International conference looks to the classroom of the future

29 June 2012

Interactive worktables, robots and collaborative learning on mobile devices are close to becoming a reality in Australia's classrooms.

Such revolutionary educational approaches are the focus of this year's International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS) which is being held for the first time in the Asia-Pacific region at the University of Sydney.

At the conference, 300 of the world's leading researchers will converge from 2 to 6 July to present the latest findings on innovative learning experiences.

The conference is hosted by the University of Sydney's Centre for Research on Computer Supported Learning and Cognition (CoCo).

At the heart of the ICLS discussions will be fundamental research into how people learn.

Among the groundbreaking developments on display will be research from the University of Tokyo's Naomi Miyaki, a pioneer in the development of educational robots.

In a symposia presentation, Miyaki will discuss how people build trust relationships with robots in the hopes of utilising them as partners in learning for life.

The University of Sydney's Judy Kay, professor of computer science, will also present a keynote speech on her research into interactive tables and wall displays that may be used to foster early childhood learning as well as to help elderly computer users.

International speakers include Pierre Dillenbourg (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), Manu Kapur (Singapore's National Institute of Education), and leading Learning Sciences pioneer Janet Kolodner (USA National Science Foundation, Georgia Institute of Technology).

Professor Michael Jacobson, Chair of the ICLS and professor of education at the University of Sydney, believes Australian schools are uniquely poised to take advantage of such learning science developments.

"A lot of the ICLS research findings could be very well adapted in Australian schools once we have the appropriate infrastructure," he said.

"We have an advantage with the new national curriculum currently being rolled out. Along with the Federal Government's 'Digital Education Revolution' and the increased internet capabilities from the National Broadband Network (NBN), this will make it easier for Australia to benefit from new learning and technology developments."

Contact: Jacqueline Chowns

Phone: 02 9036 5404, 0434 605 018

Email: 582313254252031c2b0748255d2c4e1439073515265b372b451d0f0258570f