Keynote Speakers

Our Keynote speakers are:


Wednesday 8 October 2008, am – Professor Diana Laurillard 

 Prof Diana Laurillard    

Prof Diana Laurillard is Professor of Learning with Digital Technologies at the London Knowledge Lab, Institute of Education.  Current research is in two related areas:  developing an interactive learning design tool to support teachers moving to blended learning and working with SEN teachers to investigate the design of software interventions for learners with dyscalculia and low numeracy.  In both cases the intention is to bridge the gap between teaching and educational research. 


Previous appointments include Head of the e-Learning Strategy Unit at the UK Governments Department for Education and Skills, the Visiting Committee on IT at Harvard University, Pro-Vice Chancellor for learning technologies and teaching at The Open University.  Her research is the substance of her book Rethinking University Teaching:  A conversational framework for the effective use of learning technology.  She is currently on the Boards of the Observatory for Borderless HE, the Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technologies at the University of Cambridge and the Council for FernUniversitat in Hagen, and is an external examiner at the University of Oxford.

Her recent publications include:


  • (2008) ‘The teacher as action researcher: Using technology to capture pedagogic form’, Studies in Higher Education, 33( 2), 139-154
  • (2008) Digital technologies and their role in achieving our ambitions for education, Professorial lecture, Institute of Education, University of London, ISBN: 0 85473 7022, 38pp.
  • With San Diego, J. Laurillard,D.,Boyle, T., Bradley, C., Llubojevic, Neumann, T. and Pearce, D (2008) 'Toward a user-orientated approach to learning design' ALT-J, 16 (1) 15-29.
  • Diana Laurillard (2007). Open teaching: The key to sustainable and effective open education, in Opening Up Education: The Collective Advancement of Education through Open Technology, Open Content, and Open Knowledge, Toru Iiyoshi and M. S. Vijay Kumar (eds), MIT Press, forthcoming.
  • (2007) ‘Modelling benefits-oriented costs for technology enhanced learning’ Higher Education, 54, 21-39.
  • (2007). Pedagogical forms of moblie learning: framing research questions, in Mobile Learning: Towards a research agenda, Norbert Pachler (ed), Occasional papers in Work-based Learning, I, WLE Centre, Institute of Education, London.
  • (2005) E-Learning in Higher Education, Diana Laurillard in ‘Changing Higher Education: The Development of Learning and Teaching', Paul Ashwin (ed), RoutledgeFalmer
  • (2005).  Harnessing Technology to personalise the learning experience in, Personalising Learning in the 21st Century, Chris Yapp & Sara De Freitas (eds), Network Educational Press.
  • (2003) Reusable educational software: a basis for generic learning activities, Diana Laurillard and Patrick McAndrew, in Reusing Online Resources: A sustainable approach to e-learning, Allison Littlejohn (ed), Kogan Page
  • (2002) Rethinking University Teaching:  A Conversational Framework for the effective use of Learning Technologies. 2nd edition. London: RoutledgeFalmer.


Visit Prof Diana Laurillard's Home Page


Wednesday 8 October 2008, pm - Marc Prensky

Marc Prensky is an internationally acclaimed speaker, writer, consultant, and designer in the critical areas of education and learning. He is the author of Digital Game-Based Learning (McGraw-Hill, 2001), the founder and CEO of Games2train (whose clients include IBM, Nokia, Pfizer, the US Department of Defence and the LA and Florida Virtual Schools) and creator of the sites and .   

      Marc Prensky

Marc has created over 50 software games for learning, including the world's first fast-action videogame-based training tools and world-wide, multi-player, multi-team on-line competitions. He has also taught at all levels. Marc has been featured in articles in The NY Times and The Wall Street Journal, has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, PBS, and the BBC, and was named as one of training's top 10 "visionaries" by Training magazine. He holds graduate degrees from Yale (Teaching) and Harvard (MBA).


Visit Marc Prensky's Home Page



Thursday 9 October 2008, am - Dr Mike Short

 Mike Short's Picture    

Mike is Vice President for R&D at O2 and is MDA Director responsible for Public Policy and MDA spokesman – Mike’s career spans 32 years in Electronics and Telecommunications, with the last 19 years in Mobile communications.  He was appointed Contracts Director of Cellnet in 1989 with multi-million dollar infra-structure investments and UK interconnect agreements.   In 1993 the focus moved to establishing Cellnet’s GSM service and was elected Chairman of the GSM Association for 1995/96 and served on the Executive Board for 5 years.  

Mike’s focus today is on Third Generation cellular, Mobile TV and steering O2’s Group Research and Development in mobile.  He also is a member of the UK Home Office Internet Task Force, OSAB (Ofcom Spectrum Advisory Board) and has been chairman of the UK Mobile Data Association since September 1998.  He was appointed VP Technology for O2 in 2000, Visiting Professor at Surrey University in 2003 and Board Member University of Coventry in 2006.

He is a Fellow of BCS/ RGS / CIPS and a member of IET and the Royal Television Society


About his keynote, "Communications - anywhere anytime" Mike says, "The Educational and Mobile worlds are converging. How will education and students make the most of mobility, `always on` access to internet and other relevant sources, and capitalise on the new input and output mechanisms that arise with more far reaching access to informations sources. How will creative development and tools of the future be used whilst the number of phones continue to be shipped at over one billion per year? What implications for teaching arise with increased mobility and access to broadband connectivity between home and school - are we reaching into a new learning environement?"


Thursday 9 October 2008, pm - Vanessa Pittard

Vanessa joined Becta in May 2004 as Director of Evidence and Evaluation after having spent two years leading the ICT Research and Evaluation team at the Department for Education and Skills (DfES), England.  At Becta she has led the development of a research and evaluation strategy in support of ‘Harnessing Technology’ and leads Becta’s work in the areas of strategic co-ordination and evaluation, innovation and leading edge developments, and benefit and impact of technology.

      Vanessa Pittard 

At the DfES Vanessa led the ICT Research and Evaluation Team, developing and managing a programme of national ICT and e-learning studies and supporting the development of the DfES Harnessing Technology strategy and ICT in schools and post-16 e-learning policy.  Prior to joining the DfES Vanessa led the Department of Communication Studies at Sheffield Hallam University. 


Vanessa will be talking about ‘Assessing the value of mobile learning:  the evidence challenge’




Friday 10 October 2008, am – Prof Yrjö Engeström

Prof Yrjo Engestrom     

Prof Yrjö Engeström is Professor of Adult Education and Director of the Center for Activity Theory and Developmental Work Research at the University of Helsinki. He is also Professor of Communication at University of California, San Diego, where he served as Director of the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition from 1990 to 1995. He is the Honorary Professor in the School of Education at University of Birmingham, UK. 

He works within the framework of cultural-historical activity theory. He is known for his theory of expansive learning. His work also involves the study of transformations in work and organizations, combining micro level analysis of discourse and interaction with historical analysis and modeling of organizations as activity systems working through developmental contradictions.


His research groups use intervention tools such as the Change Laboratory, inspired by Vygotsky’s method of dual stimulation, to facilitate and analyze the redesign of activity systems by practitioners. Prof Engeström's current research is focused on health care organizations, a bank, and a telecommunications company striving toward new forms of co-configuration and knotworking.


His recent books include Cognition and Communication at Work (edited with David Middleton, 1996), Perspectives on Activity Theory (edited with Reijo Miettinen and Raija-Leena Punamäki, 1999), and Between School and Work: New Perspectives on Transfer and Boundary Crossing (edited with Terttu Tuomi-Gröhn, 2003).  In 2005, he published the book 'Developmental Work Research: Expanding Activity Theory in Practice' (Berlin: Lehmanns Media). His new book 'From Teams to Knots: Activity-Theoretical Studies of Collaboration and Learning at Work' (Cambridge University Press) will come out later this year.


In his keynote, 'Wildfire Actvities: New Patterns of Mobility and Learning', Prof Yrjö Engeström of University of Helsinki will analylise new modes of learning, those that characterise emerging communities and networks of social production or peer production, as 'wildfire' learning, where the dominant movement is multi-directional swarming and pulsation.


This grows out of a conceptualisation of learning as movement in intellectual, discursive, social and physical space. Prof Engeström explores this in relation to traditional apprenticeship learning, where the dominant movement was centripetal, from periphery toward center of mastery and authority, and standardized mass production settings, where the dominant movement of learning is linear, from initiation to completion of an assignment, process, or career.


He will explore three examples of wildfire learning in his keynote, birding, volunteer disaster relief teams of the International Red Cross and skateboarding.


Visit Prof Engeström's Home Page