ABEL Summer Institute looks at how educators are breaking new ground

 The Advanced Broadband Enabled Learning (ABEL) program is hosting its 2008 Summer Institute, titled "Breaking New Ground: Designing Learning Landscapes", from Aug. 18-20 at York’s Keele campus with keynote speakers Professor Chris Dede of Harvard University and George Siemens, founder and president of Complexive Systems Inc., a learning lab that assists organizations in developing integrated learning structures.

Left: George Siemens

Siemens, associate director, research and development, of the Learning Technologies Centre at the University of Manitoba and author of Knowing Knowledge (Lulu.com, 2006), will talk about "Designing New Learning Landscapes: The Role of the Learner, the Teacher and the System" on day one of the Summer Institute. He will share insights into emerging learning landscapes and provide practical advice on how to build teaching and learning strategies that reflect this new terrain for learning, followed by a question and answer period.

Dede’s talk on day two, titled "Immersive, Collaborative Simulations and Neomillennial Learning Styles: Implication for Teaching and Leadership", will look at how emerging interactive media are shaping users’ motivations, attributes and social patterns into types of learning styles quite different than those based on sensory, personality or intelligence factors.

Right: Chris Dede

"Neomillennial learners seek educational situations that interweave face-to-face interactions with shared virtual experiences across distance and time," says Dede. This session will demonstrate examples of game-like, immersive, collaborative simulations and will discuss implications of neomillennial learning styles for teaching and leadership. Dede is interested in expanded human capabilities for knowledge creation, sharing and mastery that emerging technologies enable.

This year’s ABEL Summer Institute (ASI) looks at how educators are breaking new ground when they use their instructional intelligence to effectively leverage leading-edge technologies for student learning in their classrooms and professional growth in their own lives. In doing so, educators are also designing new educational landscapes in which to engage students and opening new pathways to knowledge and achievement for their students and themselves.

The ASI is a self-directed exploration of the 21st century educational landscape and an opportunity for both teachers and students to break new ground together. It offers a range of informative presentations and hands-on workshops in a green and environmentally-friendly atmosphere of learning.

The delegates will develop new strategies for teaching and learning that use leading-edge pedagogy, authentic curriculum applications and technologies that support collaboration, engagement and interaction.

In addition to promoting a greater appreciation of the significance of job-embedded learning and collaborative communities for teachers and students, the ASI hopes to heighten awareness of how technological tools and resources enrich classroom learning and increase student engagement. The ASI is also encouraging greater sharing of individual interests and concerns, classroom successes and failures in a supportive and collaborative community. One of the goals of the ASI is to expand opportunities for delegates to reflect as individuals, to share as school teams, to shape new learning landscapes and to benefit from ongoing professional learning.

The ASI is promoting an earth-friendly conference by using recycled content for its promotional products, offsetting its carbon footprint by purchasing trees to replace all conference materials, reducing waste on catered lunch and snacks provided, and ensuring recycling bins are available. As well, the ASI is using bullfrog powered green electricity, which is sourced exclusively from wind power and low-impact hydro producers.

For more information and a complete list of workshops, visit the ABEL Summer Institute Web site.