Gorg Mallia Ph.D is the head of the Department of Media and Communications at the Media and Knowledge Sciences faculty of the University of Malta. He researches primarily in the areas of instructional technology, transfer of learning, new media impacts, personal communications and graphic narrative and storytelling. He has lectured in a number of countries, particularly at the Universities of Lund and Malmö in Sweden. He was chairman of the National Book Council (2005–2013). He is a published children’s writer, and an illustrator and cartoonist. His “One Family” comic strip ran in The Sunday Times of Malta from 1993 to 2008. Mallia’s publications include the Pullu series of books for young children. His latest are the fantasies Il-Professur Ghasfur and Sigurd and the Tree of Life. He has also published experimental short stories and comic books. His academic writings range in topic from social media impacts on society and educational practice, to analysis of comics, cartoons and graphic novels. He edited the seminal The Social Classroom: Integrating Social Network Use in Education in 2014. He is one of the ogranisers of the annual International Conference on Information, Communication Technologies in Education (ICICTE).
Mobile connectivity has increased online immersion, with data on the go providing an omnipresent source of provision for information-hungry users. This results in random incidental acquistion that would contribute quite extensively to independent-individual learning were there to be an individual- and/or institution-driven organisation of what is acquired, and a skill-base to direct learning to connected ends. However, though this organisation is often missing, the individual/incidental acquisition is being deemed enough by many, precluding the uptake of formal learning. This is compounded by the fact that employment in, for example, the IT industry often demands experience and individually acquired proficiency over academic qualifications. Also by the fact that many teaching institutions have found it difficult to take individual/incidental learning on board in formal course-work, in the main because of difficulties with assessment procedures. How can independent-individual, incidental acquisition be harnessed in a formal or semi-formal way to enhance the learning capabilities of individuals? A number of suggestions have been put forward by the literature, not least George Siemens’ seminal 2003 “connectivism” approach. There have also been discussions about a dedicated type of hybrid learning which moves away from the blended concept implicit in formal distance course-work, to accept input from incidental learning. This workshop aims to discuss the implications and possibilities of a phenomenon the growth of which is commensurate with the meteoric advancement of technology.