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ACEC95: Just another conference?

acec95logo

I was the convenor of the 1995 ACEC National Conference in Perth. It was an interesting year. The Internet had just gone graphical and Creative Nation was launched. Below is the Preface to the Proceedings.

It’s now 13 years on. How did we do?

PREFACE

“Historians may well look back on 1995 as the year in which attitudes to educational technology began to change significantly, the year in which education started to move from education for an industrial age to education for an information age.  It is hoped that ACEC95 will be remembered as having played some small part in that history.

When the conference committee chose a theme for this conference in January of 1994, we selected ‘learning without limits’ because of the potential of computer technology and telecommunications to enhance learning in all areas and for all ages.

We were especially thinking of developments in telecommunications and multimedia which might come to fruition by the time of the conference, and which would help to fulfil the promise that has been with us for many years.

We were particularly interested in the ability of technology to enhance learning for people with disabilities and for those in remote and isolated locations and to provide a more individualised and student centred approach to learning.

Little did we know that in the weeks preceding the conference, we would hear one initiative after another, launched by the Commonwealth or states of Australia:  Creative Nation, Co-operative multimedia Centres, Open-net, Education Network Australia, OzeKids – the list goes on.  Indeed, similar moves are afoot around the world.

In every newspaper and magazine we find articles about the ubiquitous ‘information superhighway’ and its potential to create a paradigm shift in society. At the same time others warn of the dangers and limitations of this technology in education.

ACEC delegates have always been in the forefront of the campaign to allocate more resources to information technology in an attempt to improve education.  It seems that, at last, someone is listening and the resources are slowly becoming available.  A new opportunity is before us and the challenge is to ensure that those resources are allocated well, with educational considerations at the forefront.”

Bryn Jones

ACEC 95 Conference Convenor

Historic Website Found http://ictpd.net/ACEC95/acec95.htm

Comments

Comment from Tomaz Lasic
Time September 9, 2008 at 10:59 pm

13 Years ! OMIGOD

Visionary indeed and it is perhaps our political leaders who confuse ‘vision’ (of the possibilities) with ’seeing’ (the politically expedient).

You have been at the forefront of what Ian Jukes would call a school of Committed Sardines for a long time. Thanks to your efforts, you have inspired and led a fast growing number of us in what we believe is a wonderful and very worthy direction (no end in sight, good!)

I am personally acutely aware of the possible righteousness of views of ICT enthusiasts and the danger of thumbing our collective noses at people who ‘don’t get it’ when it comes particularly to ICT and its transformative possibilities in/for education.

However, I always play an imaginary interview with a parent of a school child deciding on ‘what is best for their child’: “Would you prefer your child to be schooled in the way that has not changed since the agrarian then industrial revolution for the world we definitely know it WAS LIKE (well, historians would disagree) OR would you rather see your child prepared for the world they ARE LIKELY to live in for the rest of their lives?”

It’s a part of the larger conversation, would love to continue it one day over a beer (no, we have not met yet but we probably live a block away).

Good onya Bryn, keep swimming in this direction, there is plenty of us flippin’ that way.

Tomaz Lasic
http://human.edublogs.org

Comment from Admin
Time September 10, 2008 at 8:22 am

Thanks for the comments Tomaz

It’s the 2008 ACEC Conference in a couple of weeks so it will be interesting to see how that goes. Julia Gillard speaking and the DER Taskforce in attendance.

Bryn

Comment from Pru Mitchell
Time September 10, 2008 at 6:09 pm

1995 was certainly a big year. Thanks for the reminder Bryn, and for all you’ve done in those 13 years for ICT in education. Hope to catch up at ACEC2008.

Comment from mark weber
Time September 11, 2008 at 7:52 am

mein hetz brent

Comment from Paul Newhouse
Time September 11, 2008 at 9:58 am

Thanks Bryn. We seem to be at the same point in time now with, at least on the national stage, proposals and plans for moving into the ‘knowledge age’. While the technology has developed at breath-taking speed we have only made incrementally small steps in exploiting the possibilities but at least we can point to some with Internet access in classrooms, wireless networks, trolleys of laptops, digital cameras and a gradually increasing range of software being used. See you at ACEC08. Paul

Comment from Paul Reid
Time September 13, 2008 at 9:11 pm

Cheers Bryn – this is a poignant 13 year old piece of history to share.
It is plain to see in 2008 that while consumer technology has empowered end users at home, it hasn’t necessarily empowered students and teachers in their learning and teaching environments. Plainly because in the most general sense the industrial aged institutions of our schools have failed in some ways to be remain relevant to the world they are supposed to inform us of.

In my visits to schools I occasionally see some lighthouse examples of learning that appears to be relevant to students in this regard. More often the examples are in primary schools, where the legacy of an aged and crippled curriculum has not put as many restrictions on the teacher as it does in high school with a essay based exam focus.

In education we can still be a lot more flexible in how we use technology. The top down approach of network management is failing the learning opportunities possible by giving ubiquitous access – it is a big business model applied to the wrong environment.

But at the same time we need to raise our expectations of both teachers and students to search for their own personal learning networks beyond the school walls. Those Australian students with the critical literacy to effectively access, synthesise and be creative with the “entire sum of human knowledge”, will be most in demand in a knowledge economy. Giving them adhoc access via a one-to-one programme is a great place to start, but actually fostering the development of critical literacy is still the most important part. It is an exciting path to travel with an inquiring mind but only if there aren’t roadblocks at every turn.

Time to visit that “learning without limits” catch-cry I say.

Comment from Roland Gesthuizen
Time October 12, 2008 at 2:16 pm

Well done Bryn, this is a great bit of history to share. :-)

Comment from Roland Gesthuizen
Time March 18, 2009 at 7:13 pm

A fascinating reflection standing on the edge of a storm that is still sweeping our planet. Do not underestimate the part that these conferences played in this discourse or the value of your thoughts. WHilst history will remember the nuts and bolts of the technology revolution, it is important that we also record impressions such as yours to better understand the dreams and aspirations that fired them on.

Comment from Admin
Time March 18, 2009 at 8:14 pm

Thanks for the comment Roland and congratulations on the awards. Very well deserved. Does my memory serve me well – didn’t you get an award at ACEC 95 in Perth also.

I know you were there and for some reason your name stayed with me.

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