I attended the JISC CETIS Conference 2006, which was held at The Lowry, Salford Quays on 14-15 November 2006. I found this to be a very stimulating event, which led to much discussions at the event and subsequently. A brief summary of the plenary talks is given below. Details of the workshop sessions are given in the following post.

The opening plenary talk was given by Bill Olivier, JISC (and formerly of CETIS), who spoke about the JISC and, in particular, plans for development activities. Much of Bill’s talk was familiar to me, and relates very closely to work I am involved in (and Bill made use of the Gartner’s hype curve with the ‘chasm’ which I also used in my workshop session). I was also pleased to hear Bill describe the two approaches to development: the traditional approach is based on identifying user needs, developing a strategy for addressing the needs and finally finding and then using the technologies which can be used to address the user needs. An alternative approach, however, is to recognise that there may be times when new technologies may be ahead of user awareness of limitations of existing processes. In such scenarios a bottom-up development approach may be applicable, in which an advocacy approach may be taken initially which can lead to a strategy for raising awareness of new possibilities, with demonstrators generating interest which can then lead to more widespread take-up of innovative solutions. This approach reflects the work I have been involved in during 2006, in raising awareness of potential benefits of Web 2.0. (It also, incidentally, reflects the approach I took during 1993 when I gave a number of presentations and workshop sessions in which I described to an initially sceptical audience, that the Web was not science fiction, but could actually be deployed within our institutions).

The second plenary was given by Ernest Adams on The Philosophical Roots of Games Design. Although I have very limited experience of computer game I found this a stimulating talk, not just for the insights described in the title of the talk, but also the subsequent discussions with my colleagues on the applications of this approach in other areas of development work.

The closing plenary talk was given by Jim Farmer who spoke about Blended Learning: Pragmatic Innovation. Jim began by mentioning a group of people in the UK who had been involved in innovative activities which he had raised within the development community in the US.It was very pleasing to hear that both myself and my colleague Paul Walk were mentioned 🙂

In brief, stimulating plenary talks, which helped to generate debate and discussions in the workshop sessions.Please note that the tag for the conference was ‘‘. Other postings about the conference which used this tag may be found using Technorati.