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Highlights from Bergen Education Conference

Last Friday I decided to check out the conversation going on at the Bergen Education Conference at Bergen Science Centre, where the theme was 'Learning in a digital society'. I arrived just in time to browse some of the stands and catch the last two lectures of the two-day conference. In attendance were about 100 teachers, school leaders, suppliers and students.

Tone Guldahl, Senior Consultant at Oslo-based International Management Training for Educational Change (IMTEC), spoke about how to achieve change in schools.

Tone Guldahl of the IMTEC, which offers development programs aimed at increasing schools’ capacity for change.

Guldahl said: “Change must result in students learning better and more. And change in schools is driven by school owners. But before we increase ICT in schools students must first have solid basic skills such as reading and writing.”

To conclude the conference Torgeir Waterhouse, director of internet and new media at IKT-Norge, the interest group for the Norwegian ICT industry, took the stage.

Waterhouse shows a slide depicting what is missing in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Waterhouse spoke enthusiastically about the spread of IKT in today’s society. His engaging talk covered everything from technology’s footprint in developing countries to its implications for economic growth in Norway. Interspersed in his narrative were quotes from Henry Ford and Donald Rumsfeld and stats showing the rise of technology in modern society.

Here are five highlights from Waterhouse's talk:

  1. ICT drives 25% of growth in Europe and 40% of productivity increases
  2. In the very near future in Norway, the knowledge industry will drive more economic growth than traditional industry
  3. In 2013, 30% of Norway's population owned tablets and 66% owned smartphones. In 2015, Waterhouse predicts those numbers will be close to 100%
  4. Waterhouse on being a digital native: “Developing countries, with very limited access to power or water, are building new societies using smartphones and tablets as starting points.”
  5. Waterhouse on incorporating ICT into school curriculum: “School owners and school managers are responsible both for promoting ICT in schools and making sure it succeeds.”


Stands at the Bergen Education Conference held at the Bergen Science Center on Jan. 30-31 (top left), textbooks dealing with digital learning for sale (top right), Lego Education software allows primary school students to upload pictures of their Lego sculptures onto a computer. They then use the pictures as a basis for writing a unique narrative (bottom).


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