March 16, 2013 by Dr. G
The day finally arrived! The 2013 Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT) Symposium was held at the Penn State University Park campus on Saturday, March 16, 2013. I have presented several times in previous years at the symposium, a conference where Penn State faculty, educational technology specialists, and even students talk about innovative and effective uses of technology in the classroom to enhance instruction and/or student learning. I always look forward to this conference, as it allows me to reconnect with colleagues and friends from across the University, especially in Education Technology Services.
So let me take a step back and explain what led up to my presentation on this day. In summer 2012, I wrote a grant and received a set of iPads to use with my students for a range of projects, from using the iPads as a data-collecting device in the field to generating their own content for the iPad using iBooks Author. During Summer 2012, undergraduate researcher Abbey Dufoe, a former Penn State Brandywine student now finishing her major in Media Studies and minor in Environmental Inquiry and Civic & Community Engagement at University Park, was challenged to learn iBooks Author and see how easy or challenging it was to create iBooks. Was she successful? Just check out her iBook collection on the Pennsylvania Earth Science Teachers Association (PAESTA) website! I then moved forward in the Fall 2012 using the iPads with my EARTH 100 course in creating iBooks, and my STS 201 course during a field trip to Puerto Rico. Information about these courses and their iBooks can be found at my iPads for Earth Science website.
After I submitted the abstract to co-presented about this work with Abbey and Matthew Bodek (Instructional Design Specialist at Penn State Brandywine), we were asked to create an elevator pitch about to encourage people to attend our session. You can check it out below!
The morning of March 16th started with some snow in State College, but it was warm and engaging at The Penn Stater where the conference was being held. All 450 conference attendees were encouraged to tweet with the hashtag #tltsym13 and post photos on flickr. We were also reminded to keep in mind and think about throughout the day how to use ideas and innovations to foster education, and where do we need to go in education as well as what do we need to do.
The morning started off with an excellent plenary by Frans Johansson, who spoke about The Medici Effect: Ground-Breaking Innovation at the Intersection of Disciplines and Cultures. What an engaging speaker! What I took away from this speaker is that the more diverse we make our connections, the more innovative our ideas, and that the pathways of groundbreaking ideas are never linear nor without mistakes. I’m definitely going to have to put one of his books on my “to read” list.
The first concurrent session was where Abbey and I presented our work. I’ll direct you to her blog post to read a little about the session and the presentation we gave later in the day. For the second concurrent session, I attended Dirk Mateer’s (ECON professor at University Park) presentation on how he uses a custom-built Economics University game (ECON U) to compliment the classroom experience and to create “sticky moments” of learning the core ideas in his course.
Next up was lunch and a second plenary speaker, George Siemens, talking about The Role of Learning Analytics in Improving Teaching and Learning. With his information and challenges to us about privacy and ethics in tracking online behaviors and patterns, it left us all to think about not what we “could” do but what “shouldn’t” we do with analytics. I then went to a session on using LucidChart for concept mapping by colleagues at the Penn State Lehigh Valley campus, and then ended the day with Abbey at “The TLT Experience” where we had a hands-on table for people to ask us more about iBooks Author and iPads.
This was quite a full day! I still need some time to decompress and process all that I have learned, and I can’t wait to get online and search out some of these new resources. Can’t wait to see what TLT 2014 holds in store!