Project Director Mark Adams delivers his lecture at the University Partnerships Conference.
From November 12- 15th the University of North Texas in collaboration with the US Department of State held its annual University Partnerships with Pakistan and Afghanistan Conference in Denton, Texas. With over 19 University partnerships between the US, Pakistan and Afghanistan the gala event included various presentations centered around International Cooperation through technology in various fields in education including distance, linguistics and other forms of curriculum development. In an effort to showcase just a small portion of the groundbreaking work that is being done in the realm of distance education, the PDEEP grant team had the privilege of sending its own Project Director Mark Adams to network and share the 2015 Innovation Plan and Strategy the PDEEP Project has used thus far to develop distance education capacity at AIOU.
As part of the main conference, the U.S. State Department asked Director Adams to address “The Challenges and Rewards of Technology,” and he choose three components–MOOCs, OER, and LMSs– that together represent a “new world” of opportunity. First, the implementation of MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Courses), when done with high touch, allows for larger numbers of students to access vocational training given the scarce resources in many regions in Pakistan. Second, making use of quality OER ( Open Educational Resources) and learning websites and materials accessible online for free. Third, the implementation of an LMS ( Learning Management System) that makes it possible to effectively use MOOC’s and OER with many more students by enabling accessibility.
In terms of the PDEEP project goals, Mark explained the urgent need for innovation in education. As one example of this idea during his lecture Mark noted an important piece of technology being developed by Zaya Labs called the “Classcloud”. The inexpensive Classcloud is essentially a 2TB hard drive connected to a wireless router, creating a portable, battery operated, router-cloud of customizable OER data that allows multiple users to simultaneously connect to it wirelessly without the necessity of the internet or constant power supply–overcoming two immense hurdles found in the context of Pakistan’s rural provinces. Rewards of innovation like this are immense, but the implementation requires the willingness to accept risk. “We must have the courage to dream big and implement quickly, and that’s exactly what the PDEEP partnership with AIOU is all about,” Adams said. “You could find no better partner in innovation than SJSU.”
For more information on the conference please see the UNT website here
and for more information of the class cloud please click here