Education/Newsletter/May 2017/WEPatACTC2017

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Educators in Asia gather to learn more about how technology can “Educate for Change”[edit]

Author: Nichole Saad

The Asian Conference on Technology in the classroom, organized by the International Academic Forum (IAFOR) “offers the chance for scholars and practitioners to exchange the latest ideas and approaches, attend workshops and interact with some of the biggest names in the field.”[1] This year’s theme was, “Educating for Change,” with the goal to explore how ever evolving technology impacts the education landscape from policy to the classroom.

Nichole from the Education Team and Liang from Wikimedia Taiwan presented an interactive workshop titled “How the Wikipedia Education Program benefits students, educators, and society.” The workshop plan and slides can be found on Wiki. The workshop began with an activity to gauge the audience’s prior knowledge of Wikimedia Projects. The participants were asked to stand in a circle and to step forward when a statement applied to them. When asked, “How many of you have used Wikipedia to search for information,” almost everyone stepped forward. Yet when asked, “How many of you have made an edit on Wikipedia,” only one participant stepped forward. Throughout the workshop, it was clear that the participants were excited about the idea of using Wikimedia projects in their classrooms, and we received inquiries throughout the rest of the conference from those who attended, and from those who did not attend but heard from others about the workshop.

The conference was also a great opportunity for us to learn about tools and trends in Ed Tech. Some of the main ideas and themes presented at the conference included augmented reality (AR), with keynote speaker Dr. Mark Pegrum speaking about how AR heritage quests helped improve students’ second language acquisition. Many presenters spoke of their research regarding 21st century skills, more specifically critical thinking and global collaboration.

One very interesting presentation from Adina Stan and Mahnaz Armat of the University of New South, Australia described a blended-learning course that aimed to teach students about global problems. The students use digital tools to learn about a specific global problem: anything from gender inequality to water scarcity. They work online in groups at first, and later in the course come together in real life to participate in an “Emergency Summit” where the teams represent a specific stakeholder’s views of the problem. They must synthesize what they’ve learned in a visual infographic without using digital tools, removing the “lifeline” of copy pasting. The infographics are not evaluated on their beauty, but on how well they represent the stakeholder’s role and view of the problem. This presentation was a great opportunity to mention Wiki Commons, and suggest that the best infographics be digitized and shared with the world, bringing the process full circle. The presenters were very interested in this idea.

Overall, this conference was a great opportunity for us to increase our reach and visibility in the Asia region. I also believe our community can learn from the research presented at the conference, and I encourage you to take a look at the abstracts of the conference submissions and contact the presenter if you want to learn more.

Tags: Conference, networking, Asia