Keynote speakers

Dave Cormier. University of Prince Edward Island (Canada)

The rhizomatic lense - seeing learning from the perspective of abundance

Dave Cormier
Our learning systems are fundamentally designed to solve the problem of information scarcity. Our courses are designed to organize ‘content’ our assessments to ensure that students have remembered this content. The boundaries between class/not class have intensified as our content based courses are increasingly unrepresentative of the world that learners live in. Information is abundant. Our knowledge spaces are in an increasing state of flux. How do we adapt our perspectives on teaching in order to allow for meaninful learning experiences?
The rhizomatic perspective is situated in the idea that there is no beginning or ending to the learning process - We are always in the middle. It celebrates the uncertainty of the learning process and seeks to create learning environments where we focus on learning from within a community of knowing. Can we replace learning objectives with subjectives? Can we replace the idea of ‘content’ with the actual people? What happens when we focus on the literacies of mapping and connection over memory and custom?

About Dave Cormier

Dave Cormier is an educational activist, researcher, online community advocate and the Project Lead for Student Relations Management at the University of Prince Edward Island. He has published on open education, Rhizomatic Learning, MOOCs (Massive/Open Online Courses), and the impact of technology on the future of high education.
His educational journey started in 1998 teaching little children to speak English. The pivotal moment of his career happened when he was teaching at Hannam University in South Korea in 2003 surrounded by the papers of 275 writing students and wondering if he had them all. That winter he started using discussion forums to bring all of his students together in a writing community (and to digitally keep track of their work) and he hasn’t looked back. He’s since helped organize online communities of teachers, spoken at events around the world and worked to understand how internet changes what it means to know. His educational exploration partners have included faculty and researchers from well-known universities, and lone teachers in small town classrooms. Some of them are even still talking to him.

Miguel Brechner. Centro Ceibal (Uruguay)

Plan Ceibal or how to accelerate pedagogy when technology is available for all students.

Miguel Brechner

Plan Ceibal is an equal opportunities program that emphasizes social inclusion as a means of changing learning education and the technology infrastructure of Uruguay. All students in public education between grades 1 and 9 (more than 720.000) have received laptops, 99% of them have connectivity in their education facility and all these in urban areas have fiber optics. All students access through Ceibal to digital textbooks, reading books, math platforms, english platforms , robotics and programming.

Technology has changed our lives in a way that was unthinkable for the last thirty years. When we analyze the impact of technology in education the influence has been very little. We explore different ways on how technology can accelerate pedagogy and learning. To do this we need a holistic approach where technology is available for all students and teachers. The availability of technology is a necessary condition for change, but not a sufficient one. The sufficient condition to consolidate change is through new pedagogies and empowering teachers.

Plan Ceibal is experimenting through this vision with good results.

About Miguel Brechner

Miguel Brechner Frey got a degree in Electronics at Kings College London and a Masters degree in Telecommunications at Imperial College, London.

He was a successful executive and businessman in the IT field in Uruguay. In 2005 he resigned to all executive positions in the private sector and redirected his efforts to innovation and technology in the public sector, especially Education.

Since 2006, he is the President of Centro Ceibal, an institution created by himself. Centro Ceibal is changing the landscape of Education in Uruguay. More than 720.000 students and teachers from public education have their own computers, 99% of them having connectivity in their education facility. Plan Ceibal is based on a profound equal opportunities vision that emphasizes social inclusion as a means of changing learning, education and the technology infrastructure of the country.