Last night I went to a ‘Smart ways to educate’ event organised by Nexters, KPMG High Growth Technology Group & Code Advisors. It was a networking led event (with Ashley from Nexters being an exceptionally good mediator/director), with some short presentations part way through (including one by me).  I was invited both as an OU PhD student, and trustee at Wikimedia UK (and we had Stevie Benton from WMUK representing the charity throughout the evening and in a quick talk on the value of Wikipedia to global education as an OER resource). I was “double carding” with my OU and WMUK cards all night; so hopefully I’ll have some interesting talks around analytics, and Wikimedia ahead. Interesting group of people with some excellent innovations coming out, and a real interest in learning analytics and understanding of the limitations of those approaches (and perhaps the superior value of formative assessment). I was also heartened to see that generally (in fact, I think exclusively) people really understood the problematic nature of our current fact-based-recall assessments, and the virtue of technologies for providing more interesting activities.  Having said that, I think there’s a really big challenge in developing technology and early business models (particularly at minimum viable product stage) to consider how to bring in non-individualistic approaches especially around app development; and this is so important in education given the motivational and reasoning-development improvements associated with high quality collaboration and discourse. It was also interesting that or many, the key innovation was in the technology or how it was delivered; not in the content itself. In those cases, either using directly, or developing OER and then using them (ideally a combination!) seems very sensible, because the product isn’t the content so if that content can be made sustainable (or indeed, already is) then so much the better to focus on the core product – the technology.

@sjgknight of Open University very interesting at edtech event with @KPMGTechGrowth and nexters nextec

Talking at Nexters event

Talking at Nexters event

— Nexters (@Nexters13) December 3, 2013

  I gave a quick talk on my own research, noting that in Denmark students have access to the internet in exams, so if we’re thinking about technological innovation we ought to think beyond our own system to imagine other (not even particularly radical) approaches. I also noted that one of the things the Danish were well aware of was the potential to deploy analytics on online exams, and indeed that is my research interest – the development of analytics around how people search for information, and what that searching tells us about evaluative standards and how people connect different pieces of information. I also noted my connection to Wikimedia UK (as a trustee), and that such platforms (Mediawiki) and activities (collaboratively writing) afford opportunity to explore data trace around a) high quality articles, and b) high quality editors (and interactions). Be great to hear if I piqued anyone’s interest [@sjgknight]1