Piet Kommers

Associate Professor Piet Kommers

Associate Professor
Piet Kommers

Biographical note
Piet Kommers is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Behavioral Sciences, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands. He has been awarded an honorary professorship by the UNESCO International Research and Training Center for his coordination of the collaborative research in the field of Technology-Enriched Education (1999); an honorary doctorate by Capital Normal University, Beijing for the Integration of Technology in Teacher Education (2000); and an academic award for the Instrumentation and Experimental Design in detecting Visual Perception and Cognitive Style from Utrecht State University (1980). His Ph.D. thesis was on Hypertext, Navigation and Conceptual Representations at University of Twente (1991), and his Masters Degree was in the Social Sciences. His Masters thesis was 'Algorithms for Adaptive Learning' at Utrecht State University (1980). His publications cover the fields of media, communication, education and lifelong learning with six books and more than fifty proceedings and journal articles. Piet has supervised 24 PhD studies and more than 80 Masters student projects.

Keynote presentation: Mobile and virtual presence in the learning community
Advanced learning technologies attempt to facilitate students reaching their traditional (curricular) learning goals. Recently we have become aware that the overall model of classroom-based teaching and learning has limited potential to absorb new ICT didactics except, for example, electronic white boards and video conferencing for remote students. It is most likely that secondary and higher education will face 'new learning practices' to emerge further in the students' private time and learning at home. A key factor that can trigger new school-based innovation is the re-orientation of assessment methods. As long as assessment via centrally-orchestrated test banks are the goal, there is no need to change learning methods. If educational institutions accept these types of fixed goals, there is only a weak cosmetic stimulus for learners to accept school as a place to learn to learn. This tendency to revitalize schools as a learning community has increased at the time when information supply and information access are no longer the critical resources.

This keynote presentation focuses on three simultaneous trends:

1.  Mobile communication and virtual environments that allow learners to widen their actual presence to web-based communities (WBCs). These WBCs allow members to focus on an acute learning need. Typically they bridge formal education with existential or intellectual interests that exceed typical institutional education.

2. The shift from intra- to interpersonal expertise; problem solving and creative thinking primarily manifests in the interplay among persons of various disciplines. If the job settings demand team players, it seems obvious that education should anticipate that, and promote cooperative learning projects.

3.  The growing awareness that instruction has mainly focused on optimising external conditions, does not take into account the need to guide the learner to a more effective self regulation and self organisation. The inclusion of cognitive learning tools like mind mapping, simulations and problem-based project work, has opened a large agenda to be explored where it is the individual learner who needs to build the attitude and skills for learning via web-based tools.

The emergence of mobile learning goes much further than flexibility. Essentially it is the precursor for the learner to regain ownership of learning. The mobile phone will develop further as 'the' mental-, personal- and communicative prosthesis for humans. Similar to the right to keep silent until your lawyer has arrived, it will be the right to learn and perform with artefacts such as your clothing, glasses and other personal items.

In this presentation, the contours of media-based life and the need for joining web-based communities will be exemplified and applied to learning in the coming decades.