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Keynote Speakers

Mal Lee

Director, Schools Networking Consortium and Managing Director of EdDirect, Australia


Mal Lee is an educational consultant and author specializing in the development of digital schools. He is a former director of schools, secondary college principal, technology company director and a member of the Mayer Committee that identified the Key Competencies for Australia's schools. A Fellow of the Australian Council for Educational Administration (FACEA), Mal has been closely associated with the use of digital technology in schooling, particularly by the school leadership for the last decade.

Mal Lee, Keynote speaker, RITWIT Conference

An historian by training, Mal has written extensively, particularly in the Practising Administrator, the Australian Educational Leaders and Access, Educational Technology Guide on school planning for the Information Age, Digital Schooling and the effective use of ICT in schooling.

Mal, with Professor Michael Gaffney recently edited Leading a Digital School published by ACER Press. He is currently writing two other books for ACER Press, both of which are near publication. One is on The Use of Instructional Technology in Schools - Lessons to be Learned, and the other is A Teacher's Guide to Interactive Whiteboards. Work has commenced on a publication on The Home-School Nexus - and the Development of Networked School Communities.

Mal provides not only a business and school administrator's perspective, but also an extensive understanding of the structural, organizational and technological challenges facing school leaders as they seek to take advantage of the immense and ever merging educational and administrative opportunities made available by digital technology, in a networked world.

Keynote Abstract

Considering the IWB Developments in their Holistic Context - in Schools and Educational Authorities, Historically and Globally

We are witnessing an historic revolution in the instructional technologies used in the world's classrooms. Virtually overnight interactive whiteboards, when implemented wisely, are not only fundamentally changing the teaching materials used, but are acting as a catalyst to shift teaching and schools from a paper-based to digital operational mode.

The intention is to examine at a macro level the global use of interactive whiteboards (IWBs), and the associated digital instructional technologies in their holistic context, and the factors behind their impact.

The plan is to reflect on the profound changes that have occurred in the whole class use of digital instructional technologies in the 2000s, and to identify the major human and technological variables needing to be addressed at the school and authority level if the undoubted potential of digital technology is to enhance the quality, appropriateness, effectiveness and efficiency of schooling.

Consideration will be given to the variables not only at play within the classroom, but throughout the school, within the students' homes and the educational authority. These include the fundamental importance of achieving total teacher usage, ongoing professional development, having 'digitally literate' school and education authority leaders, providing appropriate finance and using wise holistic implementation plans, as well as providing the requisite teaching tools, infrastructure and support if one is to capitalize on the 'IWB revolution'.

Niel McLean

Executive Director - Institutional Workforce and Development & Learning and Teaching, Becta

Neil Maclean, Keynote speaker, RITWIT Conference


After 15 years in teaching, local education authority (LEA) advisory work and consultancy work for a number of curriculum and assessment projects, Niel McLean joined the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority for the 'Dearing review' of the National Curriculum in England. He led on assessment work in IT and Design and Technology, being responsible for all areas of examinations and qualifications in those areas, continuing to be responsible for ICT at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

He joined Becta in 1998 as Director for Schools where he led on its curriculum, LEA support and inclusion work. (Becta is the government agency leading the national drive to ensure the effective and innovative use of technology throughout learning.) He founded Becta's Evidence and Practice directorate. Neil has led on establishing Becta as a focus for educational research on ICT and good practice, including developing Becta's successful awards schemes, managing significant research projects such as Impact 2 and establishing Becta's ICT Research Network. Becta is regularly called on to provide advice on ICT in education to both policy makers and practitioners. Under Niel's lead Becta has established itself as a focus for online communities of practitioners sharing and developing approaches to teaching and learning.

Keynote Abstract

Interactive Whiteboards: tools for learners; tools for teachers

There has been significant adoption of interactive whiteboards (IWB) in UK classrooms with 73% of teachers reporting that they use an IWB regularly in lessons. This contrasts with the take up of other technologies such as learning platforms where the rate of adoption has been much slower. At the same time the huge growth in learners' personal access to technology has not been reflected in the adoption of more 'personalised' e-enabled pedagogies, with little focus in the classroom on the use of technology to support learners' development of higher-order thinking skills.

The aim is to unpick the pedagogical, management and leadership issues that underpin the more transformative uses of technology, in order to set an agenda that moves beyond seeing the IWB as primarily a presentational medium, to one which supports deeper learning through modelling and dialogue. The context will be the 'whole school' approach to the use of technology that builds on learners' access to technology outside the classroom.

Karen Littleton, Conference Discussant, RITWIT Conference

Karen Littleton, Conference Discussant

Professor, University of Jyväskylä, Finland


Karen Littleton is Professor of Psychology in Education at the University of Jyväskylä. Her work focuses on understanding the cultural, social and relational nature of children's development and learning, exploring the ways in which thinking is embedded in the use of language in social context.

Karen will lead a session on Tuesday in which she will pull together emerging themes and issues for subsequent discussion by all participants.

Sylvia Rojas-Drummond

Faculty of Psychology, National Autonomous University of Mexico

Note that Sylvia is unfortunately no longer able to join us as she has been asked to lead a major evaluation of an elementary school curriculum review in Mexico which will now occupy all of her time over the coming months.