Technology is transforming education and the way we learn with unprecedented speed and profoundness. It is taking knowledge out of traditional classrooms by making it accessible online to learners around the world, and more often than not free of any costs. The typical perceptions of teacher/expert-student/participant relationship are also changing fast. Teachers are no longer perceived as undisputed authorities on the subject matter. Rather, they are more and more taking on a role of moderators where knowledge and information they share can be tested and verified with just a few finger slides on smartphones. Moreover, technology has enabled learning to go beyond borders and across cultures, and as a result, age and physical disabilities have become irrelevant factors.
The CEF is well aware of the rapidly changing (digital) environments. That is why we are making every effort to adapt to and co-create circumstances where our interventions have the greatest possible impact.
In a training institution, such as the CEF, sharing knowledge is at the center of what we do, and if it is to be ahead of the curve, the changing approaches to learning need to be continuously followed. Furthermore, these changes also need to be incorporated into an institution’s way of doing things; that is, into knowledge packaging and sharing as we say at the CEF.
Participating at the 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies Edulearn15, recently held in Barcelona, Spain, provided a unique opportunity for the CEF to get a comprehensive insight into the current and emerging ‘state of play’ in the area of modern learning technologies and their impact on education. It offered a chance to reflect upon the CEF’s current understanding of the area as well.
At the CEF, online learning is understood as a set of digital and highly interactive avenues for capturing, packaging and sharing knowledge among public financial management and central banking stakeholders. In the past, the CEF has been already actively harnessing the opportunities offered by online learning technologies. Now, our plan is to gradually allocate even more of CEF resources into delivering parts of projects and content online. Thus, topics of special interest to us discussed at the conference were the Impact of Technology on Education, Social Media in Education, Massive Open Online Courses, Computer Supported Collaborative Work, and Educational Software and Serious Games. A session on blended learning—a combination of online and face-to-face learning initiatives—especially provided an abundance of useful and practical information as this is where the CEF sees the greatest potential for immediate applicability to its current learning activities.
The conference with some 650 attendees coming from more than 80 countries around the world was a unique and memorable experience, professionally as well as personally. The atmosphere created by the participants, presenters and event organizers was that of cooperation and openness, both resulting in information sharing and networking, and even a power shortage on the second day could not disturb that. Since the CEF is well experienced in running secretariat affairs, we also commend the organizers for a job well done.