Keynote Speakers

Steve Wheeler. Plymouth University (United Kingdom)

Digital Learning Futures: Mind the Gap!

Steve Wheeler

The future of education will be greatly influenced by new and emerging technologies. Students are now engaging with knowledge in new ways, creating and repurposing, as well as consuming content.

Teachers are now grappling with a vast array of choices and possibilities, but often decisions are based on appearance rather than affordance.

In this presentation I will address the perceptual gaps between intention and reality that are always present in education. These apply especially to the choices we make when we adopt new technologies. There are many differentials, some in the language used, some in the culture of learning, others in the choice of technology. Some gaps can appear in the psychological distances that occur when people learn using technology.

Appropriate technologies can reduce the distance, whilst inappropriate technologies may amplify the distance. The psychological distance can be gender or age related, or can reflect some other differential present in society. I will highlight some of the new and emerging technologies and argue that for education to truly harness the power of these new tools, we really need to consider the human (social and psychological) issues as well as the technical perspectives. These include not only skills and competencies but also the new literacies that are evolving as we engage with knowledge making in the digital age.

About Steve Wheeler

Wheeler is an Associate Professor of Learning Technology in the Faculty of Education at the University of Plymouth where he teaches on a number of undergraduate and postgraduate teacher education programmes. He is a visiting professor at the Technical University of Liberec, in the Czech Republic. Prior to joining the University he worked in the National Health Service and as a lecturer in Education at City College Plymouth. Wheeler researches into the uses of Web 2.0 in all education sectors, and has published more than 150 scholarly articles in the field of e-learning. Wheeler has also published 4 books and numerous monograms related to the use of learning technology. Wheeler earned his Cert Ed teaching qualification at Polytechnic Southwest, his first degree in Psychology via part-time study at the British Open University and later completed a Master of Philosophy degree at the University of Plymouth. In 2008 Wheeler was awarded a Fellowship by the European Distance and E-learning Network (EDEN) for his services to European educational research. Wheeler is an active edublogger and his writings regularly appear on his blog Learning with 'e's.

Between 2008-2011 Wheeler was co-editor of the journal Interactive Learning Environments, and serves on the editorial boards of a number of other academic journals including ALT-J - Research in Learning Technology, the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, and Digital Culture and Education. Wheeler was elected as Chair of the IFIP Technical Committee Group 3.6 (Distance Education) in 2008. He is also the chair of the Plymouth e-Learning Conference, rebranded in 2012 as 'PELeCON' at the University of Plymouth, United Kingdom; an international event held around Easter every year on the University of Plymouth campus.

Charles Leadbeater. Management & Information Consultant (United Kingdom)

Learning to make a difference: What should be the real core curriculum of Modern School.

Charles Leadbeater will draw on his extensive research on innovation in education around the world, from the poorest slums to the richest countries, to look at the six key qualities education will need to foster for young people to succeed in a modern world which is volatile, uncertain and yet full of promise and opportunity. His talk will draw on examples of innovation in education from around the world to point to a system that nurtures talent and encourages children to ask questions, challenge conventional thinking, and collaborate to make solutions of their own.

Charles Leadbeater

About Charles Leadbeater

Charles Leadbeater is a leading authority on innovation and creativity. He has advised companies, cities and governments around the world on innovation strategy and drew on that experience in writing his latest book We-think: the power of mass creativity, which charts the rise of mass, participative approaches to innovation from science and open source software, to computer games and political campaigning.

We-think was the latest in a string of acclaimed books: Living on Thin Air, a guide to living and working in the new economy; Up the Down Escalator, an attack on the culture of public pessimism accompanying globalisation and In Search of Work, published in the 1980’s, which was one of the first books to predict the rise of more flexible and networked forms of employment.

In 2005 Charles was ranked by Accenture, the management consultancy, as one of the top management thinkers in the world. A past winner of the prestigious David Watt prize for journalism, Charles was profiled by the New York Times in 2004 for generating one of the best ideas of the year, the rise of the activist amateur, outlined in his report The Pro-Am Revolution.

As well as advising a wide range of organisations on innovation including the BBC, Vodafone, Microsoft, Ericsson, Channel Four Television and the Royal Shakespeare Company, Charles has been an ideas generator in his own right. As an associate editor of the Independent he helped Helen Fielding devise Bridget Jones’s diary. He wrote the first British report on the rise of social entrepreneurship, which has since become a global movement. His report on the potential for the web to generate social change led to the creation of the Social Innovation Camp movement.

Charles has worked extensively as a senior adviser to the governments, advising the 10 Downing St policy unit, the Department for Trade and Industry and the European Commission on the rise of the knowledge driven economy and the Internet, as well as the government of Shanghai. He is an advisor to the Department for Education’s Innovation Unit on future strategies for more networked and personalised approaches to learning and education. He is a co-founder of the public service design agency Participle.

A visiting senior fellow at the British National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts, he is also a longstanding senior research associate with the influential London think-tank Demos and a visiting fellow at Oxford University’s Said Business School and the Young Foundation. He is co-founder of Participle, the public service innovation agency, which is working with central and local government to devise new approaches to intractable social challenges.

Charles spent ten years working for the Financial Times where he was Labour Editor, Industrial Editor and Tokyo Bureau Chief before becoming the paper’s Features Editor. In 1994 he moved to the Independent as assistant editor in charge of features and became an independent author and advisor in 1996.