Audrey Watters

Journalist Specializing in Education Technology

In a boundary-testing style that questions prevailing wisdom in both the education and technology sectors, Audrey writes for Edutopia, MindShift, O'Reilly Radar, ReadWriteWeb, and The Huffington Post in addition to her own blog, Hack Education. She has worked in the education field for the past 15 years as a graduate student, college instructor, and program manager for an education technology non-profit.

Her soon to be released first book, Teaching Machines: The Drive to Automate Education, will examine the drive to automate education, not simply as a technological, scientific, or pedagogical development, but as a profoundly cultural one. Audrey’s book will also examine how and whether teaching machines work, and whether they offer "personalization" or merely a more efficient standardization. Watters poses some critical questions, such as why we have been so keen for so long to automate teaching and learning and what this says about our vision of the purpose, – let alone the future – of education.

Audrey's website: //

 Stephen Downes

Senior Researcher at National Research Council of Canada, Co-Creator of the MOOC

As the author of the widely read OLDaily online newsletter, Stephen has earned international recognition for his leading-edge work in the field of online learning. He has helped pioneer the concept of connectivism and syndicated learning. He is a popular speaker, having appeared at hundreds of events in 17 countries and five continents over the last 15 years. Mr. Downes has published 135 articles through two decades of research and development into learning networks and related technologies. Building on the work of the last few years, in his role as Senior Researcher, Downes has been involved in a project to develop and deploy the next generation of learning technologies, called "learning and performance support systems," which furthers the idea of learning support based on personal and individual needs enabling each learner to develop their own custom program from the ground up.

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 George Veletsianos

Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology, Royal Roads University

George has dedicated his research to understanding the practices and experiences of learners, educators, and scholars in emerging online settings such as online social networks and digital environments. He holds a Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology and is an Associate Professor at Royal Roads University. George has been designing, developing, and studying digital learning environments since 2004 and has edited two open access books on the topic: Emerging Technologies in Distance Education (Athabasca University Press, 2010) and Learner Experiences in MOOCs and Open Online Learning (Hybrid Pedagogy Publications, 2013). Individually and collaboratively, he has published more than 40 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters and given more than 70 talks at conferences and events worldwide.

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 Jeremy Friedberg

Scientist and Game-maker, Founder of Spongelab

An experienced educational game designer and entrepreneur, Jeremy has founded several education technology companies including Spongelab, led the development of numerous education and communication tools. He has also designed revolutionary educational games that have garnered international recognition with awards from the National Science Foundation, Journal of Science, and the United Nations. Jeremy holds a doctorate in molecular genetics and biotechnology from the University of Guelph. He has been involved extensively in both public and private scientific education programs. Dr. Friedberg is an invited speaker on many aspects of science and education, specifically, on promoting the use of data-driven personalized learning technologies, the efficacy of digital learning tools in formal education settings, and the gamification of education.

Jeremy's website: //

 Philipp Schmidt

Director’s Fellow at MIT Media Lab and Founder of P2P University

Driven by a passion for learning, Philipp creates new tools, platforms, and institutions that spur creative learning. He is co-founder and board member of Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU), a non-profit organization and online community that experiments with new ways of learning. He served on the founding board of the Open Education Consortium and co-authored the Cape Town Open Education Declaration. Dr. Schmidt is currently involved in a new initiative titled "Making / Learning / Work" (an MIT and Joyce Foundation collaboration), which reaches out to adult learners, employers, and training providers, as well as the technology innovators of the Media Lab, to come up with some new solutions for adult learners who have had unsuccessful experiences with the education system. The project intends to establish a community that these adult learners can turn to and connect with peers who have struggled with similar challenges, and take on the role of mentor as well as mentee – a process that could make all the difference between dropping out and pulling through education.

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 Marie Bountrogianni

Dean of The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education, Ryerson University

As a passionate advocate for continuing education and accessibility, Marie has been instrumental in increasing international awareness of Ryerson’s leadership in delivering continuing and online education that is designed to address the skills gap in the Canadian labour market. Dr. Bountrogianni is also the author of Partnering for Prosperity, a report that shows how enhanced employment opportunities for youth, immigrants, and persons with disabilities can be created in partnership with private and public sectors to address mal-employment in Canada. Recently Dr. Bountrogianni was named one of the 10 most influential University of Waterloo graduates. Before coming to Ryerson, she was president and executive director of the Royal Ontario Museum Board of Governors. Marie is a former cabinet minister who held a number of portfolios including Intergovernmental Affairs, Democratic Renewal, Children and Youth Services, and Citizenship and Immigration. Prior to entering politics, Marie was the chief psychologist for the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board.

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