On IOSTE Conference in Turkey (Oct 30 to Nov 1, 2013)

November 26, 2013
Joseph Maloba Makokha
Perga City Gate

Conference site: http://www.ioste2013.org/ 

The International Organization for Science and Technology Education (IOSTE) Eurasian Regional conference was recently held in Antalya, Turkey. The organization’s goal is to advance science and technology education as well as to provide scholarly exchange and discussion on this subject. Participants were interested in learning from experiences gained from using Tablets and Mobiles in teaching and learning here at Stanford. The recent "iPads For Learning Pilot" provided most of the content that was presented in the workshop on Tablets in Science and Technology education. This workshop also resulted in invitations to visit and speak with educators in other schools and colleges, leading to a trip to Ankara where an event with over 70 teachers was organized at Maya Schools - a private school and college. 

Apart from presenting at this conference, it also offered an opportunity to learn about trends in science and technology education in light of the current digital revolution; use of content - both textual and other forms, in classrooms and out in the field, and the implications on libraries which have traditionally provided access to most content; changing educational research needs, expectations and opportunities for scholars and libraries given new tools such as augmented reality, GPS-enabled mobile devices, cloud computing and others; networking with scholars and researchers as well as visiting some of the oldest sites in human history (see Perga profile link the bottom).

Here are a few questions arising from the conversation and session presentations that were attended:

1. Young scholars (who will be joining Stanford in the next few years) are increasingly accustomed to just on-time, context-aware information. Whether out in the field for science inquiry or online in the classroom/home, they now expect to find and access relevant information in styles deemed imaginary just a few years back. How will this impact the preparation and level of service that libraries provide to such future patrons?

2. The concept of the “living book” - where text/content is updated by both the author and the reader based on new information, seems to be gaining legitimacy as learners, researchers and the general public embrace the basic concepts of social media. The notion that anybody, and not just the author has a voice, and can contribute to public knowledge has been amplified by technology, especially the internet. If this concept continues to blossom, what implications might arise for content owners/authors, publishers and even libraries?

3. A few entities currently provide augmented reality content (this is computer enhanced information/data overlaid on physical objects or sites). Such additional data promises to compliment textual information on mobile devices in radical new ways. Given that such information is an extension of books/publications, would it not be great to have these services and corresponding data under the custody of libraries or other public entity? If so, what other types of information should we observe, and what infrastructure should we create in preparation?

4. Science and Technology education seem like a perfect fit for digital technology due to the nature of inquiry in these subjects. How can educators, researchers and librarians leverage the same technological affordances to support the humanities?

5. The overarching theme for Libraries from this conference was the shift in ways, methods and styles that students are using technology to conduct research. Do we need to pay attention to such shifts as we prepare for these future patrons, and to what extend can we prepare given the rate at which technology itself is changing?

In terms of educational research and scholarship, the interests and themes at the conference corresponded closely with those found at the Stanford Graduate School of Education save for slight differences in the measurement of outcomes, which seemed more diverse compared with the usual standardized testing commonly used in public schools. A great example of this was an non-profit funded Mobile Teaching Laboratory project in Switzerland, whose evaluation considers a wide range of factors not easily captured by student performance in a subsequent test.

The conference included a tour of the old town, a leather and jewelry factories, and Perga (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perga) the ancient Greek City.

Perge Ruins