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OCC2011 Keynotes: Costas Tsolakidis
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OCC2011 Keynotes: Costas Tsolakidis


DISTANCE LEARNING IN CRISIS: To be rediscovered… …


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  • 1. EDEN Open Classroom Conference Athens , 27-29 October 2011 Organised in collaboration with Ellinogermaniki Agogi
  • 2.  
  • 4. 1. CRISIS !!
  • 5. In Athens …
  • 6. In the rest of Europe and the world . . . Maybe not exactly so!!!!
  • 7. 1.1 WHAT IS A CRISIS? It denotes the presence of threat and instability in some or in all economic parameters. It is when the level of economic activity in a country dips down to dangerously low levels. Crisis is usually an economic crisis. It is: A negative and dynamic phenomenon. A compulsory and violent change A discontinuity A transient between two states The link between two different theories
  • 8.
    • Any such crisis has its own characteristics:
    •  Reasons (a combination of) G- I
      •  Size
      •  Duration
      •  Impacts
      •  Chances of recovery! (possibly)
    It brings changes in every part of life:  economic  social  political  moral
  • 9. Even d eveloped and rich countries feel the pinch of an economic crisis :
    • - Businesses and companies scale down and cut costs
    • Country records much lower growth rates
    • Governments issue deficit budgets
    • - People cut costs – Limited consumption
    • People become unemployed
    • Services suffer from degradation
  • 11. Social Changes Financial Changes – Competition Changes in attitude of contemporary people + Evolution of Information Technology Development of Communications Development of Technological Culture = Need for more knowledge – Wider knowledge Need for more specialization – Deeper knowledge Need for life long education and training – Continuous knowledge The situation up to now . . . More Subjects Specialization Lifelong Learning Volume of Education needed in society is increasing
    • Education a victim of economic crisis due to:
      • financial cuts
      • less staff
      • degradation of educational infrastructure
      • reduced research funding
      • Not enough investment in technology
    This is a world phenomenon, but the poorest countries are hit the most
  • 13. UNESCO “The global economic and financial crisis in 2008-2009 risks depriving millions of children of an education, in the world’s poorest countries. With 72 million children still out of school, a combination of slower economic growth, rising poverty and budget pressures could erode the education gains of the past decade. ….” According to Education International “ The crisis will affect all sectors, including education. Such worrying concerns are clearly expressed in the USA and Norway, but also noted by some other European countries”.
  • 14. However, in the “developed or developing” world, (State Education) even if education is short in funding in times of crisis, there could be a lot more demand for education – 2.2. POSITIVE EXPECTATIONS The reason is obvious : Good education and skills are crucial to improving a person’s economic and social prospects In other words education is necessary for anyone to show that she/he is well qualified so as to Find / keep a job
  • 15.
    • In fact , d uring an economic crisis, people usually:
      • E nroll in classes, tuitions , seminars, etc .
      • G o for multiple degrees.
      • I nvest in extra-academic courses ( language and computer courses )
      • Acquire non formal certification in various interests.
      • E nhance their CV’s and their real capacities in any way so that they are more likely to be eligible for jobs.
  • 16. To support the argument . . . .
    • In many countries – very much including Greece there is big need for
    • Tertiary education - Formal and non formal in service training - Any training
    17,0 Youth unemployment 11,5 People that did not finished high school 4,4 University Graduates Unemployment Rates in OECD Countries (2009)
  • 17. Tertiary level educational attainment for age group 25-64 As a percentage of the population in the corresponding age group 2006
  • 18. Percentage of increase of graduates (1999-2006) OECD 2009
  • 19. Expected hours over working life in all non formal education and in job-related non formal education 2007
  • 20.
    • Hence, during a crisis it is necessary to have at the same time:
    • More education of good quality
    • Less expensive education
    While these characteristics seem to be contradictory in traditional education, they seem to be compatible by adopting distance education and e-learning methods, which is both effective and efficient
  • 22. A Working Question Can DE satisfy the quality and cost criteria to improve education under the financial constrains that are imposed by the crisis? The quality and the cost of DE are to be discussed briefly In some cases, especially in the past, DE was met with preoccupation and prejudice as a second class education
  • 23. Distance Education (DE) Depends on Technology • It is a new approach to education Different philosophy In the past was used in circumstances that conventional Education (CE) could not be applied
    • Conventional Education (CE) :
    • Tradition and Reliability
    • Interaction between teacher and learner
    • Interaction of students with the teaching environment
    • Socialization
  • 24. Various studies were published indicating that results using DE are not any worse that results obtained using CE Apart from that one has to look at the basic theories for DE and to make some elementary thoughts about DE and CE
  • 25. Transactional Distance Theory (TDT)
    • Transactional Distance (TD) : Distance in understanding (psychological and educational) when there is a geographical distance
    • Transactional Distance = Potential Misunderstandings
    In Education there is always a transactional distance Teachers and educational institutions must try to bridge – to reduce- TD if a substantial and good quality education is to materialized. Transactional Distance is a pedagogical concept
  • 26. Transactional Distance = f ( Dialogue , Structure , Autonomy )
    • The careless student and the unprepared teacher
    • The face to face teaching in a large amphitheatre
    • The reading of a book
    The TD can be bridged by manipulating mainly the dialogue of the course (the most researches have shown that only dialogue is significantly correlated to distance)
  • 27. ANTICRISIS CHARACTERISTICS OF DISTANCE LEARNING Sustainable S Interactive I Self directed S Individualized I Recognized R Convenient C Inexpensive I Technology based T New Methodology N Adult friendly A
  • 28. Cost Infrastructure _ Buildings Transpotation - commuting Personal Computers Internet connection The cost issue Infrastrucure Equipment Electr. appl. Staff Material DE      CE      No of learners TE DE No of learners Cost CE DE
  • 29. 4. CONCLUDING . . .
  • 30. The crisis is a messenger of change. The pain for the crisis is a pain of birth. Next stage could bring better conditions if . . . To minimise the effects of the crisis: Productivity, Innovation, Use of technology are needed to form a protective shield Theses qualities are inherent and embedded in the DE methods and techniques The crisis affects education in Europe and the world.
  • 31.
    • New courses should be defined so that the financial life of the establishments can be tuned up with the needs of society
    • 2. Distance Education providers should refocus on the existing and prospective target groups as they emerge from the new conditions
    • 3. Invest in technology as infrastructure, medium and subject
    DE is not panacea, is a promising path to achieve more education with low cost How?
  • 32. In Greece the system is centrally run it is easy to institutionalise and to apply DE methods (teacher training etc) All of the above can be developed on a substrate of the country’s: a. communication infrastructure b. ICT penetration to society As technology evolves, the capabilities are improving resulting in changes in attitude. Social Networks What is needed is pedagogical research in class application of DE
  • 33. We discussed a few proposals on how education can be transformed to tackle the crisis. We pointed out the dynamics of distance education that can possibly offer solutions to problems of education What about other sectors in life? How can they tackle the crisis? Distance Education can offer new ideas in methodology and a new paradigm to other disciplines so that they can find their own “Distant Education” methods
  • 34. What we actually need: A fresh look on the basic ideas and standards of education A reorganization of the beaurocracy of education Application of distance learning on more levels of education We need daring policies for Distance Education An open and adaptive attitude towards DE As to learn how to learn And this is a lot!!
  • 35. PSERIMOS A small island in the Aegean ~ 30 Inhabitants
  • 36.  
  • 37. Tuesday 16 June 2009 From the last Teacher Every pupil and every teacher has left in this classroom a part of her soul. . . These parts form a sweet story that I hope will not be forgotten. Joy
  • 38.
    • ADSL Connection
    • Installation of a small lab – 4PCs and accessories
    • 3 students and 3 other inhabitants were trained in ICT use in face to face sessions and at a distance
    An Initiative by The Southern Aegean local authorities and University of Aegean: The Ministry of Education was asked to allow the students to attend high school from a neigbouring island using DE There was a negative response The University of Aegean continues to teach the students of this island English using DE methods. An example
  • 39. Thank you very much !