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I present today at the European Distance and E-learning Network’s (EDEN) 6th Open Classroom Conference. The theme of the conference is “Real Learning in Virtual Worlds”. I have already learned some valuable things and will blog them throughout the conference, but here is one of my initial reactions.

I have sat through a few of the normal boring sessions, occasionally hearing the typical sweeping rhetorical fallacies such as “Video conference is more effective than face-to-face methods”; “Books are worthless and should be done away”; “ICT improves the effectiveness of learning”; and so on.

I suppose that since the jobs and livelihood of these people is tied to ICT in education that I should not be surprised to hear marketing jargon and messages like this instead of scientifically critical and contextualized statements – but I get weary of hearing them (including when they have come from me in the past).

As one example, the “no significant difference phenomenon” seems so well established with regard to media comparison studies that we really don’t need any more media comparison studies or statements. Rather, much more interesting and productive are discussions and experiments with novelties in pedagogy, educational ideologies and approaches (enabled through various media). Especially when they are contextualized to specific situations, assessed in the best way we know how, and published in an open and replicatable way.

  • What specific problems exist in previous teaching/learning situations?
  • How do the new approaches solve those problems?
  • What do we give up in exchange for these “solutions”?
  • Etc…

It would be unfair to say that every presentation has been uninteresting or stereotypical, and I have met quite a few people doing very interesting things, but I just wanted to vent my pet peeve. I’ll email more later about things I have learned and enjoyed.



On the positive (and somewhat random) side – (1) the sun was out all day yesterday, and (2) when I came to a cross-walk on a busy street in Stockholm I was pretty surprised when all the cars from both directions stopped so that I could cross. 🙂