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Conference looks at big data, AI, the Internet of Things and the future of learning

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The 2018 Digital Learning Summit, hosted by the University of South Australia and held from March 12 to 16, will feature presentations from 19 key researchers from around the globe who are exploring how learning is being transformed by the digital world and how new technologies are impacting, where, when and how we learn.

Professor George Siemens, who has joined UniSA from the University of Texas, says the influence of technology and new media on education, on organisations, and on wider society has been fundamental.

A pioneer of the concept of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOCs), Prof Siemens believes there is no longer anything linear about the way people are learning.

“We are learning at all stages of our lives, we are learning and working simultaneously and even when we are not engaged in formal learning, the accessibility of knowledge means we continue to learn just as we go about daily living,” Prof Siemens says.

“I am interested in how we equip people with the skills to navigate the complexity and uncertainty of an increasingly technological world – what that means for employment, for learning and importantly, for our sociological and psychological well-being.
“I’m also interested in how new technologies have disrupted our notions of teachers and learners.
“In a world where every tweet and every podcast are an opportunity to connect and learn, we need to reframe our traditional understanding of learning.”
Prof Siemens will be joined at the Summit by an array of experts in the field including keynote speaker, Assistant Professor in the School of Computing at the National University of Singapore, Joseph Jay Williams, whose work with learning algorithms aims to underpin new personalised learning systems, which could be designed to adapt according to the users’ learning progress.
UniSA Provost and Chief Academic Officer, Professor Allan Evans says the Summit brings together some of the world’s leading thinkers and innovators in online and digital learning.
“As a student and equity focussed university, UniSA has always considered how we reach out to students -  considering their location, their life circumstances and their prior learning - in ways that will give them the best chance of success,” Prof Evans says.

“Now, in an age where connection is more possible and easier than it ever has been, we are keen to explore the next phase of learning, to find the best ways to deliver education that is relevant, personalised, and most of all, engaging for our students.
“I am delighted to welcome Prof Siemens to UniSA - as an international leader in this space – he will bring his curiosity, expertise and experience to the whole of the University, ensuring we are at the leading edge of digital learning.”
Professor Siemens has been the lead and co-lead researcher on grants totalling more than $15m, with funding from NSF (US), SSHRC (Canada), Intel, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Boeing, Intel, and the Soros Foundation. 
He has collaborated on a range of international research projects in the European Union, Australia, Senegal, Ghana, and the UK and has received numerous awards, including honorary doctorates from Universidad de San Martín de Porres and Fraser Valley University.
The Digital Learning Summit open session will be held at UniSA’s City West campus in the Jeffrey Smart Building and Bradley Forum on Tuesday March 13. Registration at:

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