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ITTES 2021 - Keynote Speakers



Dr. Francisco Simões

School-to-work transitions in rural areas: Educational challenges to support vulnerable young people


Associate Researcher at and Full Member of the Centre for Social Research and Intervention (CIS). Co-coordinator of the research group Community, Education and Development (CED). Chair of COST Action Rural NEET Youth Network.

Main research interests:
  - rural youths not in employment or education or training (NEET) psychosocial profile;
  - school-to-work transition in rural areas; agriculture and community development;
  - adolescents’ social support social development and well-being;
  - youth mentoring.

Author of more than 40 national and international peer-reviewed publications.
 
Dr. Piet Kommers

Blended Learning and the Need for Extra-Curricular Thematic Integration through STEAM Education
This keynote addresses the recent lessons on how blended learning has offered resilience to the traditional face-to-face classrooms and might stay there for ever. We now face the job to make online learning more pedagogical and socially acceptable. One important development is the trend to let STEAM develop as extra-curricular thematic boost for learners’ elaboration of intuitive towards deep understanding for the sake of problem solving and creativity. The keynote will provide ample examples on how to support teachers in this innovative trend. 
Short Biographical Note: Dr. Piet Kommers developed learning methods and educational tools in the last four decades. He chaired the NATO conferences on Cognitive Learning Tools and received the UNESCO professor title on Learning Technologies. The two major European projects he has been leading focus on teacher support for innovative education:
EduSimSteam 2018 - 2020: Methodology for integrating technologies in national education and training systems. Analyses of Web Community networks, Model-Based hypotheses and Predictive Modelling. Gender demographic analyses of teacher training and career development have been made. Viral Dissemination, Crowd Sourcing and Open Science as a collective tool for the development of the power to act and ‘cognitive justice’  in the post Covid-19 era school practices. 
IV4J 2016 - 2019: Innovate Vocational Education and Training.  The overall research question was: What are the main drivers and enablers to the innovation in teaching and learning in VET? The dissemination in German, Irish, Finnish and Italian institutes was conveyed with stakeholder analyses, qualitative analyses of the leads, open peer review and metrics for multidimensional scaling of the factors: Narrative structure, simulation- and gaming affinity, mentoring style and the readiness to integrate formative assessments.
His full CV and publications can be found on his web-site http://www.pietkommers.nl/ 
 
Dr. Xiangyang Zhang

To Change or to be Changed, That Is the Question for Higher Education in Digital Era
Prof. Xiangyang Zhang, EdD, at present acts as Joint Director of Institute for Open Education, after 36 years of involvement in distance and open education and then e-learning in Open University of Jiangsu. He has actively participated the international ODeL community activities, working as reviewer for some scholarly journals on open and distance and distributive learning, publishing scholarly papers internationally and domestically, keynote speaking and presenting at international conferences. In 2017-2020, he works as Global Ambassador for OER Advocacy and a member of OER Advocacy Committee, International Council for Open and Distance Education.

He has been a visiting fellow at University of Nottingham, UK, and paid frequently short academic visits to universities in UK, Hong Kong and Taiwan. He was adjunct faculty at Jiangsu Normal University, Nanjing Normal University and the guest professor at Yuda University of Technology in Taiwan.

His expertise divides into two strands: Open and distance education, and Language education. Apart from academic publications, Prof. Zhang works as consultant for pedagogy, educational technology and online course design for open and distance teaching institutions in China.