EPIC: Report on day I

Today was EPIC! Hundreds of educational pioneers and innovators came together in Rotterdam on the first day of EPIC. Read the report on day one here.

Opening by Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf and Arthur Mol 

Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf could still remember the first e-mail he send and the first time he put a website online. Times have changed. No one was expecting the influence technology would have on our daily life only 30 years ago. Dijkgraaf and Arthur Mol (chair of the Acceleration Plan) were discussing the impact technology has and will have on education. They agreed very much that the Acceleration Plan has had immense power in bringing institutions together. Connecting people, experimenting and now scaling up the innovations are huge results gained in the last three years. Dijkgraaf even said that The Netherlands is a leader in the world in this respect. A compliment that goes out to all educational innovators that have contributed to the Acceleration Plan. 

Keynote by Adam Finkelstein

Adam Finkelstein from McGill University in Montreal opened EPIC on Monday 30 May with his keynote titled: ‘Learning environments are access points for changing teaching and learning.’ Adam Finkelstein is currently Associate Director, Learning Environments (Physical and Digital) at Teaching and Learning Services at McGill University where he develops university-wide initiatives to improve teaching and learning environments. Taking us on a tour past the changes McGill University has made to both the physical and the digital learning environment, he centred his talk around answering questions such as ‘How do we create innovative classrooms?’ and ‘What evidence do we have for how students learn, and what does that mean for how we teach?’

Session: Beyond programmes: an infrastructure for a ‘lonely planet’  study approach 

Flexibilization of vocational and higher education might easily be the most discussed subject during EPIC. Ulrike Wild of the Making education more flexible zone of the Acceleration Plan made very clear that it is technically possible to enrol students in courses at other institutions. Using EduXchange the institutions can work through the enrollment procedures flawless. In the Student Mobility pilot, even more, students enrolled in courses offered at the 3 participating universities than expected. So far for the answer if students want this. This is also important for the ever and even more quickly changing labour market.  Institutions now face a lot of serious questions regarding finances and staffing of courses. But shouldn’t this be solved quickly and pragmatic when this gives a boost to flexible and personal education? 

Session: Searching for a new balance between digital and non-digital education 

How do connect the students that are attending a class at the institution with the students at home? And especially: how to engage the students that are still in their pyjamas as Jessica Zweers and Olaf Wouters put it. They came up with a very interesting didactical and technical format. The three groups working on location were discussing different (but related) subjects and wrote down their conclusions on a big paper sheet. With a camera, the remote students, the so-called active spectators, could see the conclusions of each of the three groups. It was their task to formulate the overall conclusions after analyzing the input. In this way, all students are very active and stay focused. Peer learning can keep the students that are not able to attend a meeting connected.   

Session: Privacy and ethical conundrums in the use of education data

This session showed that discussion needs to start or further continue on this very important topic. Bram Enning (leader of the Secure and reliable use of education data zone) gave a brief introduction to the Privacy and Ethics Reference Framework for education data.  The need to discuss this topic is facilitated by the Dilemma game. A panel of Miek Krol (UvA), Nol van Gerven (LSVb) and Robert Voogdgeert (Leiden University of Applied Sciences) showed that opinions differ widely. Is that a problem? A bit, because educators need data to improve their education, but sometimes that conflicts with the openness the students want to have. Is it solvable? Of course. By discussing this subject with all stakeholders friction can be found and discussed. Everyone will benefit from this. The Dilemma game is a valuable tool to start talking. 

You can read the report of day 2 here.
You can read the report of day 3 here.

Photo by Marcel Krijgsman from De Beeldredaktie

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