Lizbeth Goodman – Opening Keynote JISC 09

I guess inviting  a keynote speaker like Lizbeth Goodman was always likely to generate strong pro and anti reactions from a JISC audience – and so it has proved to be at #JISC09. Lizbeths presentation was, for me, a fascinating catalogue of how technology has been used to transform the lives of many of the most disadvantaged and challenging learners.What I found to be refreshing was seeing in a tangible and demonstrable way just how technology can and does make a difference, and how this in turn contributes fundamentally to the notion of inclusion and  learning for all. Sometimes it seems to me that some (much?) of JISC’s work seems too divorced from the impact that it does or doesn’t have for the leaner.

At the heart of the presentation was the view that once you can identify a real problem then a solution can be found – I wonder how much of JISC work can really said to be driven by this principle and how much of current programmes are solutions looking for a problem, or things that are clever but not always useful?I heard some comments that Lizbeths presentation  had nothing to say to JISC and its work – I felt that actually it had something profound to say, questionning how and why we do our ‘thing’, questionning our ability to identify real problems that need solving.Much is being said about the value or impact of JISC work – if we cannot be very clear about the problem we are solving, how can we expect the value of our work to be recognised?   

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