Welcome Joanne, and thank you Gordon!

December 15, 2014

The success of AIEC is largely due to the tireless efforts and contribution from the committee members.

gordon-scottI’d like to take this opportunity to thank Gordon Scott for his part as committee member for AIEC 2014, and warmly (and officially) welcome Joanne Barker on board as the newest member of the committee.

Joannjoanne-barkere Barker brings to the AIEC committee expertise in international student recruitment and admissions.  She has been Director International at the University of Adelaide since 2006.  Previously she worked at Flinders University, and has also worked in the Commonwealth education bureaucracy.  She was elected to the IEAA Board in 2012 and also serves on the SAIBT Board in Adelaide and the US-based TOEFL Board, representing Australasia. .

To see the full list of AIEC Committee members, please visit the website.

Regards, Josephine


Gamification… and more from Gabe Zichermann

November 24, 2014

Gamification… what does it have to do with international education?

Australian International Education Conference 2014

A whole lot by the time Gabe Zichermann walked off the stage at AIEC 2014! All of a sudden, a concept that was unfamiliar to most of us, became the buzz word of the day, and everyone was talking about it at morning tea!

We had the chance to talk to Gabe separately and ask him a few questions about why this concept may be of interest to those of us working in education and international education.

Check out what he had to say!

Find out more here: www.gamification.co

Looking forward to Adelaide!

November 13, 2014

AIEC2015-logo-x-1-with-YEAR-and-website-colourIt’s only been a month, and yet Brisbane seems so far away! And Adelaide is 11 months away, and yet seems it so much closer!

We’ve received some really constructive feedback through the attendee survey, and the AIEC committee met yesterday to plan and consider the suggestions to ensure that we continue to improve the offer and the experience every year.

We know that there is still work to do to ensure that the program is well balanced and caters to all interests, sectors and backgrounds and that we continue to offer the best networking opportunities. This is at the front and centre of our planning. We hear you, and we are working towards a common goal!

If you did not get the chance to fill out the survey, please do not hesitate to drop me an email at josephine.williams@idp.com if you think of something.

Also, just a reminder that:

Stay tuned!


Goodbye from AIEC and a few final thoughts…

October 10, 2014

I posted last night on Facebook ‘I’ve heard Brisbane is a lovely city..” to which my Sister-in-Law replied ‘didn’t get outside the hotel then?’ Isn’t it often the way that on our travels that we end up in some of the most beautiful and cultural places on Earth but we rarely get to experience them?

But that’s the nature of our work and it has been a really fantastic experience to be at AIEC here in Brisbane this year and mix with so many others from the industry and listen to so many high quality debates and talks.

Don’t forget to download the British Council’s report on Postgraduate student mobility trends to 2024. The presentation on this earlier today was excellent and focused on postgraduate mobility, forecasting key drivers of student mobility and postgraduate student flows to 2024. There are some key insights in there that can help us to forecast.

Finally, and before I jump on a plane, it was great to see Dan Gregory from The Impossible Institute present on ‘The things that pull our strings’. What a fantastic talk where Dan challenged us all to think laterally and to look at human behaviors. Dan talked about the age of unprecedented change that we live in, particularly in terms of the digital revolution. He talked about ‘expectation inflation’ where expectations keep going up and up and we have to deal with this and how higher expectations go hand in hand with potentially greater disappointments.

Dan challenged us not to stand still in our work and one of the things I really liked was the idea of ‘value alignment’ that we need to make our values our customers’ or clients’ values. Again, Dan echoed the theme of the importance of not crushing creativity but encouraging people to think sideways. He talked about the importance of diversity in the workplace and among people and how a diverse group is a more intelligent group. Diversity can help us avoid contextual blindness and therefore diversity of people, skills and attitudes within our places of work must be encouraged.

On that subject, I’m off to visit a another diverse group of people – my family – in Sydney who I haven’t seen for some time so I’m going to wave goodbye to Brisbane.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being a guest blogger and experiencing AIEC 2014. I shall certainly be taking a lot of thoughts back to the IDP as well as trying to lobby my boss to allow me to come to AIEC 2015 in Adelaide. Although, in the interests of diversity perhaps a colleague should experience what I’ve experienced… Thanks to all and safe journey home.

Best wishes


Some thoughts on Study Abroad…

October 10, 2014

So here we are on the last day of the conference and I must say I have thoroughly enjoyed both the conference and being the guest blogger!

This Conference has made me think. Most of us have precious little time to actually sit and listen, to ponder new things, and to take note of new ideas which we can transfer to our own places of work – so events like this give us a valuable space to think outside the everyday.

The main highlight of this morning for me was listening to the superb academic debate that took place around the subject of the ‘student mobility revolution’. This was a panel discussion between the University of Western Australia, the University of Adelaide and Monash University.

One of the main themes that interested me was the disparity that exists across the social-economic status of those students who are engaged in study abroad. The tendency being that those in the higher social-economic bracket were more likely to study abroad and that those in the lower brackets were less likely to develop their own intercultural capital.

The term ‘intercultural capital’ was one that I hadn’t come across before. In this context this meant essentially all the factors that individuals use to get a job, to add value to themselves and to get through life and survive – people’s personal reservoir of cultural knowledge and know how. Professor Glen Stafford talked about universities being the gatekeepers of intercultural capital and providers of transformative experiences, but that inequality exists as students with lower social economic status don’t have the intercultural capital of those with higher economic status. For example, students in the higher bracket will often come to study abroad already with family support, financial resources etc so they may already have their reservoir half filled.

Professor Stafford gave some excellent examples about how they were addressing this problem, which included removing grade restrictions on study abroad programmes, changing language so that it doesn’t appear selective (for example ‘student ambassador’ may make some potential students feel as though they were not prestigious enough to aspire to this) and embedding study abroad into degrees/majors, among other initiatives. Essentially, trying to normalize and open up the study abroad experience.

This was a complex but highly engaging topic which I would recommend anyone to look in to further. I was lucky enough myself to work abroad at a very young age and it made a real difference to my life. It would be greatly beneficial for all it study abroad opportunities could be made even more accessible.






Rankings, Student Buyer Behaviour and some dancing…

October 10, 2014

On the penultimate evening of the conference I just wanted to quickly jot down my thoughts from today – if I can remember them that is, after all that dancing and the Journey to the Cosmos at the AIEC dinner!

Remembering that the Conference theme is ‘Inventing the Future’ I listened with interest to LinkedIn’s Michael Levine who presented on the use of LinkedIn’s data to harness the world’s first economic graph. This month LinkedIn launched their own university rankings and tools to help in the student decision making process. The rankings are based on career outcomes and users can search which schools are launching graduates into desirable jobs. The focus was also on alumni and how they can use the alumni tool to further validate their decision making, by asking alumni of their intended university to share their experiences. Both interesting new tools which I’ll be taking a look at in more detail.

Speaking of decision making… IDP’s Head of Research Lyndell Jacka presented excellent new research on International Student Buyer Behaviour and took us inside the minds of today’s international students. Just as an aside, I particularly liked a tweet that I saw earlier which said ‘It wouldn’t be AIEC without Lyndell’s little running men”! I must say I’m quite fond of them myself…

Lyndell took us through a fascinating selection of slides that pulled upon data collected from over 1,000 students who had used IDP’s services. The findings looked at student perceptions and student experience. Some slides considered Australia only and others looked at multi destinations (UK, US, New Zealand and Canada).

In comparison to last year there were no dramatic differences, although in terms of student perception Australia moved forward to equal the US for Affordability. Still with student perceptions, the US led the way for Quality of Education closely followed by the UK and Australia. New Zealand and Canada led the way for safety. In terms of Graduate Employment Opportunities the UK was lagging well behind (in fact the little running man looked as though he was about to expire..) and Australia was up in front marginally ahead of the US.

Looking at the gap between student expectations and experience, Australian students expectations had taken a downward shift with the US student experience improving and the UK staying about the same. Canada saw an improvement on last year.

An interesting new slide was on pathway programmes which showed that there was a low level of awareness of pathway programmes among students. The good news for overseas providers is that 72% of students said that they would look to study their pathway programme overseas.

There was so much information there to think about and Lyndell said an infographic would be available in the coming weeks so I’ll look forward to studying that in more detail.

I’m going to leave it there for tonight with the sounds of ‘Happy’ still ringing in my ears which the band played following a very persistent encore! What a great evening.


Gamification – brilliant talk

October 9, 2014

Where to start on the brilliant talk on Gamification by Gabe Zichermann this morning?

While many institutions may now be thinking of nipping out and developing a game to help further their recruitment, it was some of the drivers and theory behind the success of Gamification that were so interesting for me.

Gabe started with a compelling story about a 10 year old boy who saved his family from a potentially fatal car crash, using his knowledge of driving he’d acquired as part of a game. This was an example of the use of fluid intelligence (the capacity to think logically and solve problems in novel situations) that Gabe touched on throughout his presentation.

He talked about how fluid intelligence combined with creativity can solve challenging problems.

Gabe went on to talk about an ‘engagement crisis’: how the next generation particularly are distracted by more things (our use of multiple screens/devices etc) and where Gamification can help them to engage and focus. Gamification is not the answer to everything, but if you take the best ideas and games and apply them for business or other purposes they can be used strategically and tactically.

Essentially, Gamification can help people experience or feel a product and this approach is much better than simply telling them about it. Gamification can help people to achieve or feel success which your brain responds to well. He described the chemical process of challenge, achievement and finally success! This success can be experienced when you’re playing a game or engaged in Gamification.

Gamification can also help people to push the boundaries of reality in a contained way. Gabe gave a brilliant example of the game Civilisation (yes I do remember this game…) which allows people to experience reality, be aspirational but also to fail safely.

Gabe ended to say that with the advent of new technology people will follow and find their own happiness and that their attention will be focused on where the most amount of positive reinforcement is. He finished by saying that nothing is a given anymore and that if we don’t give the next generation what they want – they will just start a competitor – this is what makes them different.

It was a brilliant talk and impossible to capture but it certainly got me thinking about the possibilities of the future, the current generation, the next generation and whether I should get my 8 year old son Minecraft after all…





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