Tuesday, November 29, 2016

EduCause - Anaheim, CA - October 2016

In October this year, just before Halloween, I got to attend one of the largest technology in higher education conference in the country, EduCause, in Anaheim, CA. It was a really amazing conference, and it's also not far from my family, so I got to spend a little bit of time with them as well. Not to mention Disneyland! So first things first, here are some of the big takeaways I got from the conference:

Keynote 1: Susan Caine, Quiet Revolution

The keynotes at this conference were the main reason I wanted to go because they each sounded so interesting in their own way. This one, however, ended up being a funny coincidence, because one night I went to dinner with a friend who lives out there, and she happened to have just finished reading Caine's book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking. Anyway, Caine presented on introversion vs. extroversion and how important it is to embrace both in work and learning. It was a very eye-opening presentation for me personally because I learned that I am an extrovert, and I learned what that really means - as well as what it means for someone to be an introvert. 

DefinitionExtrovert - your "battery" is "charged" by doing something socially demanding. That is, when you do something socially demanding, you are pumped and ready to keep going.

Introvert - your "battery" is "depleted" by doing something socially demanding, no matter how much you enjoy it. That is, even if you really enjoy doing something socially demanding, like going to a party, you are still ready to go home and curl up with a good book or movie when it is over and relax. 

So what's the difference between introversion and shyness?

Not all introverts are shy, and not all shy people are introverts (see definitions above). Introversion refers to how we react to stimulation, whereas shyness refers to a fear of social judgment. 

Tips for working with introverts and extroverts

  • introverts - speak up early
  • introverts - don't curb your enthusiasm
  • extroverts - you can curb your enthusiasm a little bit - be aware of how much you are talking in meetings
  • extroverts - engage introverts 1-on-1 and give them advance notice to prepare
Finally, Caine left us with a question to ponder:

Is personality the next step in diversity and inclusion?

CSUN's AppJam

I went to a really cool session from CSUN (Cal State University at Northridge) about mobile apps. CSUN has a one-to-one tablet initiative in some programs right now, and for a while, they were using standard productivity apps, but in the last couple of years, they started "AppJam," which is a student app-building competition. Students compete by building an app, and then CSUN hires students from the pool of talented students to develop curriculum apps in teams with faculty and instructional designers. So far, this process has resulted in four STEM apps that are free in the app store. 

Personally, I think AppJam is a really cool way to identify talented students for a project like this, and I wonder if something similar could be useful at KSU. 

Keynote 2: Sugata Mitra, The Future of Learning

Sugata Mitra is actually very famous in the education world (if you haven't heard of him), so it was really cool to see him speak in person about his experiments. I don't want to reinvent the wheel by explaining it all here, but here are his TED Talks on his "Hole in the Wall" experiment in which he discovered that children can teach themselves anything and his "School in the Cloud" experiment that is still on-going which is an expansion on the "Hole in the Wall."

I will point out two things I took from his talk:

Why do we assess with exams? "We are preparing our children for employers who have been dead for 100 years."

The glasses question - why are glasses allowed as assistive technology to assess reading, but phones and the Internet are not allowed as assistive technology for other assessments?

Keynote 3: Alex Sheen, Because I Said I Would

Sheen didn't say much about education specifically, but his general message was about making achievable promises and the power in keeping those promises. I definitely recommend looking at his website.

Cool Tools and Websites

Overall, EduCause was a really great conference with tons of good networking opportunities, and it was an interesting conference to attend on my own because it was so large. It certainly helps that it was located in beautiful Anaheim, CA (close enough for my mom to come see me) and was walking distance from Disneyland!
My mom and I in front of Walt Disney's statue :)

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