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Flight to Melbourne

Another early start to the day; I had to be at the airport by 5am! I am certainly getting used to operating on minimal sleep. I am now on my way to Melbourne and I feel I have well and truly joined the flexible learning world as I am sitting here on the plane writing this entry on my laptop while at the same time I have ear phones on also listening to the movie currently being shown. There are a number of people working on laptops. It almost feels like I am at work except I am about 30,000 feet above sea level. The plane is not very full and I am lucky enough to be able to spread out and make the most of this.

I have had to spend a lot of time over the weekend preparing for this trip, finalising visit details and putting together an itinerary so I can see exactly what I have in store over the next ten days.This is a rough outline of what I will be up to:

8 November
Arrive Melbourne. Visit Victoria University of Technology.
9-11 November
RIDE (Research in Distance Education) Conference. Deakin University, Geelong.
12 November
Net*Working 2004 Live event Meeting the needs of VET clients. Chisholm Institute of TAFE, Cranbourne.
15 November
Net*Working 2004 Live event e-Learning in Industry: Strategies and tools. Melbourne Museum. Hosted by e-Works.
16 November
Visit TAFE Frontiers. Visit Holmesglen Institute of TAFE.
17 November
Visit Victoria University of Technology. Fly back to Wellington.

Throughout my ten days in Melbourne I will also be participating in the Australian Flexible Learning Framework’s online conference Net*Working 2004. As well as having the conference online live events are also being held in all the Australian states. As you can see in my programme above I will be attending two such events while I am in Melbourne. I also hope I will get to meet other Flexible Learning Leaders at these events and to be able to network amongst the general VET community.

The movie currently screening on the plane is I,Robot. This movie is loosely based on the classic short story collection by the famed science fiction author Isaac Asimov. This movie is a thriller in which a detective investigates a crime that might have been perpetrated by a robot. There are three laws by which the robots must abide and as the robots become more sophisticated they see it as their role to protect their creators (human beings) but the outcomes are not what everyone expects.

I find it ironic that this movie is being shown because when I was visiting Oriel Kelly at Manukau Institute of Technology on Friday she referred me to another Isaac Asimov short story The Fun They Had which focuses on the mechanical teacher. This particular story was written in 1951 and is absolutely worth reading. As I was asking Oriel about the changing role of the vocational teacher she told me about this short story. She believes blended learning is the way of the future and there is no doubt the role of the teacher must change and has, in fact, already changed. Some aspects of teaching will be very different while others will remain remarkably as they are today. Whether Asimov’s vision will eventuate only time will tell.

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