Starting 2008

Dear all, Can I begin by offering best wishes to all EDEN members and other users of this site for the New Year 2008. I hope you all enjoyed a good holiday and found time to refresh with family and friends before facing the challenges and opportunities of this coming year.

EC on board I would like to report on the outcomes of the Executive Committee meeting held in October, in a memorable event organised by our outgoing President Ingeborg Boe, on the Merchant Vessel Midnatsol travelling between Trondheim and Tromsoe in Norway. This gave the new Committee a chance to get to know each other well and build the team spirit and understanding that is so valuable in any organisation and more difficult to create in international contexts where we meet less frequently. The meeting was invaluable for me as incoming President and I hope this blog too contributes to such a spirit for EDEN as a whole.

Martine VidalAt that EC we elected a new Vice President Martine Vidal, who is Chargée de mission for research to The Rector, General Director of CNED, the Centre National D’Enseignement a Distance, based in Poitiers, France.

Martine and UliMartine has been particularly active in building our relations with the Sloan Consortium conference, which support EDEN’s role as an important European partner for innovative and flexible learning in the USA. Martine is also Editor of the CNED journal Distance et Savoirs, and has led in an activity which will result in a special the issue on Human Rights and Distance Education across 6 journals, including our own EURODL . Martine is a wonderful colleague to have as a Vice President, working as hard as she does for EDEN, and with the very active and well known Uli Bernath as the other VP, EDEN and I are very lucky to have such a strong team.

October also saw the Open Classroom Conference in Stockholm, led by former EC member Carl Holmberg of Swedish Agency for Flexible Learning and Nikitas Kastis, Chair of the Open Classroom Working Group, Lambrakis Foundation, Greece. This successful meeting of some 135 participants examined the issues around the new technologies and teacher development, and I was very pleased to be able to attend the final day.

We now look forward to planning the main EDEN conference for 2008 in Lisbon, 11-14 June to be precise – and the Executive Committee will meet in Lisbon in February with the colleagues from the Universidade Aberta to further develop our activities. The theme of the conference on ‘New Learning Cultures’ will provide the basis for serious discussion for all EDEN members from practitioner and academics and research backgrounds about the issues of cultural change and intercultural complexity in today’s learning environments. There will also be the chance for fun and conversation with the many EDEN participants in the beautiful city of Lisbon. I hope very much to meet you there.

I also want to mention for the Research Community in particular the meeting in Paris from October 20-22, 2008, in partnership with UNESCO, of our EDEN Research Conference. The main focus here will be on researching and promoting access to education and learning, and is again led by Vice President Martine Vidal. More about that soon.

Two last things to mention: firstly that the EDEN journal EURODL is looking for suggestions for themed issues: could suggestions be sent to me. And secondly that we will in the future open this blog up to other members of the EDEN Executive Committee so that we can as a whole engage with and be accountable to you, our members.

With all best wishes for 2008,

Alan Tait

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