

Now normally at this time of the year, I would be at the EDEN reception by now, pressing the flesh, drinking all the wine and generally making a reet nuisance of myself. There was a book launch tonight (I have a chapter in it, so I hope Andras, that I will get to see a copy?) and probably some more deserving scholars were inducted into fellowship of EDEN. I was 'done' along with the likes of Sally Reynolds and Ulf-Daniel Ehlers last year, and I'm still glowing with pride at the honour of it all. It's also a time to meet some of the guest speakers and guests of honour, and make new friends.

This year people were looking forward to meeting that battered old Polish hero Lech Walesa (pictured above, eating the first of many tulips), but for some reason he failed to show up. The reason? Unknown, but I surmise it was because it was his moustache waxing night.

Here are some other people who failed to show up to this year's EDEN conference, and the reasons why:

Gordon Brown (Has lost his way completely)
Steve Wheeler (Recovering from battle wounds)
Barack Obama (No he couldn't!)
Oprah Winfrey (Too busy Twittering)
Ashton Kutcher (Too bust recruiting his new Twitter followers)
Andrew Keen (Not keen enough)
Steve Jobs (Lost in cyberspace)
Bill Gates (Retired)
Tony Blair (On a lucrative lecture tour)
Kim Jung Il (Spent his airfare on rocket fuel)
Saddam Hussain (Suspended without pay)
Susan Boyle (Having another make-over)

For all those who are at the conference this year, have a great time, and don't forget to blog/tweet what is happening to those of us who are absent! Have fun!

Read Steve Wheeler's e-Learning Blog


It has started! The welcoming speaches (president Walesa didn't come), awards, great food and wine. We are starting to know each other. Lot's of people are here for the second, third.... time. Can't wait for tomorrow.

Twitter delight with the twitter fountain

Hi all,

Looking forward to meet you all during the next couple of days.

To get an idea of what EDEN tweets are saying, I made a 'twitter fountain' using the hashtag #EDEN09.

And here it is, the twitter fountain for EDEN with pictures of Gdansk in het background of the fountain.

Missing out?

Due to surgery on Monday (bad timing I know!) I have had to miss my favourite event of the year - EDEN. I want to send my best wishes to all those of you who are lucky enough to be at EDEN though - I envy you! I thoroughly enjoyed last year's event in Lisbon, and met so many smart and passionate people, that I am now wishing I was there in Gdansk with you today. EDEN is unique, because it has it all - some great presentations, wonderful surroundings, and excellent people to network and discuss some of the burning professional issues of the day with.

May I start the ball rolling this year with a burning issue...? It is this: Distance education has been with us for so long now, and in its organised form we can trace it back to the days of Sir Isaac Pitman in Victorian England. The correspondence course is still with us, but now we have so much choice to enable us to connect with our students at a distance. My blog post earlier today about Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's decision to ditch traditional methods such as text books in favour of electonic media raises some issues about choice. Should we go the whole hog and get rid of old media, replacing them wholesale for new digital media? Or should we maintain them alongside the new media. Does the correspondence course still have a place in distance education? Would some people miss out if we were to go totally digital?

10 June 2009 - reminder

Registration will start at 15:00 at the Conference Centre.

Next the Welcome Reception (19:00 - 21:00) when presentation of the EDEN Fellow awards and inauguration of the EDEN Book "Distance and E-learning in Transition - Learning Innovation, Technology and Social Challenges" will take place.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Welcome to Gdansk

EDEN Conference is starting tomorrow.
I do hope the weather will be as good as it is today in the morning.
You can check the weather forcast at

Friday, 5 June 2009

Welcome to the blog of the EDEN 2009 Annual Conference in Gdansk!

Welcome to the blog of the EDEN 2009 Annual Conference in Gdansk!

Only few days left until the start of the Conference!
Delegates who have registered to the conference receive an invitation to join the blog.
To be an author of the blog, you have to register at Blogger, following the instructions in the invitation.
For posting comments, you do not have to be registered.

We invite everyone to share impressions, ideas, reflections and to take part in a lively
online discussion!

Andras Szucs