ECEL 2016 Keynote Speakers

Keynote Outlines

The following are outlines for the Keynote Speeches which will take place at ECEL 2016.

Mathematics Education in the Digital Era

Michèle Artigue, University Paris 7, France

The developments in technology have had an impact on many aspects of learning and teaching practices. However, due to the specific relationships between mathematics and computer sciences, mathematics education is has been particularly affected. Both its content and forms are challenged by the technological evolution. Since the emergence of computer technologies there has been much research and innovation to address these challenges. In this presentation, I will briefly review the history of these efforts before discussing the potential offered by current knowledge and experience to cope with the current challenges to mathematical education posed by the new digital era. This involves looking at new educational conditions, resources, affordances and responsibilities.

The use of Brain-Compatible Learning in an e-Learning Environment

Johan van Niekerk, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa

Brain-compatible learning is an approach to education which is based on the underlying ‘biology of learning’ instead of ‘simply following traditional practices’. This educational approach stems from a combination of neuroscience and educational psychology and was first made possible by advances in brain imaging during the 1990’s. Brain-compatible learning is not a formalised education approach or ‘recipe for teachers’, instead it provides a ‘set of principles and a base of knowledge and skills upon which we can make better decisions about the learning process’. While the effectiveness of education based on brain-compatible learning principles have been proven in a classroom environment, very little knowledge exists regarding its use in an e-learning environment. This presentation provides a brief overview of brain-compatible learning principles and then demonstrates how these principles can be used in an e-learning environment.

Opportunities and Threats in Introducing Educational ICT for Cognitive and Personal Development of Students

Stanislav Štech, Czech Republic

Modern educational ICT represents a new tool for managing knowledge and learning to influence thinking. Although ICT can provide new opportunities, it can also lead to the discontinuity of previous mental functioning. The relation between tool, object of an activity, its goal and its meaning has been the subject of much research (Vygostski, Engestrom, Rabardel, Cole, Kozulin etc.). This research has helped us understand the possible impact of the current digital education wave. The presentation will focus on following issues: Digital education has the potential to become a practical tool in information processing (easy searching, classification, clustering) and in modelling some learning content and settings – and to be much more effective than learning without ICT. However, the stored information itself doesn´t represent knowledge. Knowledge is a final result of activities from the learner, involving other people as well as everyday and formal (conceptual) cognitive and personality pre-requisites. To give an example: the best use of a foreign language dictionary is that of a man knowing the language well enough to be able to select the information given and to anticipate “what he/she has to seek“. The capacity of anticipation seems to be crucial in the use of ICT as well. Some applications of ICT in education ignore this difference and tend to present new digital elements as “products” to students, the “process“being eclipsed behind the scenes. This means that the positive role of some algorithms, elementary memory operations, useful errors etc., and their contribution to more complex knowledge activities (task resolution, problem solving, and creative solutions) seem to be ignored. It appears that the effective use of ICT for learning requires demanding psycho-didactic analysis. From the point of view of the curriculum structure, it is important to consider the subject matter based on the knowledge of cognitive and developmental psychology so as to avoid some pitfalls. For example, conceiving ICT implementation as a playful amusing activity without overcoming the obstacles of the cognitive work necessary for conceptual knowledge, or the ill-conceived use of ICT with regards to age and level of expertise of individual students. Such analysis has to precede any curricular design reform if we want to speak about a successful digital education era.