Friday, 29 January 2010

Belfast Bound!

Last week Mark and I presented some of our observations from the ESCAPE Project at the University of Ulster eighth annual eLearning Conference. I had never been to Northern Ireland before and was excited by what I saw - it certainly challenged my preconceptions . Belfast is a vibrant town, new buildings and infra- structure projects were springing up everywhere - and there was a real energy to the city. The venue for the conference was the School of Art and Design. The campus consists of two buildings, one a turn of the century the other a much more modern one. The buildings are connected by a new covered walkway. They were really excellent learning spaces, well designed and resourced.

Our presentation, which we gave twice, looked at the background to the ESCAPE project and the wider assessment landscape. Mark spoke about the challenges of the project and how the extensive literature on learning and assessment should be informing teachers practice. I spoke about working with module teams and discussed some of the changes that teams had put in place as a consequence of working with ESCAPE. We also discussed the role Appreciative Inquiry played in the project .

On the way back to the airport the taxi driver took us to see the Thompson Graving Dock. This is where the Titanic, which was built at Harland and Wolf in Belfast, was brought and fitted out after she was launched.

I contrasted this with the the keynote address at the conference, where professor Paul Moore spoke about the changing technologies that we use and how they have influenced us, using an in car record player from his father ford Anglia to illustrate his point. He spoke passionately about the iPhone and contrasted this with his blackberry which he referred to as a " wheelbarrow for emails". His perspective was an interesting one and his excitement about the impending launch of the iPad was infectious. Paul felt that this device would have a huge influence on learning over the coming years - interesting times!
For those of you that have not realised - the flag at the top of the blog is that of the White Star Line, the shipping line that operated the Titanic.

1 comment:

Malcolm Ryan said...

Well done - great to be flying the ESCAPE flag as much as possible - looking forward to see you all next week when I visit. Maybe I'll get a chance to talk to some of the colleagues who have been involved in the project to date - be good to get their take on the transformational nature of the project.