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Digital Education team blog


Ideas and reflections from UCL's Digital Education team


What do you get if you cross a hack artist with education?

Matt Jenner31 January 2011

You get something like Evan Roth who is an interesting man to search for on Google and possibly the most disruptive man to present at the recent Learning Without Frontiers conference in London, Janurary 2011.

Evan can be described as an urban hacker or a graffiti artist who doesn’t paint on walls (in fact he finds this boring). His past projects include making modifications to US Mail, undetectable to the majority but a way of his message being distributed across the nation via a hack. His point isn’t to mess with systems, instead he just wants to look at it from a different angle.

Take for example, the White Glove Tracking experiment shows the power of crowdsourcing. Evan took the video of Michael Jackon’s Billy Jean sung live on TV. The video was split into 10,060 frames and then an audience of individuals tracked where Michael’s trademark white glove was on each frame. After the data was collected people were then invited to use it for their creative purposes, this included many different visual effects or indeed artistic interpretations of the dancer’s movements from this single, collective data source.

What does all this mean for education? Well quite a lot actually, it is exactly this kind of action which started some of the biggest industries in the world. The Film industry was born out of video piracy (a long time before the internet), the music industry is much the same. The publishing industry is very similar, interesting and tangled. What of the education industry? Surely we have only just got started…


How can technology transform education?

Matt Jenner31 January 2011

Lord David Puttnam talked at the Learning Without Frontiers conference in January 2011. He asked the question ‘how can technology transform education?’ and ‘Why are we still using victorian teaching practises where we are seeking the same result but (with technology) a little faster?’, in summary he argues we must regain or “retain the trust of the younger generations and we must engage with their world and we need to learn to view technology in their eyes and to see it as transformative, not simply an add-on.”

Lord Puttnam talks on the future of the creative and digital industries and how must not abandon technology and instead  embrace technology and what will the world look like in 2025?

Watch the full video (24 minutes) here: