Martin Bean (Vice Chancellor of the Open University) said that the goal of education in the 21st Century is to transform information into meaningful knowledge. The university teacher’s job is to create a trusting environment for their students where information is challenged. Most incoming students have not known the world without technology hence it is important for HEIs to enable and teach students on how to blend their digital lifestyles with their work styles.
I am currently doing some work on National Teaching Fellows’ metaphorical images of teaching and was excited when Martin Bean advocated that university teachers need to change their teaching metaphors from sage on the stage to coach on the side. He argued that only way for teachers to grow and improve their practice is to reflect on how they teach their students. I believe that university teachers need to reverse-engineer their teaching practice because this will enable them to identify what works, what doesn’t work and what needs to change in their teaching practice. They also have to be willing to learn new practices, unlearn ineffective practices and re-learn effective practices. This is the pathway to becoming a reflective practitioner.
Martin cited Steve Jobs as a disruptive innovator who changed several industries. He posed this question “what would Steve Jobs do with UK Higher Education system?” He wondered if all universities and educators were truly creating rich learning experiences for their students. He argued that Steve Jobs would focus on the design experience of the physical and digital spaces for students in order to enable them to engage with the subject content. UK Universities need to do likewise. He also stated that technology’s main strength is enabling access to the subject content and facilitating the learning experience for students. I believe that technology enhances rather than diminishes the teacher’s role in helping the students learn. Technology is simply a tool which if used appropriately is a powerful tool for facilitating learning.
Ewart Wooldridge (CEO of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education), the second keynote speaker, stated that both HEIs (institutions) and educators (individuals) need to be active and adaptive learners if they are to survive and thrive in these disruptive and challenging times. He shared two of his favourite quotes to buttress his point on the power of learning as a transformative tool of change:
“The world is not divided between good and evil, but between those capable of learning and those who are not” Aung San Suu Kyi
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” Ghandi
Here are the video links to both keynotes:
http://www.policyreview.tv/video/714/5605 (Martin Bean)
http://www.policyreview.tv/video/714/5607 (Ewart Wooldridge)
Post by Olaojo Aiyegbayo