SoTL Commons 2014 in Savannah: ‘Teaching Without Learning Is Just Talking’

By Stefanie Panke
Editor, Social Software in Education

The 7th SoTL commons conference at Savannah, Georgia, was held from March 26-28, 2014. The annual event is organized by Georgia Southern University. SoTL commons is a small conference; the 2014 edition attracted around 180 participants. The majority of the participants came from small colleges and universities in the southern United States, though the event also had national reach with people from Wisconsin, Louisiana, and the Midwest, as well as a few international attendees from Colombia, South Africa, Sweden, Portugal and Nigeria.

My personal conference highlight was the keynote by Peter Felten, Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning at Elon University. Peter used an amusing and powerful analogy to clarify the question that seems to be a crucial, non-negotiable ingredient of every SoTL gathering: What do we mean by Scholarship of Teaching and Learning?

Peter Felten: ‘Which mutt is the cutest?’ Can you give criteria for cuteness? How about criteria for excellence in SoTL?

Peter Felten: “Which mutt is the cutest?” Can you give criteria for cuteness? How about criteria for excellence in SoTL?

He  characterized SoTL as a mutt discipline — in contrast to the “best in show approach” of disciplinary research. Just as a show dog will be only appreciated by few experts in the breeding trade, disciplinary research often resides in the ivory tower. SoTL has the advantage of being widely accessible to a broader audience. However, it has to define its boundaries to be (accepted as) a scholarly discipline.
To this end, Peter presented five principles, which offer a heuristic framework to characterize any SoTL project:

  1. The inquiry is focused on student learning.
  2. The research is grounded in context — both scholarly discourse and local, organizational environment.
  3. The approach is methodologically sound.
  4. The project is conducted in partnership with students.
  5. The results are appropriately public.

These principles allow for common ground among SoTL inquiries, can help clarify and demystify SoTL to others and ultimately enhance the influence of SoTL. (For more details, see “Principles of Good Practice in SoTL.”)

The talk spurred a debate among the audience, in particular the absence of “teaching” as a perspective in the first principle. What if you are working with faculty to improve their teaching? Peter argued that ultimately every SoTL project aims at improving student learning and referred to Angelo and Cross (1993), who stated that “learning can — and often does occur without teaching but teaching cannot occur without learning; teaching without learning is just talking” (p.3 — see full text at ERIC).

Nancy Chick

Nancy Chick

Peter’s thoughts were taken up by Nancy Chick’s keynote address on the following day. She focused on the question “What is methodologically sound research in SoTL?” As editor of Teaching & Learning Inquiry, the new ISSOTL journal launched in spring 2013, Nancy was in a perfect position to highlight methodological aspects. What sets SoTL apart from disciplinary research is the variety of data sources scholars use to trace learning. Although SoTL projects comprise a wide range of theoretical, methodological, and empirical perspectives, it is crucial to find a good fit between research question and data sources.  Continue reading

New AACE Special Interest Group on ‘Assessing, Designing and Developing E-Learning (ADD)’

By Stefanie Panke
Editor, Social Software in Education

The Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE) has launched a Special Interest Group, “Assessing, Designing and  Developing E-Learning” (ADD). You do not have to be an AACE member or an attendee of previous AACE conferences to  join — though some activities will be tied to the E-Learn 2014 conference to be held in New Orleans from October 27-30, 2014.

The SIG had its inaugural meeting during the AACE E-Learn 2013 conference. If you missed it, review our presentation for collaboration ideas.

ADD3

Based on the discussion during the SIG meeting on Oct. 23, we have initiated first community activities:

  • To facilitate SIG projects, discussions, meetings and publications we want to learn more about your background and interests. Please take 10 minutes (or less) and fill out the survey.
  • We created a LinkedIn group for our SIG members to communicate with each other. Here’s the link to the LinkedIn group – join us there.
  • Are you a member of the AACE network Academic Experts? Learn more about the SIG.

Our next step is to see what information the survey brings in and share this with our SIG. We are excited about the many possibilities for collaboration and look forward to meeting again at E-Learn 2014 in New Orleans. In the meantime, stay connected through ADD SIG events and activities.

Please feel free to share this information with interested peers.

Curtis Ho and Stefanie Panke
Chairs, ADD (Assessing, Designing & Developing E-Learning)

ISSOTL 2013: ‘Doing SoTL Means You Never Have to Say You’re Sorry!’

By Stefanie Panke
Editor, Social Software in Education

The 10th annual conference of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning was held in Raleigh, North Carolina, on October 2–5, 2013, hosted by Elon University’s Center for Engaged Learning (CEL). ISSOTL 2013 attracted approximately 600 participants. Most of the attendees came from universities across the US. Visitors from Canada, Europe, Australia, and other countries added an international flair to the event.

The conference organizers Peter Felten, Jessie Moore and Heidi Ihrig did a remarkable job in bringing together the traditions and values of the SoTL community with innovative ideas and emerging technologies. The conference was preceded by a free online series that featured videos, chats and discussion forums. During the event, participants were able to follow their personalized schedules on their mobile devices using the guidebook conference app.  At the same time, plenary presentations did not rely on Twitter-walls for interaction, but used buzz groups and other small group discussion formats to foster in-depth dialogue and deep processing.

 Schedule, planner and collective photo album: ISSOTL Guidebook App. Click image to enlarge.

Schedule, planner and collective photo album: ISSOTL Guidebook App. Click image to enlarge.

Wednesday, October 2: ‘The 8-track-tape Player of Opening Plenaries’

issotl 02For me, who like most participants did not book an additional pre-conference workshop or symposium, the conference started at 6:30 pm on Wednesday with the initial plenary session. The purpose of the plenary was to bridge from the online pre-conference to the live event, as the moderator Randy Bass (Georgetown University) jokingly explained: “This is not a task that anybody had to do a few years ago, and this is probably not a task that anyone will have to do a few years from now. We are the 8-track-tape player of opening plenaries.”  Continue reading

10th Annual Teaching and Learning Conference at Elon University: Cutting Edge Without Being Trendy

Stefanie Panke, Rob Moore, and Jamar Jones

Stefanie Panke, Rob Moore, and Jamar Jones

By Stefanie Panke, Rob Moore, and Jamar Jones

The 10th Annual Teaching and Learning Conference held on August 15 at Elon University (NC) is a regional event that attracts teachers, instructional designers, curriculum specialists, researchers, and students interested in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). The UNC School of Government instructional support team spent a day of professional development there that proved to be a cornucopia of fresh ideas, concepts and insights.

Morning Plenary Session

R. Michael Paige

R. Michael Paige

The opening keynote featured an inspiringly passionate talk by Michael Paige, Professor Emeritus of International and Intercultural Education at the University of Minnesota. Paige’s keynote raised awareness of the multifaceted and multilayered nature of the concept of intercultural sensitivity. In a nutshell: Every classroom is an intercultural experiment. Learners’ cultural backgrounds, values, and life experiences differ. What does it mean to become intercultural? Diversity and intercultural encounters go beyond different nationalities and include sexual orientations, localities, ethnicities, as well as learning and communication styles. “Who is the role model for us?” asked Paige. “In most societies, this is still really a challenge.” Getting students to transcend ethnocentrism and explore intercultural relations is a demanding pedagogical task. Intercultural sensitivity is not innate but needs to be learned and taught.  It is normal for students to be in denial of cultural patterns and to feel more comfortable in monocultural environments. Paige introduced the Intercultural Development Continuum (IDC) as a useful model to help students navigate intercultural experiences.

fig01

Concurrent Sessions

After the morning plenary, we split up to attend different sessions: Each of us had a few personal highlights.

Stefanie’s Favorites: Authentic Learning , Motivation, and Big Data

Deandra Little and Paul Anderson

Deandra Little and Paul Anderson

Deandra Little and Paul Anderson from Elon University delivered the next talk I attended. The speakers connected their introduction to the keynote and revealed they both recently moved to North Carolina. They asked the audience, “Well, who else is new?” which led to interesting intercultural discoveries. It turned out that Anderson, academic literacy specialist, had worked as a consultant with the University of Bielefeld (Germany) where I completed my PhD.

Anderson and Little defined authentic assignment as asking students to produce intellectual work (at an appropriate level) that mirrors a typical task that practitioners or scholars in the respective discipline perform. Thus, students are placed in a realistic situation where they use the knowledge and skills they are learning in the course to help someone else outside the classroom – not the instructor.  “Think about it from the student’s perspective – you need to write something for someone who already knows more about the subject than you do,” Anderson said, describing the problem of traditional writing assignments. Little explained in more detail their narrative approach towards authentic assignments. The instructors immerse the students in a story in which they use the subject knowledge to help another person or group. This approach comprises seven components: (1) The learning goal of the assignment, (2) the role the student will play, (3) the person (audience) who asks for the student’s assistance, (4) the problem or question, (5) the reason why the audience seeks the student’s help, (6) what the audience will do with the student’s work, and (7) the type of communication (genre) the student will produce to solve the problem.  Continue reading

Sloan-C’s Blended Learning 2013 — Best Yet!

By Jessica Knott
Associate Editor
Editor, Twitter/Facebook

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the Sloan Consortium’s Blended Learning Conference (July 8-9) in beautiful Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I had attended earlier iterations of this event with mixed satisfaction. But when it comes to their face-to-face events, the planning committees and conference chairs seemingly step up their game every year. This conference, chaired by Tanya Joosten (@tjoosten), was one of the best I have ever attended, in person or virtually.

Tanya Joosten

Tanya Joosten, conference chair.

While there, I had the opportunity to give a workshop entitled Visualizing Your Blended Course Design. Those who know me might be giggling a bit as it is common knowledge that my art skills are somewhat mediocre. One might say that my stick figures belong in the wood chipper. But the point of this workshop is to show people that the art isn’t the important part of the process. It doesn’t matter if you produce the most beautiful picture that ever was. What I want is for you to think a little differently about the design of the experience you provide your students.

Too often, we see the word “design” and zero right in on the elements of graphic design. Indeed, in my past, I’ve had people tell me that I’m not an instructional designer because I’m just not that good at the visual aspects. I vigorously disagree. A well-orchestrated teaching activity, executed in an environment spanning face-to-face environments and the virtual world where everything tangible is only tangible because we make it so, requires careful design and planning. We are all designers, even if our artistic skills more closely resemble third grade art class projects than they do the Mona Lisa. I’m proud of every third grade-level piece I produce because of the thought that goes into it.

Conan Heiselt

Conan Heiselt

Drawing lets us think differently. It gets us away from what we know and allows us to use different parts of our brain. It makes us see our content in new ways. It lets us explore frameworks without the pressure of choosing “the right one.” A former colleague, Conan Heiselt, taught me that when you’re looking at a big, white, blank piece of paper, the first thing you should do is mess it up. This removes even more of the pressure to be perfect. I have incorporated this idea and found that he is absolutely right. Participants laugh and look at me like I’m crazy, but it’s often the point in the workshop where they begin to let go and have fun. This was no different at the blended conference. Workshop participant Brandi Leming (@BMPLearning) documented some of her thinking on Twitter. For me, the coolest part of the whole thing is looking around and seeing inside the brains of 20 – 60 different workshop participants; everyone visualizing differently, different pictures, motion, thoughts and structure.

Of course, for some, this workshop just simply doesn’t connect. Maybe the drawing is too stressful, or I am just unable to make the connections for them. Heck, I’ve been flat out told that drawing your ideas was “stupid and a waste of my time.” That’s okay too. I think this workshop went well, and several people told me so. I’m always curious about what the others thought. Wouldn’t it be awesome to know what the people you’re teaching are thinking as you’re teaching them? The best thing about working in the field of education is that right to explore, question, challenge, and finally settle on what’s best for you and your students. This is one of the things that the Sloan blended conference did really well this year. Continue reading

Esri 2013 – The Best Conference I’ve Attended This Year

The absolute best conference that I have attended this year is the Esri Educators Conference, San Diego, July 6–9, 2013. Note that the educators also participated in the main conference, Esri International User Conference, also in San Diego, July 8–12, 2013. The big conference is also online.

This photo captures the essence of the educator's conference.

This photo captures the essence of the Esri Education GIS (geographic information system) Conference.

In the days before the main conference, the educators’ conference is one of many mini-sessions. These groups quietly gather in separate meeting places. They are long enough to be meaningful.

esri 01

The educator’s conference is different from any other conference I have attended. It is small and intimate. The icing on the cake for this conference was that six educators were picked from their videos to tell their GIS stories. They shared them and freely interacted with the audience. The stories were moving, diverse and informative.

There was plenty of time after the sessions ended for meetings and networking. This conference allows one to meet professors, to network with other teachers, national and international, and to gain practice in GIS skills with hands-on sessions and guidance. We had an un-conference section. There were also educator blogs and skill workshop sessions.  Continue reading

MIT LINC 2013: ‘Consistent but Stupid’

Jim ShimabukuroBy Jim Shimabukuro
Editor

[Updated 6 July 2013]

I attended the June 17 LINC 20131 morning and afternoon sessions via webcasts: the afternoon session live and the morning session on demand on July 32. I was especially interested in the morning session, “Four Perspectives on MOOCs,” featuring keynote addresses by Sanjay Sarma, director of MITx and the MIT Office of Digital Learning; Sir John Daniel, former president of The Open University (UK) and of the Commonwealth of Learning; Anant Agarwal, president of edX; and Tony Bates, research associate with Contact North, Ontario’s Distance Education and Training Network.

I expected some courteous differences of opinion but hoped for some heat. For most of the 3-hour 50-minute (3:49:44) session, I got what I expected, gracious statements of differences but no direct confrontations. Then, as the end of the open panel discussion drew near, at the 3:22:54 mark in the video, Dan Hastings, MIT Dean for Undergraduate Education and panel chair, said, “I’m going to insert a question from the Twitter feed, which is, will MOOC certification soon become meaningful educational currency?”

This was the spark, and what followed was a brief clash that lit up the issue of academic legitimacy for MOOCs that all were very careful to dance around throughout the discussion. The question, in this case, was: If a student, who has not been admitted to MIT, successfully completes the MOOC version of an MIT course at a distance, shouldn’t s/he receive academic credit that could count toward an MIT degree?

The 3:42 video below captures the exchanges among the panelists.

Agarwal was the first to respond, followed by an exchange between Daniel and Sarma, pictured in the video. Daniel said, “I think there’s still a fundamental question of intellectual honesty. I like the idea of the two funnels [hard in, easy out vs. easy in, hard out] but there’s nevertheless a disconnect in that one funnel [F2F MIT course] leads you to a degree and the other [MOOC equivalent of the course] leads you to a certificate.” He then asked about the 15-year-old high school student in Mongolia who aced Agarwal’s MOOC and will be entering MIT in the fall: Will he receive credit for the course or will he have to take it all over again?

Sarma replied that the Mongolian student would not receive MIT credit for the MOOC course, and Daniel replied, “At least you’re consistent, even if it’s stupid.”  Continue reading

ISTE 2013: Successful — but Too Big?

ISTE 2013 (San Antonio, June 23-26, 2013) defeated me. It was hot, too hot; it was big, too big — except that I am sure it generated a lot of money. The attendance was huge, national and international and local. The venue was so large that it made for sore feet.

There were busses to take you to the center, but the weather was so hot that you would rather walk to the site than wait 20 minutes for the next bus. Some meetings were so distant from each other that it was time impossible to get to the sessions.

Many people had just a few participants in their sessions. I felt like I do when in the airline lanes. These lanes would be: Vendors, Corporate Sponsors, Officers of ISTE, SIGS, Youth, SETDA. State Affiliates, Distinguished Apple Educators, and so on. Separation by funding, importance. And lost in the mix were new teachers who come to learn, make associations, and to benefit from ISTE membership.

A strand of kids were involved. There are people who think all kids are digital immigrants. I don’t fight them. I tolerate them because they have the microphone and most of the funding. Perhaps ISTE is growing a new audience. The kids were everywhere, too. They did poster sessions and workshops, too.

A number of SIGs were involved. (See photos below.) We are at this time volunteers. We had a SIG open house. That’s a good thing because the meetings all overlap. Significant interest groups work throughout the year and do professional development for ISTE. It was a good thing to see the people you talk to, if only briefly, in the course of the meetings. We networked at an Open House.

There were SETDA meetings, state affinity meetings. There were SIG-sponsored workshops and keynotes and bloggers’ cafes. There were international gatherings… Does it sound like all too much? It was!

There were tourist distractions, but they were crowded too. Very crowded. I walked less steps in Rome. People in San Antonio walk all over the place, not just left or right. I fully expected someone to fall into the San Antonio River.

I think this is the very first time I gave up on the exhibit hall. It was too big, too many exhibitors, and crowded. I tried.

I have a black belt in exhibit halls, but this time I lost.

A disappointment. The first keynote was “entertainment” on gamification

I did not go to Richard Culleta’s keynote. I saw him at SETDA (San Antonio, June 21-24, 2013) and got his message about data. Boring. He did reference that the groups he profiled were funded from Race to the Top.

Twenty thousand people were at ISTE. I guess it was a marketing success.

People in line for Surface tablets. Microsoft gave away 10,000 Surface tablets. I wrote about that event here. There were tears of joy here in the room where they were giving them away.

People in line for Surface tablets. Microsoft gave away 10,000 tablets. I wrote about that event here. There were tears of joy here in the room where they were giving them away.

Continue reading

Stone Soup with Curt Bonk: Armchair Indiana Jones in Action

By Stefanie Panke
Editor, Social Software in Education

On May 15, 2013, I had the opportunity to attend the Stone Soup Conference, a professional development event at Meredith College in Raleigh. The day featured three talks by Dr. Curt Bonk, Professor of Instructional Systems Technology at Indiana University. The day was centered on major themes of Curt’s work: open learning, networking, creative instructional techniques and motivational strategies: “Quality, plagiarism, copyright and assessment are the four topics everyone wants to know about before considering online learning. I am not going to talk about any of these. I am going to talk about pedagogy,” he clarified in the beginning.

Fig.1: Curt Bonk at the Meredith Stone Soup Conference, May 15, 2013.

Fig.1: Curt Bonk at the Meredith Stone Soup Conference, May 15, 2013.

Curt explored the development of educational technologies over the past decades – which he depicted as a journey toward openness. Central to his credo, “Today, anyone can learn anything from anyone at any time,” is the vast amount of high-quality material available on the web. Ten years ago, the use of open learning, sharing and educational technologies was met with great resistance. Today, educators have access to sites like Merlot, Connexions, World Digital Library and Smithsonian education resources. This allows teachers to explore new roles as curators of learning: “It is our job to mine and mind high quality material – and ignore the rest.” Obviously, this does not mean that teachers merely point students toward online resources. On the contrary, Curt introduced an 80/20 rule of thumb: “Approximately 20% of students are self-directed learners; the others need our guidance.”

Throughout the day, Curt connected current technology trends with the history of education. As one of his role models, he named Charles Wedemeyer, founder of the Open University UK and author of the book “Learning at the Back Door” (1981) that predicts the impact of e-learning on education. Another example of trends prevalent today that were predicted in the 1980s is the video “Apple Knowledge Navigator” (1987).

Continue reading

When Attending a Virtual Conference, It’s the Little Things

By Jessica Knott
Associate Editor
Editor, Twitter

Like Jim and Stefanie, I attended TCC and SLOAN-C. Both conferences left me with big ideas and a lot to take with me into my professional practice (not to mention posts for ETC Journal, which will be rolling out in the coming weeks). But before I dive in, let me take a brief detour to direct your attention to my colleague Stefanie Panke’s write-up of her TCC experiences and state that I agree wholeheartedly with her assertion about badging. As of this year, I am sold on it. Additionally, I encourage you to read Jim’s words on session selection and his call for the flipped conference as a solution to virtual conference overload. Their reviews were amazingly well done, inspiring me to take a trip back to the drawing board for some deeper pondering on themes and my experiences.

Stefanie Panke

Stefanie Panke

Last year, I found the badging experience to be somewhat superficial, but I believe now that I was approaching the whole thing somewhat incorrectly. Watching TCC 2013 unfold and seeing the interactions between attendees, I have a better understanding of the values badging provides. I saw people make personal connections based on the badges they had earned, and I saw their virtual experiences become personal ones. This is not a feeling I had at SLOAN Emerging Technologies, despite a more active Twitter back channel.

Now, as the true focus of this post, I’d like to discuss the pros and cons of the two conference experiences. I am a virtual conference veteran, but found that the close proximity of these two events provides an interesting comparative look at how little touches make attendees feel at home and connected.

Laura Pasquini

Laura Pasquini

The biggest pro of both conferences was by far the people. While I felt lost most of the time in the Emerging Tech experience, with a large, hard to wield PDF of offerings and e-mails from vendors asking me to come visit their booths and thanking me for rich conversations that were never had, the Twitter back channel provided an excellent mechanism for grounding myself and allowing my brain to focus on what I was learning. Laura Pasquini (@laurapasquini) wrote an excellent blog post of her experiences at the conference. Though she attended in person, her perspectives are pertinent for those present and virtual.

Continue reading

My Spring of Discontent: A Proposal for Flipped Conferences

Jim ShimabukuroBy Jim Shimabukuro
Editor

ET4 Online — Sloan-C’s 6th Annual International Symposium for Emerging Technologies for Online Learning, April 9-11, 2013 — was everything you could ask for in a conference. The number of presentations was mind-boggling. I was able to take in just a few. One was by Robbie K. Melton, associate vice chancellor of eLearning and a full tenured professor at Tennessee State University. She talks about “Impact and Transformation of Mobilization in Education: Emerging Smart Phones & Tablets Innovations” (10 Apr. 2013), but I have no doubt that she could probably talk about anything and get her audience to buy in. She strides the floor, mingling with her audience.

Robbie K. Melton

Robbie K. Melton

Her voice is vibrant, her presence is compelling. She has you hanging on every word. You know that she probably has outstanding teacher awards covering all four walls of her office. In a debate, you’re sure her opponents would probably end up cheering for her. One of the innovations she mentions allows professors to override the mobile devices that students bring to classrooms. With this gadget, professors can maintain control in their classrooms even in this BYOD era. However, you know she doesn’t need it in her classrooms. She’s that good.

Kim Coon

Kim Coon

Another standout speaker was Kim Coon, executive vice-president for strategic partnerships at Comcourse, Inc. While Melton was hot, Coon was, well, cool. His talk was on “Making the Next Big Thing Happen, When Nobody Believes You Can: Moving from Idea, to Consensus, to Implementation” (9 Apr. 2013). He, too, mingles with the audience, carrying an extra mike for audience members to use. He’s a master at engagement. He gets the audience involved. He remembers the names and comments of those who have picked up the mike, and he integrates them into his talk, almost seamlessly, like a magician.  Continue reading

Time Out at TCC 2013: How Social Media Saved the Day

By Stefanie Panke
Editor, Social Software in Education

Last week 1000 attendees enjoyed three days packed with information and discussion at the 18th Annual TCC Worldwide Online Conference, held from April 16-18, 2013. The acronym TCC stands for Technology, Colleges and Community. Organized by the University of Hawaii, TCC is the oldest running worldwide online conference designed for university and college practitioners. Addressees include faculty, academic support staff, counselors, student services personnel, students, and administrators.

As usual, my review is by no means an authoritative summary but comprises an eclectic collection of talks and topics I found particularly interesting as well as general observations of the conference’s atmosphere and features.

Day 1 (April 16):  Technical Hiccups, Engaging Presenters

TCC 2013 started with the GAU* for an online event: The conference site was down. Surprisingly, the impact was not as devastating as one would think. The social media team quickly rose to the occasion and posted the link to an alternative entry page on Facebook and Twitter. Social Media saved the day!

panke01

The first session I attended dealt with the question of how to approach the challenge of training faculty in using instructional technologies. Sher Downing, Executive Director for Online Academic Services (OAS) in the School of Business at Arizona State University, presented her strategies in the well-received talk “Ways to Train Faculty.” To facilitate online learning, the OAS team developed a comprehensive faculty training package that comprises innovative formats such as “hit the road” one-on-one training in faculty offices, online and interactive training and certification, faculty blogs, faculty roundtables and informal chats “on the dean’s patio.” Especially the latter seem to be an ideal space for discussing ideas, visions and problems among faculty and instructional designers.

Continue reading

Professional Cohorts: A Little Help From Your Friends

By Jessica Knott
Associate Editor
Editor, Twitter

Cohort I

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Educause Midwest Regional Conference in Chicago, Illinois. While there, I attended a session by Brian Paige, IT Director of Calvin College, Bo Wandschneider, CIO (Chief Information Officer) of Queen’s University, and Melissa Woo, Vice Provost for Information Services and CIO at the University of Oregon entitled “Creating Peer Mentoring Networks for Leadership Development.” Calling themselves a “cohort,” these three, and others they have picked up since their initial meeting, have become a support group of sorts for each other as they navigate careers in leadership positions in the higher education field.

Bo Wandschneider, Melissa Woo, Pete Hoffswell, and Dan Ewart.

Bo Wandschneider, Melissa Woo, Pete Hoffswell, and Dan Ewart.

I asked them some questions about their experience, and, in true cohort fashion, they collaborated together in a Google document to answer. The following responses are the collaborative effort of Paige, Wandschneider, and Woo, as well as Pete Hoffswell of Davenport University and Dan Ewart of the University of Idaho.

What drew you to the people you ultimately grouped with?

What drew us to each other were our commonalities. We’re all in a more-or-less similar stage in our career progressions. As such, we face similar challenges and had a lot in common that we wanted to discuss. Currently four of the five of us are CIOs (and the rest of us are encouraging the fifth!). Interestingly only one of us was a CIO at the time of joining the group. Three of us became CIOs during the time we’ve been in the group. An additional motivating factor for one of the group’s members is that he’d seen presentations given by some of the members of the group and was excited about the chance to explore their ideas further. However, what’s probably most important and the one thing that really drew the people in the group to each other was the willingness to share and trust.  Continue reading

Wireless EdTech 2012, Augmented Reality Device, Infographics on Ed Tech, Broadband Deployment

“The Future of Education Is Wireless” — according to the Wireless EdTech Conference 2012, which was held in Washington, D.C., October 10-12. Why? “Mobile is innovative, affordable and provides 24/7 access to a seemingly endless amount of resources. That’s why there are more mobile subscriptions than toothbrushes. From low-income urbanites, to the suburban upper-class, to the poorest of poor in rural areas of the world, mobile connectivity has the power to transform learning in a 21st century environment” (conference site).

Then they go about showing, sharing and introducing policy, educational performance and international examples. There are powerful examples, and you really get up close and personal to the people who present and share their ideas.

I attended the conference. It’s the one conference that makes me want to attend all of the sessions. I usually go for the education section and the policy sessions. The conference is star-studded with people who know education and who are in touch with the pulse of the nation — educators, pupils, school board leaders, and policy makers. It’s a great conference to do powerful networking with, to name a few, the new president of ISTE, influential people from the Smithsonian and the wireless industry, and tried and true leaders like Dr. Chris Dede.

If international is your interest, here are a couple of videos for you:

Continue reading