Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology & Associate Professor at Royal Roads University

Tag: edtech conferences

SXSWedu 2014 events

Posted on February 28th, by George Veletsianos in sharing. 12 comments

I’ll be at SXSWedu 2014, and I’m hoping that the event has matured a bit since last year’s “learning outcomes come second” suggestion. Austin is probably the best US city to host this event as the city itself is undergoing massive change.

I’ll be on two panels this year, and I’m really excited to participate in both. The first panel is one organized with my colleagues Tanya Joosten, Amy Collier, and Audrey Watters:

Startups Should Talk with Researchers and Educators
George Veletsianos (Royal Roads University)
Amy Collier (Stanford University)
Audrey Watters (Hack Education)
Tanya Joosten (University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee)

Educational technology startups seem to ignore the knowledge that educators and researchers have amassed that can help startups succeed. Last year’s SXSWedu event felt more like a vendor gathering than a space for “meaningful conversation.” If we want to change how we do education, these groups must converse. In this panel, we will discuss how educators/researchers can help startups improve products and answer questions pertaining to education research, how people learn, and classroom practice.

The second panel is a meetup organized by Coursetalk:

Karen Francis, Chairman and CEO of AcademixDirect, parent company to CourseTalk
Dr. Anant Agarwal, President, edX
Jason Palmer, Deputy Director, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Dr. George Veletsianos, Canada Research Chair/Associate Professor, Royal Roads University
Stephanie Banchero, National Education Writer, The Wall Street Journal
Jane Swift, CEO, Middlebury Interactive Languages
Education, Training, and Professional Development technology innovations have disrupted the way we learn across the globe. Some are calling online education and MOOCs the pathway to solve the skills and knowledge gaps of today’s global workforce. Others are predicting these technology innovations are the road map to an influx of loss of jobs as more things become automated. Many are collaborating and developing models to improve student outcomes and to connect students with the resources needed to grow and succeed in a global and competitive job market.

Visiting Educause 2013. And encountering two innovations

Posted on October 21st, by George Veletsianos in open, scholarship, sharing. 3 comments

I visited Educause 2013 this year, largely after an invitation by Tanya Joosten and Amy Collier to participate on a panel exploring what makes technology pilots successful. The panel was entitled Prepare for Lift-Off: Becoming a Successful IT Pilot Site. Laura Pasquini took some notes on a google doc and Tanya posted the slidedeck here. The session was described as follows:

“Your campus is an innovator in many ways, and you’ve been approached to be a pilot site for a new campus IT product. You’d like to say yes to the idea, but you’re not sure you have the infrastructure to make it work. Join a panel of your university colleagues to learn the ropes and discover what it takes to successfully deliver and host technology pilots on your campus. The panelists will offer a dynamic conversation on the importance of stakeholder involvement, faculty engagement and selection, faculty development and support, technical infrastructure, student support, research and evaluation, and critical steps your institution needs to take to ensure your pilot not only flies but soars.”

Photo by Jason Jones

This was my first time at the conference. My goal throughout the conference was to explore this group’s horizon, or what this group is currently seeing as being promising initiatives for higher education. In summary, the focus was on: competency-based learning, learning analytics, and MOOCs. Openness was relatively absent. Research was largely absent. Vendor-driven solutions were pervasive, and I left yearning to know more about innovations created and implemented by learning designers and/or by institutions themselves.

There were two innovations that I have been thinking about since the event:

  • I had a lovely chat with Rob Farrow who shared with me the work that the Open University is doing with the OER Research Hub. The project aims to collect evidence in relation to the claims surrounding openness, and more specifically to answer the question ‘What is the impact of OER on learning and teaching practices?’ Given my beliefs about the inordinate value that research brings to educational technology, you can see why I was exited about the topic.
  • The second innovation that I learned about was Class Mob, which is a prototype developed through the Breakthough Models Academy. There are some interesting projects in that link, but I thought that Class Mobs represented a truly novel idea centering around the development of an alternative educational system that supported learners, accounted for what we know about teaching/learning, encouraged corporations to extend traditional higher education, and empowered individuals to have a say in their education.

 

Invitation to the first AECT RTD Professional Development Webinar

Posted on October 9th, by George Veletsianos in sharing. 5 comments

You are invited to attend the first  Professional Development webinar sponsored by the AECT Research & Theory Division!

Presenter:
Dr. David Merrill
Instructional Effectiveness Consultant & Professor Emeritus at Utah State University

Date/Time:
October 17, 2013 at 1:30 P.M. (EDT)

Registration Link:
https://cc.readytalk.com/r/wmg0r8xig6wl&eom

Topic:
My Hopes for the Future of Instructional Technology

Description:
This short paper presents reasons for three hopes for the future.  First, it is time to move the training of instructional designers to the undergraduate level.  Second, I hope that graduate programs in instructional technology will emphasize both the science of instruction — including theory development and research — and the technology of instruction, including using principles, models and theories derived from research as a foundation for designing instructional design tools that can be used to design instruction that is more effective, efficient and engaging. Third, it is time to restructure  master’s programs to prepare  students to manage designers-by-assignment (DBA) and to prepare them in designing instructional design tools that would enable DBA to produce more effective, efficient and engaging instructional materials.

Enilda Romero-Hall, Ph.D.
Min Kyu Kim, Ph.D.
Research & Theory Division Professional Development Facilitators

AERA 2013 reflections

Posted on May 5th, by George Veletsianos in open, scholarship, work. 5 comments

I was at the annual AERA conference last week, held in San Fransisco, CA. My colleagues and I presented the following research and design work:

Instructor Experiences With a Social Networking Site in a Formal Education Setting: Expectations, Frustrations, Appropriation, and Compartmentalization (Royce Kimmons, George Veletsianos, Karen French) – This paper has recently been published.

What Do Learners and Pedagogical Agents Discuss When Given Opportunities for Open-Ended Dialogue? (George Veletsianos,  Gregory Russell) – This paper is in press. It presents a content analysis of conversations between learners and virtual characters supported by an AI engine.

A First Iteration of a Pedagogical Model for Teaching Computer Science Through Problems (George Veletsianos, Tara Craig, Bradley Beth, Gregory Russell, Calvin Lin) – We have developed an “introduction to computer science” course for high schools that is blended and guided by a problem-based pedagogy. In this presentation, we described our design process and findings after deploying the course in 6 high schools (see project website and other posts on my blog relating to this).

cs_project_engage

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I was happy to see that AERA has finally caught up and sought to integrate technology throughout the conference. Twitter was encouraged and a select few sessions were streamed. Even though there is room to do much more, I appreciate that it is difficult for large organizations to change. I suspect that Chris Greenhow was involved in making this happen in her role as Communications Director of Division C. I am particularly eager for AERA to start thinking more broadly about technology and openness though… a lot of people are.

* * *

While at San Fransisco, I took half a day to visit Stanford University. My friend and colleague Amy Collier invited me to spend some time with the Lytics Lab, and I am glad I did. I enjoyed hearing everyone talk about their projects, but most of all I LOVED the students’ dedication, excitement, and eagerness to help and support each other. On a related note: You might have heard me bemoan the lack of educator participation in recent initiatives. If so, you can probably appreciate the fact that I am excited that the Lytics Lab is an interdisciplinary team of people that includes educators and learning scientists.

* * *

Some of the sessions that I attended were  extraordinary and the presenter’s passion for their work was evident. Some sessions weren’t as great, but I suspect that this is an outcome of the traditional 15 minute talk. Other than that, I had a lot of great experiences at the conference. I can honestly say that I’ll remember this one with fondness for a number of reasons. Not only did I get to celebrate Brendan Calandra’s birthday, but I also got to congratulate my friend Brant Miller for getting one of his photographs on the cover of Nature. Woot!

brant_nature

Educational Technology and Related Education Conferences January-June 2013

Posted on November 26th, by George Veletsianos in sharing. 7 comments

The last version of Clayton Wright’s list of educational technology conferences that I posted on this blog was for January to June 2011.  Clayton has once again provided the community with an updated (extensive) list of educational technology conferences for the upcoming 6 months (Jan-Jun 2013): Clayton Wright Educational Technology and Education Conferences January to June 2013 (.doc)

Educational Technology and Related Education Conferences January- June 2011

Posted on January 15th, by George Veletsianos in sharing. 1 Comment

Clayton Wright has once again provided us with his extensive list of educational technology conferences for the upcoming 6 months (Jan-Jun 2011). If you haven’t explored this list yet, here’s your chance to explore new conferences and lose yourself in places you might want to visit.

Clayton Wright Educational Technology and Education Conferences January to June 2011 (Word document)