Get ready for the Media & Learning 2024 Conference – Keynote and Workshop Previews

The Media & Learning 2024: Back to the Future? Conference will bring together educators, researchers, and innovators on 20-21 June to explore the latest trends in media and learning. This year’s conference features over 60 speakers and workshop leaders in 38 sessions, including 13 hands-on workshops. Here, we delve into the highlights of these inspiring talks and workshops.

Pre-conference workshops on 19 June

If you are planning to arrive in Leuven a day before the official program starts, make sure to sign up for two half-day pre-conference workshops scheduled for 19 June. The first session, running from 10:00 to 13:00 CET, will explore “Unlocking engagement: exploring social presence and telepresence in online learning,” Participants will gain actionable insights and strategies to foster meaningful interaction and engagement in online learning environments. Following this, from 14:00 to 17:00 CET, “Navigating educational multimedia: strategies for success,” will equip participants with practical strategies for enhancing multimedia content creation, fostering effective collaboration, and refining production processes to meet the needs of their institution. Participation in these workshops requires prior registration for the conference.

Keynote presentations: Day 1

On 20 June, during the opening plenary session, our keynote speakers will outline their views on what lies ahead for the Media & Learning community. We will consider where and how to best put our efforts into building inclusive, innovative, and effective learning opportunities for the students we serve.

Going digital. Staying human. Artificial intelligence and other Edtech challenges@KU Leuven

by Piet Desmet, Vice-Rector of KU Leuven, Belgium

The responsible use of multimedia and educational technology stands as a pivotal strategic imperative within the policy framework of KU Leuven. Under the banner of Going Digital, Staying Human, our institution is steadfastly committed to the seamless integration of technology in learning and assessment, alongside the digital transformation of our educational approach. Within this context, the integration of VR/AR/XR technology into simulation-based education emerges as a prominent focal point of our agenda.

It goes without saying that artificial intelligence represents the technological frontier that currently commands our foremost attention at KU Leuven, particularly in terms of its impact on our educational concept. From a realistic perspective, we explain why AI is crucial in empowering both the learner, the teacher, and the institution. We focus primarily on what AI specifically means for these three key actors in formal education. For the learner, this includes adaptive learning apps, open-ended tasks, and advanced forms of learner support. For the teacher, we address content creation, content recommendation, and classroom monitoring. Regarding the institution, we consider the monitoring of students at risk, student coaching, and the impact on administrative processes. We conclude with some reflections on what’s next, in which we pay attention not only to further application possibilities, but also to the valid concerns associated with AI in education (AIED).

Sensation, hype cycles and the struggle of HE to keep up with innovation technologies

by Amanda Murphy, Storyfutures, UK

This presentation discusses the benefits and challenges of XR in education at a time when AI has gripped the world and access to XR through increasingly democratised tools is radically changing how we interact with the real world. What does this mean for future generations and for universities seeking to integrate XR into the curriculum? How to disrupt old ways of teaching in order to seize the opportunities this transformational technology presents? It draws on the work of StoryFutures at Royal Holloway University of London where we developed cutting edge research & development programmes working with world leading industry partners to forge new models of industry facing challenge led research, and teaching programmes using a human-centred approach to inform best practice in inclusive innovation; and an interdisciplinary UK wide Train the Trainer initiative sought to build skills capacity in collaboration and partnerships with other HE institutes. It refers to a case study of StoryTrails developed an innovative participatory storytelling model using democratised tools, bringing industry and community partners together to address the digital public realm. While there is huge appetite for XR in teaching, there is much work to be done if we are to developing best practice guidelines, open source educational resources, standardised cost-effective tools and platforms for example. Research, collaboration, partnerships and inclusion sit at the heart of it.

When Machines Learn Too… A How and Why of AI

by Maarten Lamers, Leiden University, The Netherlands.

Learning unlocks intelligence. And for as long as we can oversee, learning was something uniquely human, or animal, just as creativity. But machine learning artificial intelligence enables machines to create pictures more realistically than we can, to compose songs in mere seconds, and to write texts about any topic imaginable. So, what is AI really, and broadly, how does it work? What role does machine learning play and are there limitations to its capabilities? In fact, why do we even have AI? Without going into technical depths, Maarten discusses the why and how of machine learning AI, and what it generally can and cannot do.

Keynote Speakers: Day 2

On 21 June, keynote speakers will highlight just some of the ways in which advances in learning technologies, AI and video can be used to improve the learning offer. Be prepared to hear about the very latest advances finding their way into the everyday offer of higher education institutions.

Education (Em)powered by Generative AI

by Lizzy Bleumers, Thomas More University of Applied Sciences, Belgium.

The ongoing advancements in generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) simultaneously evoke excitement, bewilderment and apprehension. And this is no different in the field of education. Much of the delight stems from GenAI-driven tools promising to save us time when creating educational resources. And while these certainly address a critical need, it is essential that we also consider how generative AI can uniquely promote the quality of learning, and what is needed to tap into this potential effectively and responsibly. In my presentation, I will share concrete examples of how GenAI is applied to optimize and transform educational media production and teaching practice, discuss the potential pitfalls we need to navigate, and reflect on how we can support competent GenAI use in education. These insights draw from the research in the (Em)powered by AI project, my colleagues and I are conducting at Thomas More University of Applied Sciences within the Sustainable Business and Digital Innovation Centre of Expertise.

Understanding the power of immersive technologies for enhanced student engagement and learning

by Gary Burnett, Loughborough University, UK.

Immersive technologies (such as virtual and augmented reality, mixed reality, hologram displays, etc.) have the potential to significantly enhance the engagement and learning of students – providing magical, gamified and memorable experiences that would otherwise be unsafe, impossible or expensive in real-world settings. Nevertheless, there are considerable challenges to maximise the benefits whilst minimising potential drawbacks in educational contexts. Professor Burnett has taught hundreds of students about immersive technology as avatars within fantastical virtual worlds and is also now exploring the use of advanced hologram technology in university environments. In this talk, he will outline the fundamental arguments for immersive technology and describe the research he has conducted in partnership with his students to understand how best to utilise immersion for enhancing and extending learning outcomes.

New Frontiers: The Convergence of Creativity, Technology, and Ethics in Learning

by Maya Georgieva, Innovation Center, XR, HCI, AI & Quantum Labs, USA.

This keynote will explore the future of learning at the dynamic intersection of creativity, technology, and ethics. As we stand on the cusp of a creative renaissance, we will dive into the profound impacts and opportunities presented by new media and emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Extended Reality (XR), and Quantum Computing.

These technologies are not merely tools; they are catalysts for innovation, pushing the boundaries of what it means to learn and create. We will showcase pioneering examples where technology amplifies creativity, fostering a culture of innovation that inspires new models of learning, student engagement, and resilience.

The talk will critically examine the ethical dimensions of integrating these frontier technologies into learning environments. We will discuss the imperative of maintaining privacy, ensuring equitable access, and fostering an inclusive learning atmosphere amidst these technological advances.

Workshops and Sessions

With a diverse range of sessions and workshops, attendees can enhance their skills and knowledge across various topics. From educational media skills to the use of 360° video and immersion technologies, there’s something for everyone to explore. Workshops include “AI-driven Multisource Immersive Educational Video Generation,” “The Power of Storytelling in Instructional Design,” and “Crafting Lesson Plans for Immersive Learning Experiences.” Curious to learn more? Check out the conference programme! ⤵️

Showcase Sessions and Networking Opportunities

The conference will spotlight outstanding examples of educational media, featuring finalists from the MEDEA Awards. Networking sessions will provide opportunities for fruitful discussions and encourage collaboration on different topics.

See you in Leuven!

Media & Learning 2024 promises two days of inspiration, with a diverse lineup of speakers, workshops, and sessions. Whether you’re a seasoned educator, a tech enthusiast, or a newcomer to the field, this conference offers a unique opportunity to explore the latest innovations and trends in educational technology. Join us in Leuven for a journey into the future of learning!

– The organising committee of Media & Learning 2024 – Back to the Future?