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Flexible learning conference an opportunity to ‘get real’


Flexible learning conference an opportunity to ‘get real’ about education.

New Zealand educators from the compulsory school and tertiary sector are gathering to better understand what flexible learning means for New Zealand teachers and students.

Last year’s Bett Asia global edtech summit in Kuala Lumpur suggested emerging technologies like augmented reality and artificial intelligence are making their way into the classroom. However, local headlines suggest resistance and confusion around the roll-out of flexible learning spaces and the use of digital devices in the classroom. So, what technology applications and approaches are working for New Zealand’s educators?

“New Zealand educators face major constraints in the development of flexible learning”, says Ralph Springett, President of the Flexible Learning Association of New Zealand. “For some it is the infrastructure or hardware, for others it is teacher or student capability and teaching approach. For many it can be overwhelming. There is no silver bullet.”

Providing a flexible learning experience can be daunting with digital tools and services evolving quickly and schools, institutions, teachers and students having different needs and wants. The shift in education practice using technology touches every part of the system, from the physical environments to the media students produce.

“Educators need to share their insights about what actually works”, says Springett. The FLANZ conference will discuss near future education practices and current research as well as debate longer term futures, such as the use of artificial intelligence for education “Without events like this the ‘what can I try next year?’ question is hard to answer”, says Springett. “We hear about the possibilities all the time - but we need to deal with the reality of now.”

The FLANZ18 conference runs from 09 - 11 April at Massey University, Palmerston North. Guest Speakers include Professor George Siemens and Professor Mark Brown. The winner of the 2018 FLANZ Award will be announced at the conference dinner. Further information can be found online at www.flanz2018.org.nz.
ENDS

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