Meet the OEB23 Keynotes: Brent Anders

Barbara Moser-Mercer is Professor and Director of InZone, University of Geneva. Her research has focused on cognitive and cognitive neuro-science aspects of the interpreting process and on the human performance dimension of skill development and digital learning in fragile contexts. 

Here, we asked Brent a few questions to get to know the person behind the speaker.

Who, or what, was your most important teacher?

Dr. Jane Fishback was my main instructor while obtaining my PhD. She was 76 years old and one of the smartest people I have ever met. Additionally, she was one of the most motivational instructors I’ve ever had the privilege of listening to. She was my role-model.  

What was your most important lesson?

When I learned about the importance of motivation in education. I guess when I was younger I thought it was all about content input, but it is actually all about motivation. Motivation to learn, to pay attention, to focus, and to remember. Along with that the importance of what we as educators can do to help students be motivated to learn and remember.  

If you could try out any job for a day, what would you like to try?

That’s a good one. I find psychology very interesting and even obtained my bachelor’s degree in that field so it would interesting to try being a psychology. My other thought would be to try being an animator. When I was in high school that was my original plan. I started working on a minor in art, but then got into education more.

A genie gives your three wishes – what are they and why?

  1. End conflicts around the world
  2. Help all countries develop for improved living conditions
  3. Ensure the proper development and utilization of AI into our society so that we can best turn these wishes into a reality.

What current learning trend do you think will have a lasting impact?

AI of course, how to use it, how to integrate it in the classroom, how to master it without it mastering you. Future implementations with AI and Virtual Reality will also be interesting to experience.

Which technology, in your view, had the biggest influence on the way we learn now?

The Internet has changed not only online learning but also face-to-face learning in a major way. I was a student worker with my University’s homemade Learning Management System right as this technology started and quickly saw how it was being used more as a tool to augment face-to-face learning through interactions (quizzes, message boards, etc.), reference materials, scaffolding, and enhanced communication. AI will have an even greater impact.

What is the coolest gadget/ technology/ tool you have seen lately?

I have to say AI again. In working with it in different ways it continues to amaze me with the possibilities and how it can truly help the instructor and greatly empower the student.

Who would you recommend in the learning world to follow on social media right now?

I have been very busy on social media (Twitter and YouTube) so I would say follow me. Additionally follow the people I am following on Twitter. There are many great people online that want to share and like me want to get the message out there so that we can all grow and improve from each other through an ever-developing scholarly community of inquiry.

What would be the title of your autobiography?

Interesting question. Maybe something like “Teaching and Learning Around the World: A Journey.” Due to having an international family and having served in the military for over 20 years, I have had the opportunity to teach and learn in many different countries in many different environments. All of it has been quite an adventure.  

What was your first thought about our overall theme, ‘The Learning Futures We Choose’?

I thought it was exactly what is needed right now. AI is an evolution and a revolution. The future that comes will be directed by the choices we make right now. We can choose to ignore, ban, fully embrace, cautiously approach, and everything in between. The key is that we take informed action and never stop learning and creatively engaging with one another to delineate new possibilities. That is exactly what this conference is all about so the theme is just right.

Do you have a final message for the OEB community?

I am extremely honored and thrilled to be part of this excellent event. I hope to share information that will help others as well as to learn from everyone else as well. AI integration into learning is not an all-or-nothing endeavor, and those new to AI need not worry. There are lots of resources available and with the help of the OEB community we will get through this and develop together.

Written by Brent Anders for OEB Global 2023.

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