As part of the panel discussion we also had the chance to get out into the audience and chat with people as they were brainstorming the key educational issues they faced, inspired by our initial panel discussion. I had talked earlier about the convergence of technology between different domains (I don't come from an e-learning background, but we are all starting to use the same tools for communication and collaboration) - as I got out into the crowd I heard this reflected in two key issues that are common across educational and business domains:
- Technology can't solve every educational problem; and
- Don't blame the technology if it fails, as its only as good as its fit for purpose and how well you use it.
People in the room also highlighted the issue of keeping up with technology developments and the impact of different levels of IT literacy in their students. My point was that we shouldn't assume issues with IT literacy is just a generational divide and the panel agreed that this is also an issue in the workplace, both in terms of training and rolling out new systems. And to keep up with the pace of change, the panel's recommendation was to embrace the ideas of Web 2.0 and to tap into the wisdom of the crowds, rather than trying to do everything on your own.
Unfortunately I didn't have the chance to hang around and talk for long due to some conflicting appointments, but it would have been interesting to discuss further the commonality between the problems educators are grappling with around the use of new technologies and those I am seeing in the workplace.
BTW I was also impressed with the way the conference organisers had embedded the use of social media tools into the even, such as a flickr photo stream and Twitter. The nice thing is that the Twitter stream was running in the background on a big screen at the back of the stage so everyone could see the comments and I believe I heard mention of a 'Twitter booth' so that anyone could send a tweet.