We’ll be announcing keynotes progressively throughout September. Subscribe to the blog via RSS or email, or follow us on Twitter, to keep up-to-date with the latest program announcements.

Professor James Arvanitakis: From blended learning to analytics: Why we keep getting IT wrong?

Within the educational setting, the promises of technology rarely live up to what is delivered. Be it a lack of commitment, tools that fail to deliver the flexibility desired, faculty resistance or failure to commit resources, students frequently feel let down and educators are often frustrated. While most of us aim to ensure that the pedagogy trumps technology, it is more likely to that the pedagogy is shaped by the technology we can utilise. In this presentation, I will draw on a cross cultural project involving Australian and Indian universities to outline how we can better deliver the programs we promise with the technology available, rather than being held hostage by it.

About Professor James Arvanitakis

jamesarvanitakis.net | t @jarvanitakis

Professor James Arvanitakis is the Dean of the Graduate Research School at Western Sydney University. He is also a lecturer in Humanities and a member of the University’s Institute for Cultural and Society. James was also the founding Head of The Academy at Western Sydney University that received an Australian Financial Review higher education excellence award (2016) and the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue Excellence in Education Award (2017).

James is internationally recognised for his innovative teaching style and was the recipient of the Prime Minister’s University Teacher of the Year Award in 2012 and an Eminent Researcher Award from the Australia India Education Council in 2015. In 2017 he was appointed a Research Fellow of the Australian Indian Institute and he sits on the Australian Indian Education Working Party.

A former economist and free market advocate, James changed his position after witnessing child and indentured labour. After 9 years of working in finance, he has since worked with a cross section of organisations across Australia, Asia, Pacific and Europe including Oxfam Hong Kong, Aid/Watch and Friends of the Earth (France).

His research areas include citizenship, resilience, piracy and the future of universities. James has authored over 100 articles in 2016 released three books: Sociologic (a first year sociology textbook with Oxford University Press), Citizen Scholar and the future of universities (Palgrave), and From Despair to Hope (Penguin). In 2017, he will be releasing a new edited collection on the Australian Indian Higher Education collaboration he has been overseeing. James is a regular media commentator appearing on ABC TV and hosts the podcast ‘Sociologic’.

James is a board member of the Public Education Foundation, the Chair of Diversity Arts Australia, an Academic Fellow at the Australian India Institute and a Research Fellow at the Centre for Policy Development.


Marita Cheng: Robotics in the future of work

Marita Cheng will take you through the robots of tomorrow and how AI will shape our future in ways greater than we can imagine today.  From machines that can see for us, process data accurately and at a greater speed than humans, and robots that get the job done and don’t answer back.  There is much to think about and prepare for as we create the future of work, but most importantly – what we can do to educate and equip our graduates for this future.

About Marita Cheng

w maritacheng.com | t @maritacheng

Marita Cheng was the 2012 Young Australian of the Year and is a technology entrepreneur and women in technology advocate. Marita Cheng is the founder and CEO of aubot (formerly 2Mar Robotics), which makes a telepresence robot, Teleport, for kids with cancer in hospital to attend school, people with a disability to attend work and to monitor and socialise with elderly people. As well as telepresence robots, Aubot does research and development in robotic arms, virtual reality and autonomous mapping and navigation.

Aubot has been recognised on a global scale through the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia in 2016, and through being called “the coolest girl at CES 2014” by VentureBeat magazine. Marita has presented about Teleport at the M.A.P. International CEO Conference in the Philippines in 2016, MIT Technology Review EmTech Singapore in 2015, and the 2014 World Entrepreneurship Forum in Lyon France.

While studying at Singularity University’s flagship 10-week program, the Graduate Studies Program, located at NASA Ames and on a full scholarship funded by Google, Marita cofounded Aipoly with Alberto Rizzoli. Profiled in TechCrunch within a week of the first prototype being made, Aipoly allows blind people to recognise objects using computer vision and has been downloaded 250,000 times in 7 languages since its launch at CES 2016.

Marita was named the 2012 Young Australian of the Year for demonstrating vision and leadership well beyond her years as the Founder and Executive Director of Robogals Global. Noticing the low number of girls in her engineering classes at the University of Melbourne, Marita rounded up her fellow engineering peers and they went to schools to teach girls robotics, as a way to encourage girls into engineering. While on academic exchange at Imperial College London, Marita expanded the group to London and through innovation and sheer will, Marita then expanded Robogals throughout Australia, the UK, the USA and Japan. The group runs robotics workshops, career talks and various other community activities to introduce young women to engineering.

Robogals has now taught 70,000 girls from 11 countries robotics workshops across 32 chapters. Robogals has been internationally recognised though the Global Engineering Deans Council Diversity in Engineering Award (2014), Grace Hopper Celebration’s Anita Borg Change Agent Award (2011), and the International Youth Foundation’s YouthActionNet Fellowship (2011).

Marita regularly travels around Australia presenting her work including appearing on Q&A on ABC beside two Nobel Laureates and the Chief Scientist of Australia (TV audience 600,000), and alongside Ashton Kutcher at Lenovo’s #TechMyWay (online audience 35,000). As well, she has presented overseas at Foxconn’s H.Spectrum by Yonglin Healthcare Startup Conference in Taiwan (2016), the 37th Kumon Japan Instructors Conference in Japan (2016), the World Engineering Education Forum in Dubai (2014), and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts’ World Conference in Hong Kong (2014).

Marita was born in Cairns, Queensland, Australia. She grew up in housing commission with her brother and single-parent mother, who worked as a hotel room cleaner. She graduated from high school in 2006 in the top 0.2% of the nation, and that year was awarded Cairns Young Citizen of the Year for her volunteering and extra-curricula efforts, which included winning awards for mathematics, Japanese and piano. Marita speaks English, Cantonese and Japanese.

Marita has a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechatronics) / Bachelor of Computer Science from the University of Melbourne. She serves on the boards of Robogals Global, the Foundation for Young Australians, and RMIT’s New Enterprise Investment Fund, where she helps decide on startup investments, the Victorian State Innovation Expert Panel, and the Clinton Health Access Initiative’s Tech Advisory Board. In her spare time, Marita enjoys reading, travelling and daydreaming.


Amber Case: Internet of Things, technology and our future

Our world is made of information that competes for our attention. How does it affect us as individuals? Does it help us learn or does it get in the way? What are the implications for the way we learn and teach in tertiary education? How does technology help us engage with community? The world is no longer dominated by desktop computers. We are mobile and more organic. We need an equivalent computing and design framework to ensure that technology fits into our lives and empowers us. We need to live alongside it instead of being controlled by it.  To find some direction, we can look to concepts of Calm Technology. The terms calm computing and calm technology were coined in 1995 by PARC Researchers Mark Weiser and John Seely Brown in reaction to the increasing complexities that information technologies were creating. Calm technology describes a state of technological maturity where a user’s primary task is not computing, but being human. The idea behind Calm Technology is to have smarter people, not things. Technology shouldn’t require all of our attention, just some of it, and only when necessary. How can our devices take advantage of location, proximity and haptics to help improve our lives instead of getting in the way? How can designers can make apps “ambient” while respecting privacy and security? This talk will cover how to use principles of Calm Technology to design the next generation of connected devices. We’ll look at notification styles, compressing information into other senses, and designing for the least amount of cognitive overhead. We’ll also look at the rise of Artificial Intelligence, and at future considerations of ethics and automation. 

About Amber Case

Photo courtesy Daniel Root

caseorganic.com | t @caseorganic

Amber Case studies the interaction between humans and computers and how our relationship with information is changing the way cultures think, act, and understand their worlds. She is currently a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society and a visiting researcher at the MIT Center for Civic Media.

Amber is the author of Calm Technology:Principles and patterns for non-intrusive design.  She spoke about the future of the interface for SXSW 2012’s keynote address, and her TED talk, “We are all cyborgs now,” has been viewed over a million times. Named one of National Geographic’s Emerging Explorers, she’s been listed among Inc. Magazine’s 30 under 30 and featured among Fast Company’s Most Influential Women in Technology. She was the co-founder and former CEO of Geoloqi, a location-based software company acquired by Esri in 2012. In 2008, Amber founded CyborgCamp, an unconference on the future of humans and computers.

Amber lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Portland, Oregon.