Enabling our students for a digital future

Enabling our students for a digital future is the theme for the Adobe Education Leadership Forum – I’m here as a guest of Adobe NZ.  First time at a corporate occasion like this and I’m enjoying the slick organisation and hospitality.  I guess the aim is to encourage ‘decision makers’ like myself to have Adobe products in the foreground when it comes to purchasing learning technology software.  Not a problem for me as I’ve used Photoshop for most of its 20 years – it is the application’s 20th birthday this year ! – and Acrobat, Dreamweaver, Flash, etc for many elearning and digital media purposes.

My daughter is 21 and has basically grown up with Photoshop – using it in much the same way as I use email, Word or a web browser to think and create visually.  I think about this while listening to the first keynote “Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black of A Graphic Designer’s Life” from Freeman Lau,Vice Chairman, Board of Directors, Hong Kong Design Centre. Freeman shows screen after screen of amazing designs from hos own portfolio and students, colleagues etc who work with him – including his own daughter. The thrust is that graphic design has come of age as a profession – an industry supporting many aspects of the knowledge economy and very important in Hong Kong.

Now for Stephen Wilson, CIO, New South Wales Department of Education and Training on “Creating the Right Learning Opportunities for Students of All Ages” – gotta be careful here remembering Leigh Blackall’s comments last time I was at an e-learning conference in Sydney 🙂 – but will be interesting to see how a large scale implementation of digital learning has been implemented across a state school system.  Mobile learning is a main thread here – every student years 9-12 in NSW schools (approx. 200,00) with a wireless laptop (why not an iPhone or iPad ?) – mobile learning is “just like electricity” ….  Education has progressed from ‘tell’ to ‘discover, create and share’ – well, yes.  I think I would like to ask a question about the central monitoring of the wireless network and what ‘filters’ the DET has in place to control the learning environment … but perhaps I will leave that for discussion at dinner tonight 🙂

WIll also be thinking about the themes for me of this conference – Ritzer’s McDonaldization thesis (disrupting rationality through the spectacularly irrational),  the clash between the virtual and the real as explored in Up in the Air (a recent movie starring George Clooney that I watched on the plane coming over – quite good actually), and the tension between ‘open’ and ‘closed’ technologies as discussed in Jonathan Zittrain’s Future of the Internet.  More about these as the 2 days unfold.

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