Look back on the events RUNED & SAES 2024

Our ETS EMEA teams had the pleasure of attending these two educational events.

Congresses are a must for teachers and education professionals, forming an essential part of their ongoing training. These events provide an ideal platform for sharing knowledge, innovative practices, and networking within professional circles. They also offer an opportunity to explore current research and gain new perspectives.

At the end of May, members of the ETS EMEA team—Catherine LIU, Academic Relations Manager, and Peter WESTERHUIS, Senior ELT Coordinator—had the opportunity to attend two key conferences:

  • The international francophone congress RUNED24 (Recherches sur les Usages du Numérique en Education 2024), held in Caen from 22 to 24 May 2024. This event, organised at the University of Caen Normandie, focused on the transformations of work in education and training under the impact of digital technology.
  • The SAES (Société des Anglicistes de l'Enseignement Supérieur) congress entitled 'Frontières & Déplacements', which took place at the University of Lorraine, Nancy, from 30 May to 1 June 2024. This conference brought together specialists in English studies for academic exchanges on a wide range of subjects related to the English language and culture.

Both events were rich in discussion and reflection, highlighting current challenges and opportunities in education.

International conference RUNED24

Catherine LIU shared her feedback on the RUNED24 international conference, which provided a unique opportunity to examine the impact of digital technology on the education and training sectors. Held at the University of Caen Normandie, the event brought together researchers, practitioners, and education professionals to discuss the transformations brought about by digital technology. The main theme, "Work in education and training transformed by the digital age", addressed crucial issues and opened up enriching debates on the sector's future.

Anca Boboc, a sociologist whose work focuses mainly on the links between digital technology and changes in the workplace, opened the conference with a lecture on the theme of digital technology and the power to act in the work of those involved in training.

Going beyond technological determinism, which often oscillates between fear and naivety, the conference critically examined the transformations of work and their effects on education and training from three angles: political and social, epistemological, and methodological. The discussions drew on various disciplinary fields, including activity clinics, ergonomics, mental health, management, critical sociology, didactics, and communication. The discussions were highly relevant.

Educational staff, whether teachers, administrators, or supervisors, must integrate digital technology into their work, whether out of obligation, conviction, or constraint. These technologies, used for lesson design, communication, planning, homework and assessment, are changing the material, cognitive, and social conditions of these activities. But what about the digital skills of these professionals? Digital technology is reshaping working spaces and times, reconfiguring inequalities and school boundaries, and exhausting or potentially exhausting individual and collective resources, all of which raise ethical issues.

A second point raised concerned the pace of technological innovation. Teachers and trainers are struggling to keep up, prompting a variety of reactions. The UNESCO 2023 report warns of the negative effects of smartphones on learning, despite their growing presence in schools. Research and a critical analysis of the discourse could help stakeholders to regain control. Technological innovation, seen as the solution to educational problems, promotes digital pedagogical approaches and all-digital training but raises questions about the industrialisation of training. A point of vigilance was raised: technologies must be able to serve educational projects without becoming enslaving.

Finally, in a context where activities are increasingly data-driven and dashboards are being developed to improve management and monitoring, the question of decision-making, teamwork, and the development of solutions arises. What technological skills are currently needed by teachers, learners, and supervisory staff? Who is training them, where and how? Are new skills emerging? What about new forms of digital divide? These questions, explored by the teacher-researchers and doctoral students, provided extremely valuable answers and food for thought.

From governance to language teaching, from learning systems and data-based pedagogy to pedagogical engineering, this conference was an invaluable source of enrichment.

63rd SAES Congress

Peter WESTERHUIS shares highlights from this congress, centered around the theme of borders and displacement. The event featured several workshops, discussions, and dynamic presentations covering a variety of subjects.

During the congress, workshops delved into diverse subjects—from medieval to contemporary English studies—encompassing literature, linguistics, and translation. Engaging lectures, discussions, and presentations by scholars and experts explored identity boundaries in medieval romances, mother-daughter relationships in literature, and linguistic profiles of historical texts. The emphasis was on rigorous scholarly research and interdisciplinary discourse, weaving together insights from history, culture, and language. 

A highlight of the conference was the presence of award-winning poet, playwright, and essayist Adam Wyeth as the guest of honor. His captivating talk, “Borders as Thresholds: Doorways to Other Worlds,” harmonized with the conference theme and its location. Nancy, renowned not only for its Art Nouveau heritage but also for its dynamic history of shifting borders, provided an ideal backdrop. Situated in the historically significant Lorraine region—a territory that has alternated between French and German influence—Nancy boasts medieval monuments, triumphant arches, and city walls. Its UNESCO-listed Stanislas Square stands at the heart of the old town. 

The choice of hosting a conference on borders and movements in a region steeped in historic change and the displacement of people added a special dimension. Attendees enjoyed events not only on campus but also within some of the city’s historic buildings. As a delightful bonus, exclusive access to the campus archaeology museum was granted during the conference.

We would like to extend our warmest thanks to all the organisers, speakers and participants who contributed to the success of these conferences. Special thanks go to Anca Boboc for her enlightening speech at the RUNED24 conference and to Adam Wyeth for his inspiring presence at the SAES conference. We would also like to express our gratitude to Virginie Privas-Bréauté, Marie-Claire Lemarchand-Chauvin and Marc Deneire for their dedication and excellent organisation. These events were a valuable source of professional and personal enrichment for all participants.