Peter Scott received a warm welcome when he presented his keynote talk at the E2BN conference on 25 June. He set the ball rolling with the first talk of the day on transforming learning via open, social and big data.
E2BN hosts a two day conference and exhibition for school and Local Authority staff and all those interested in raising standards through the use of technology. This year’s theme was ‘Technology for a New Curriculum’. Every year the East of England Broadband Network aims to provide an intellectual challenge by inviting speakers with a unique forward-thinking outlook on learning. This year they invited our own Professor Peter Scott.
Working on ‘Live and social iBooks’, the theme of interactive learning texts and embedding social multimedia interactions into teaching materials is close to Peter’s heart. In addition, Prof. Scott drew delegates’ attention to the increased possibility for mobile learning outside the classroom, as learners are using new computing platforms and channels, and are accessing content wirelessly.
Prof. Scott described the breadth of materials available to today’s students in the form of Open Educational Resources (OER). He explained how these digital learning materials are now being framed by leading international institutions as Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC).
“Learners can now connect with peers and mentors in much more flexible ways,” Peter noted, explaining the potential for interaction offered by new learning formats. “Even conventional resources such as ‘the textbook’ are starting to offer new things. Electronic texts can now be highly interactive; moreover they can be both social and even ‘data driven’ themselves.”
Peter also highlighted the exciting prospect of using big data from the perspective of a teaching institution – “Learners’ activity in these new spaces is logged and available to inspection and integration. This can be used by big data services to predict trends, and make recommendations. Indeed, one of the most promising new areas of ‘learning analytics’ is not just the dashboard service provided to the institution which helps understand where students may fail, and to offer appropriate help; but to offer the learner a view of their ‘quantified self’.”
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