INTED2014, the 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference, Valencia, Spain 10-12 March, 2014
Cameron Dean and Tülin Süral
INTED2014 was held in the beautiful and picturesque city of Valencia with the participation of more than 600 participants from 75 countries world-wide. It was a valuable experience for us to be there and share our experiences with other educators in an international atmosphere.
The main topics were Innovations and Experiences in Education, the Impact of Technology in Education, E-Learning, Social Media in Education, MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Courses), Curriculum Design, Evaluation and Assessment and Research in New Trends and Academic Projects. The participants had the opportunity to discuss the latest developments in the field of teaching and learning methodologies, educational projects and innovations and new technologies applied to education and research.
The first keynote speaker was Stephen Downes from National Research Council of Canada. His talk examined how open online learning puts the control of learning into the hands of the learners, how educators will adapt with new learner driven pedagogies and curriculum design, and the technical infrastructure supporting personal learning in a community and cooperative environment.
The other keynote speaker was Pape Samb who serves as President and CEO of Exeleadmen and is a social entrepreneur specialized in international development. He discussed how to link education with entrepreneurship by transforming schools into experiential learning labs to promote dynamic interchange of ideas, shared learning, teamwork and innovation.
We also had chance to attend a few sessions on education, technology and innovation which generated thought-provoking ideas and highlighted the recent developments from different disciplines and cultures. Many of the sessions focused on the implications of social networking in education and how they can be utilized to further students’ academic and personal development in the context of a changing globalized society.
Digital Natives: Using Online Newspapers in Class.
My session was about the use of online newspapers in the classroom to promote an interest in reading and to motivate the students. In the first part of my presentation, I introduced the terms ‘Digital Natives’ ‘IGeneration’ and talked about the characteristics of our current generation of students, their changing needs and expectations and how they feel about reading. In the second part, the audience was presented with the reasons of using online newspaper articles and in the last part, I shared how I used an online newspaper article with my students in class as a reading practice activity.
Human or Machine: A Comparison of Test-Takers’ Attitudes Towards the IELTS and TOEFL IBT Speaking Sections
I presented in the final session of the conference, immediately before the cocktail party, which ensured my anxiety level remained high for the entire two days. Thankfully, some people were thoughtful enough to still attend and give me their attention in spite of the overwhelming draw of the liquid refreshments. My talk was focussed on an attitudinal study I conducted a couple of years ago, while still in London, into students attitudes towards the validity of these competing English exams. I explained how my interest had developed in this area and how I was curious to investigate whether exam anxiety necessarily equated to perceptions of a lack of validity. With the focus specifically on the speaking components of these exams, the study became oriented towards the question of technology and how human interaction or computer mediation affects these ideas of validity. It was a great learning experience to present in this international environment and as always it is encouraging and thought provoking to hear other educators’ challenges and solutions to the problems facing us in our classrooms.