EdMedia + Innovate Learning 2020 Online: Interview Keynote Speaker Lesley Gourlay

The EdMedia conference is happening – alas virtually – this week from June 23-26. The program contains four keynotes as part of the conference. Keynotes are a great way to connect with experts in the field and learn about current, cutting-edge research. Lesley Gourlay is giving a keynote titled: Digital “Wayfaring” in the Posthuman University. Her keynote will take place on Thursday, June 25th at 2:30 pm CEST.

Have you attended AACE conferences in the past? What is your connection to this community?

I attended EdMedia in Hawaii back in 2009, which was a very interesting conference as it was the early days of MOOCs. I particularly enjoyed Tara Brabazon’s talk, which was refreshingly critical and original. In the intervening years I have tended to speak at a range of conferences in the UK and Europe across different fields of research, which reflects my work. I have presented at Ed Tech conferences such as Networked Learning, but also Higher Ed conferences such as Society for Research in Higher Education. I like to mix it up.

What do you see as the future of research for digital knowledge practices?

My vision for research into digital knowledge practices is that it continues to develop theoretically and methodologically, in order to broaden its scope and learn from other areas of the social sciences and humanities. In my field of digital higher education, I think there are several areas of particular interest currently, such as learning analytics in relation to surveillance studies, and the effects of ‘unbundling’ the university.

What do you enjoy most about your current job?

Having the freedom to pursue ideas, also supporting my doctoral students. Learning from others in the rich intellectual environment of UCL Institute of Education. I also love networking internationally, but of course that is not really possible at the moment.

What does your current home office work space look like?

Basically my ‘office’ these days consists of my MacBook Pro, which I use in different areas of the house. I don’t have a desk at home, but I’m ok with that. I’ll be doing my keynote at the dining table with the laptop perched on a pile of books…

Is this your first virtual keynote? How do you plan to connect with your audience?

This will be my second, I did a virtual keynote for the Networked Learning conference last month. We used Adobe Connect and I included several opportunities for the participants to give comments and questions throughout using the chat feature, so I’ll be hoping to do that this week, if the technology allows it. I also have a little drawing task planned, if people are willing to give it a try!

What are some of the practical strategies to use digital knowledge practices in educational settings?

Good question! I’m actually working with colleagues at UCL Institute of Education right now on a values-based framework for digital education, and we’ve talked a lot about how practical strategies should always be based on educational values and principles, rather than seen as a set technical ‘solutions’. We are proposing that digital education should be inclusive, questioning, connected, and developmental. The last point we feel is particularly important, as it focuses on academic staff and recognises that practices are always contingent, and also that teaching in digital formats is very demanding and requires strong support and recognition – a very important point to bear in mind during the Covid-19 crisis.

What key insights do you hope attendees will take away from your keynote?

I hope it will allow them to think differently about how the fine-grained detail of digital engagement plays out in the day-to-day life of students. I’d also particularly like people to come away with a different idea of what we mean when we say something is ‘linear’.



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