I attended EdTech 2008 which was on yesterday and today in Dundalk Institute of Technology. A former Masters student of mine, Ronan Carty, presented a paper based on his dissertation entitled "Oideachas 2.0" concerning the use of Web 2.0 by Irish computer science lecturers, and future directions of Web 2.0. Ronan researched a range of learning and teaching theories, and surveyed over 100 lecturers on their views and usage of Web 2.0. Following this he developed a prototype learning environment that incorporates Web 2.0 Tools.
Ronan's presentation was really splendid, he took the audience through his research, discussing in detail some of the responses that the lecturers had given, he did this with great insight, critial thinking, and humour. After that he showed them his prototype learning environment which clearly wowed them. His system is built in AJAX and allows both teachers and students to configure their learning environment dynamically, excellent stuff! His disseration can be found here;
There were other excellent papers presented at EdTech 2008, including; Crystal Fulton's paper on blogging as a facilitator in the learning process, Namgyal Damdul's paper on developing an eXtreme Programming (XP) game, and Seamus Fox's paper on the measurement of the quality and efficiency of online teaching.
Conferences are also an opportunity to catch up with old friends, it was my great pleasure to meet up with Tim Savage who is in the Department of Computer Science in Trinity. I knew Tim as a lecturer on Trinity's Masters in IT in Education which I also taught on for a while, plus we both worked on a report commissioned by the Information Society Commission entitled "Innovation in Learning in the Information Society: A Comparative International Study". Tim is doing some really interesting research into Blended learning, and his work on Immersive Virtual Worlds looks very great.