What does ‘Education for the future’ hold for us?
IFWEA Secretariat Educators Renaldi Prinsloo and Melanie Julie, attended and presented at the annual Moodle Moot Global 2022 conference this year in Barcelona, Spain, with the theme ‘Education for the Future’. Our participants from the global IFWEA community are already familiar with Moodle, the learning management system (LMS) we use for the IFWEA Online Labour Academy. The conference took place from 27 to 29 September 2022 and over 800 Moodlers from all over the globe attended to learn and share best practices. Although many of the attendees were from companies and academic institutions, key themes which resonate with IFWEA’s vision to provide open, equal, and accessible lifelong learning opportunities to all (including workers) were observed.
Keynote speakers and insightful presentations
The first day of the conference kicked off with a keynote speech from the Moodle founder, Martin Dougiamas. What started off as a biology lesson in how life on Earth started, shifted towards how the world has evolved today and how AI (Artificial Intelligence) is becoming more prominent in online education. Social justice was an important element in his speech on the future of education, where everyone should have equal and easy access to open educational learning tools and resources. Dougiamas’ dream and future mission is to provide a future open education platform (read more about this here) where everyone, at anytime, has access to the highest quality of educational experiences and latest technologies.
For the duration of the conference, attendees from different institutions, companies and organisations presented best practices on using the Moodle LMS. The participants we work with in our courses on the OLA platform are mostly marginalised, precarious workers from developing countries and some of the presenters at the conference provided us with some useful insights and tools on how to support our constituencies better when using the platform. Plugins such as Dupo can potentially support language translation better on the platform, using the Moodle app more efficiently by designing mobile courses with the end user in mind and maximising the benefits of the offline participation abilities of the Moodle app.
Some of the more sophisticated techies or web developers who presented, demonstrated how Moodle courses could even be run completely offline in developing countries, such as Rwanda by building a small computer (Rasperry PI) with ports within a box, called the ‘Moodle Box.’ There are ways to collect information more effectively by using the database activity within the platform, to provide us with more insight on our participants, which could be particularly useful for evaluating our courses and annual reporting of our projects.
On the third and final day, Educators Renaldi Prinsloo and Melanie Julie delivered their presentation with the topic titled: Integrating Zoom, WhatsApp and Google Translate with Moodle courses to provide Flexible and Equal Online Learning Opportunities to Worker Educators globally. The session was very well received with attendees from developing countries, as well as attendees from the ILO (International Labour Organisation). The presentation focused on our flexible digital learning methodology together with our popular education and participatory learning methods to provide an inclusive and easily accessible learning environment to worker educators globally, using popular digital tools such as Zoom, WhatsApp and Google Translate in combination with our Moodle courses. The presentation also emphasised how our participants are still very far from ready for the education of the future, and how bridging the digital divide, is a very slow and patient process.
The way forward for IFWEA’s Online Education journey
The education for the future is very near. So, the key question is: How do we prepare our constituencies for this era if they are still at the early stages of preparing and learning how to make online education an integral part of their daily lives? Perhaps having an aggressive Training of Trainers programme where grassroot leaders are competently trained to upskill communities with the necessary digital skills to make the leap to the future of education faster? Or Moodle will have the answer for us, as social justice is after all a key component in their mission to provide equal and accessible online education experiences for all.