Closing Session of the EDEN 2024 Annual Conference in Graz

The closing plenary session concluded the successful EDEN conference on the topic of “Learning in the Age of AI: Towards Imaginative Futures”. The closing plenary was moderated by Sandra Kučina Softić, EDEN DLE Vice-president and as speakers joined chairs of the plenary sessions and the oxford debate: Josep M. Duart, EDEN DLE president, Kathrin Otler Cass, University of Graz, Austria, Wim Van Petegem, EDEN DLE elected president and Paul Prinsloo, University of South Africa, South Africa. Speakers reflected on the sessions they chaired, bringing out some conclusions, key points and messages that could be taken. 

Participants’ voice was heard through polls where they reflected on the conference and its topic. On the question of whether the education sector will be able to cope with and adapt AI solutions in shaping student-centred, open, inclusive and digital learning opportunities, 45.45% of participants replied that the education sector is already doing it, while 40.00% of participants stated that they may cope with it if they start now. 12.73% of participants said that institutions will not be able to cope with AI and that it is a lost battle, while 1.82% of them stated that there is no need for that as AI is a trend and will pass. 

We asked participants if they think, based on what they had heard during the conference, that AI should be integrated into education and 51.79% of them replied that they believe so and another 46.42% said that they already see its benefits. As one thing they will take away from the EDEN conference that is helping them to think about/work with AI in education, participants stated mostly words like caring, humanity, ethics, reflections, experiment and connections.

In the last question, participants were asked to give three examples of the role that AI will play in the next 5-10 years for university teachers and university students. Participants engaged actively and stated the use of AI in preparation of teaching – writing course proposals, writing content, supporting teachers in organising lectures and assessments, being teacher assistants and taking over administrative staff. For Students, participants stated that AI will help in providing efficient feedback, translations, help understand and summarize texts, help write papers and edit them and do research. 

The session was concluded with a big applause from the audience to the host of the EDEN conference – the University of Graz and Kathrin Otler Cass. The conference was closed with the announcement about the EDEN Research Workshop in Timisoara on October 16- 18, and the next EDEN conference to be held in Bologna, Italy, 15-17 June 2025.