Reimagining technology in education

There are opportunities and challenges in using technology in education.

From the latest touchscreen tools to virtual reality and artificial intelligence, digital technology offers an unprecedented number of opportunities and challenges in the classroom.

The opportunities for reimagining technology in education will be explored at an education symposium at Federation University Australia’s Gippsland Campus.

The symposium will highlight research from around the university while making it accessible to everyone, said Dr Anna Fletcher who is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education and convenor of the event hosted by the Pedagogy, Curriculum, Assessment and Learner Engagement (PeCALE) group.

“It is an opportunity to get our research out there in a meaningful way that isn't necessarily through a journal article but something that practitioners can really relate to. We don't want anyone coming away feeling like they've being clobbered over the head, so it's quite informal and it's really there to facilitate research and a lot of the time it becomes a networking event as well,” Dr Fletcher said.

“The idea is that things should spring from there so that can lead to future collaborations and future ideas and improve practices by becoming aware of what's out there. It's also inviting a conversation – it's not just a one-way communication, it’s a dialogue.”

Researchers from Sweden are among the line-up of presenters, including an innovative upper secondary school principal who has worked with neuroscientists to develop students' study techniques, well-being and health. The principal works with IT companies who implement technology in the school to improve learning. That relationship has seen an improvement in the students’ academic results.

An immersive virtual reality experience (VRE) that was developed by Bachelor of Information Technology students will also be on show. Students were asked to create an entertaining and educational VRE to celebrate the 1969 lunar landing. The VRE showcases some of the skills learned during studies in gaming technology including 3D modelling, texturing, game design and programming.

Another session will consider if technology makes a difference to learning outcomes in classrooms, and if it augments and develops a student’s imagination or supplants and represses it.

Dr Fletcher said the symposium would see local, regional and international presenters visit the Gippsland campus, which made it easy for local teachers and principals to attend.

“The great thing about the symposium is that it provides the opportunity for both the audience and presenters to actively engage with the community and build networks for collaboration. This provides a platform for co-design and developing innovative projects both locally and internationally.”

“The whole idea of the symposium is to open up a conversation with the community while keeping it jargon free. It's very open and inviting, that’s the intention, so local schools have been invited and registered to attend. We've also got academics from the School of Education as well as from IT presenting, we're crossing from various campuses, it's hosted at Gippsland but the academics are coming from lots of places.”

The symposium is the third run by PeCALE which has also invited participants from industry.

Dr Fletcher said the presentations were based on research but the focus was to apply that research in classrooms.

“We've had, for example, local teachers presenting who've been quite innovative in their practice or perhaps work with the university. They may have had no idea that nearby schools were doing this great research,” Dr Fletcher said.

“So it's a way of also building networks and collaboration and working quite closely with the community.”

Federation University’s Pedagogy, Curriculum, Assessment and Learner Engagement research group’s (PeCALE) event Reimagining technology in education – engagement, innovation and communication, will be held on Monday December 9.

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