Online Educa Berlin, or just OEB, has become a pre-Christmas tradition for tech enthusiasts and learning specialists in higher education. It's a great place to get a feel on the big trends in education.
For everyone who wasn't there, here are four statements made from the main stage that sum up the agenda of this years conference.
Social entrepreneur Mike Feerick puts into perspective why we should embrase education technology:
“Today, 7% of the worlds population has attended college. The current discussion is how we can increase that to 8% with the same method as we previously have. If we use technology, then we can multiply that number several times at the same cost.”
This year's keynote speaker was learning futurist Elliott Masie, who kicked off by putting lifelong learning on the agenda:
“When educators talk about learners, we tend to talk about them - the students. We shouldn’t be talking about them. We are all learners.”
It's tradition to have a two-on-two debate on the mainstage. This year's statement was "learning is always fun", and on they nay-side, author Alex Beard summed up with great precision:
“I don't think learning is fun in itself. The one thing that really does make you learn is hard work. Hard work works. Though, it may be easier to work hard when you’re engaged.”
Alex' message really ressonates with us; we think engagement that motivates your students to work hard on the subject matter is something any educator should strive for.
Economics professor Bryan Caplan is best known for his somewhat provocing book The case against education: why the education system is a waste of time and money. In short, his book states that higher education isn't really preparing you for work life, and that we should rethink the entire system.
On stage, Caplan took a swing at e-learning and MOOCs (massive online open courses):
“Ten years ago, they said traditional education institutions will be dead soon. It didn’t happen, and they won’t be any time soon. Because students don’t care for learning - they care about jobs, career and money”
His presentation probably got more nodding and head shaking than any other at the conference.