Trendsetters 2019

Thomas C. Reeves, Professor Emeritus of Learning, Design, and Technology
The University of Georgia, USA

Title: “The Research We Need to Win the Race between Human Learning and Machine Learning” [Click the link to access Tom’s talk at SoTEL 2019]

Abstract: Over the past 25 years, major advances have been made in the development of machine learning, also referred to as “deep learning,” a branch of artificial intelligence (AI) whereby computers are programmed to analyze large data sets and make inferences about new data. The capacities of deep learning machines to see and understand, listen and speak, read and write, and integrate information and make judgments are developing at amazing rates. Among other uses, deep learning algorithms are automating jobs done by humans at an ever-increasing rate. While we have grown accustomed to thinking that robotics would take over most manufacturing tasks, most of us have not begun to grapple with what machine learning advances mean for the professions such as law, medicine, and education. These developments have major implications for education and training at all levels. Bold new educational design research initiatives are needed to increase the odds that humans will prevail in the race between human learning and machine learning.

Dr Thomas C. Reeves (Tom) is Professor Emeritus of Learning, Design, and Technology in the College of Education at The University of Georgia. He is a former Fulbright Lecturer in Peru and he has been an invited speaker in the USA and more than 30 other countries. In 2003, he received the AACE Fellowship Award from the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education, in 2010 he was made a Fellow of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ASCILITE), and in 2013 he received the Lifetime Award from the International Association for Development of the Information Society (IADIS) as well as the David H. Jonassen Excellence in Research Award from the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT). His books include: Interactive Learning Systems Evaluation (2003, with John Hedberg), A Guide to Authentic E-Learning (2010, with Jan Herrington and Ron Oliver), Conducting Educational Design Research (2012, 2019, with Susan McKenney), and MOOCs and Open Education around the World (2015, with Curt Bonk, Mimi Lee, and Tom Reynolds). He lives in Athens, Georgia, USA with his wife, Dr Trisha Reeves, who is a Professor of Social Work at The University of Georgia, and their two West Highland Terriers (Westies), Button and Zipper.

More information about Tom’s work can be found at:

Watch the video of Tom providing a synopsis of his presentation:

Dr Rachel Buchanan, Senior Lecturer, School of Education, The University of Newcastle (UoN)

Rachel’s talk “Digital Identity, Equity and the University” at SoTEL 2019

Dr Rachel Buchanan is a senior lecturer in educational foundations at the University of Newcastle, Australia. For the last ten years she has been researching the equity implications of the increased use of digital technologies in education. Currently she is using Virtual Reality to improve learning in schools; her work on digital footprints guides teachers and students on the development of a positive online presence; and is she researching national education policy and practice surrounding personalised learning in schools. Rachel is a provider of evidence-based knowledge about using learning technologies to create equitable opportunities for young people. She is a founding member of the Digital Identity Culture and Education [DICE] research group. DICE is a network of scholars interested in digital identity, digital footprint, curation of online presence, and serious games for learning. DICE investigate new frontiers in digital engagement and education to produce research and resources (e.g. apps and games) for today’s learner. Rachel has presented her work nationally and internationally and in 2018 was awarded an inaugural DVC(A) Educator innovation and Impact Award for her use of technology in tertiary teaching. Rachel is @rayedish on twitter and more information about her can be found at


Dr David Parsons, National Postgraduate Director, The Mind Lab by Unitec

Access Dave’s talk “Reimagining Digital Learning” at SoTEL 2019

Dr David Parsons is National Postgraduate Director at The Mind Lab, where he manages a programme of qualifications for in-service teachers that integrates digital and collaborative approaches to learning. He has more than 30 years of experience as a teacher, academic, practitioner and researcher, with a particular interest in the role of ICT in education. Prior to joining The Mind Lab he was Associate Professor of Information Technology at Massey University, Auckland and has previously held both academic and industry roles in the UK. He is the founding Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning and has published widely on software development methods and technology enhanced learning. His most recent project is an edited book on how agile and lean concepts from industry can be applied to teaching and learning. He is a certified member of the Association for Learning Technologies, and a member of ASCILITE and the International Association for Mobile Learning.

Stephen Aiello and Stuart Cook … Paramedicine Lecturers, AUT University

Access Stephen’s and Stuart’s talk “I see real things” making simulation a realistic experience” at SoTEL 2019

Let us just say it is going to be different and fun!