DisCo Conference has become one of the most important conferences, if not the most important conference focused on technology in education in the Czech Republic. The program encompasses new trends in education from various international perspectives and through the lens of diverse education sector stakeholders. It follows the paradigm shift of pedagogy: systemic change leading to more individualized education, enabling the students to study autonomously whenever possible and provide them with suitable tools and necessary freedom.
DisCo program is full of new trends and experiments in education, often supported with only initial data from their testing, which enables the speakers to share with the audience the latest findings and suggestions. As it is organized in a rather informal way, it enables the participants to network easily and discuss the topics together.
13th international conference DisCo 2018: Overcoming the Challenges and the Barriers in Open Education was organised in June 2018 by the Centre for Higher Education Studies and West Bohemia University
The outcome of the Conference – Almanach – is published in WoS.
For the second year now, the Conference is taking place at the premises of Microsoft – and this provides the participants with very special insights from its functioning.
What was the challenge intended to be addressed? Why? What did work well? What did not work well? What have been the main achievements? How did you evaluate its success? What has been the change brought by this good practice?
The challenge is to effectively connect people from different sectors (HEIs, business, public sphere, NGOs). Our conference works as a good connecting platform with a family-like and friendly atmosphere.
In the past, the problem was to find a long-term partner for cooperation from the business sector, however it appears that Microsoft has been a good solution.
We collect feedback from the participants and it has been positive and they tend to return.
We have built a community for exchanging good practices about using ICT in education and several projects were started as a follow-up of this conference.
What are the enabling conditions (e.g. institutional, economic, social/cultural, regulatory) that needed to be in place or played a facilitating role for the good practice to be successful?
Possessing a personal passion and a positive attitude is crucial when organizing this kind of event. Public funds for participants should be open (EU Funds, they can present a project results in the conference, CEI funds for travel costs of CEI participants). A good option is when business partners offer you some financial or non-financial support (e.g. venue or conference materials). Business partner has to see clear benefits for the company (establishing business contact with HEIs, or promotion of their brand(s).
What are the challenges, barriers or limiting factors encountered? How have they been addressed?
Sometimes our HEIs are not ready for ICT applications that are already common in Western Europe. The lack of public funding, e.g. when EU funds have finished and therefore HEIs did not obtain money resulted in lower numbers of participants.
Feasibility & Sustainability
What are the elements that need to be put into place for the good practice to be sustainable (institutionally, socially, economically, etc.)? If applicable, indicate the total costs incurred for the implementation of the practice. What are the benefits compared to total costs?
The costs of this project are around 20 000 euro per year. Diversifying the sources for funding and identifying and maintaining various partnerships is an important success factor.
Replicability & Upscaling
What are the possibilities of extending the good practice more widely? What are the conditions that need to be in place for the good practice to be successfully replicated in a similar context? What are the steps that should be taken/respected to ensure that the good practice is replicated / up-scaled, but adapted to the new context?
Passion, good management skills, open partnership for cooperation. Quality assurance of event, getting feedback from participants and partners.
What would have facilitated an earlier and/or bigger impact? What are the key features that should be kept in mind if this would have to be implemented again? What would you do differently if you could go back in time? What could have been done better?
More funds, more than 1 Project Manager working on this event / bigger team would be helpful.
Passion, good organizational skills, international networking.
Please provide some information about the context and initial situation that can help in fully understanding the action (e.g. information about the national system, applying regulations, etc.)
Using of ICT in education is a hot topic, however providers still struggle with right ways of using technology. Sufficient funding in the system is necessary.
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