Grand Challenge LfL: Introduction and opening discussion

March 18, 2008

Today is a workshop about the Grand Challenge of Learning for Life. Josie Taylor explained the aims of the day – firstly to verify is there a ‘grand challenge’ here? She gave the example of the ‘Man on the Moon’ challenge: it is clear what is wanted and when it is achieved. It might well be that LfL is not quite like that – so this workshop had asked for individual views that will be presented and discussed.


Josie also revealed a sub-text that what we are also trying to do with this is also engage the field of computing back into the area of computers for learning. Much of the activity in use of computers for learning is within the social science and that only takes things so far before that work may overstretch without bringing in the skills of computer scientists to build the correct architecture. While it might be that chaos is ok and there will be emergent solutions rather than integrated one, it seems worthwhile to ensure relevant experts are involved and interested.


Colin Smythe referred back to the launch and the then head of BCS (Sir John Taylor?) saying that Information  Technology will be the driver for the economy and so deserve to be well resourced, but we do not know what you computer scientists do! One of the grand challenges is to explain what we do in simple terms. If we can express this clearly then it is likely that resources will follow. LfL has the chance to be expressed in this way.


Anne Adams split between communicating with computer science the term “eLearning” and communicating with public. 

Dave – need to match computer science grand challenge with societal challenges. Also need to recognise that most advances not GC driven. We should now recognise that we need to cross over wealth creation and knowledge creation.


Bridget Cooper – prefer to go down the enhance human potential route rather than wealth.


Josie – also mentioned the aims of the ‘child at 25[?]’ project that will be described by Dave later.


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