New academic year ahead

The summer holidays are well and truly behind us and working life is busy as ever! I had a very good break and the only academic thing I did was to assess a PhD thesis from the Allama Iqbal Open University of Pakistan. Otherwise it was a wonderful break with family.

News from EDEN is that the Open Classroom conference in Oporto in October has attracted considerable attention, with over 60 papers and workshop submitted, resulting good expected attendance. A huge vote of appreciation is owed to Antonio Teixeira of the EDEN Executive Committee and the Open University of Portugal. This conference organised every two years for the last 10 years is hugely important. The school classroom could be recognised in many aspects for what it is by a visitor from 150 years ago. Of course many progressive changes have been made, and in many countries, certainly including the UK. ICT has been installed and plays a role in the learning and teaching strategies of the school. These allow the school to break the boundaries of its immediate physical base, and of the range of knowledge and understanding of its staff. However, the process of learning in schools is undergoing fast change as it has done in other sectors.
As a result of this, enquiry and scholarship have become core activities in almost all fields. The new technologies have played an extraordinary part in liberating knowledge from the locally produced and managed to the universally available with contributions from around the world. Enquiry, supported by scholarship in the broader sense, thus stands at the heart of human activity. It is now a form of activity in its variety of far wider interest than just the world of the University. Firstly it has over the last 30 years spread down through the age groups and across organisational types. While 30 years ago enquiry in the sense of independent, even if supported, research was primarily restricted to postgraduate work in universities, it has now spread into baccalaureate or undergraduate degrees, and further into schools, as important practice that learners need to master. As importantly, enquiry supported by scholarship has now spread to all sorts of organisational roles and at all sorts of levels. Supporting the learner demands the development and enhancement of these scholarly skills.

The EDEN Executive Committee also meets during the Oporto conference, and we will take the opportunity not only to take forward the business of planning the major events that EDEN supports, but also to step back and take a strategic look at what EDEN does and how it should work for its members and supporters. The core of our role is to support the professional development of those who work in our field across Europe. Your comments before we meet would be very welcome. Please use this blog to feed back.


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