Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Day 1

EdMedia Blog 2017

Notes DAY 1

I arrived in the US National Capital after a long night of flying and felt the 33 degree heat -- quite a contrast to the cool, rainy weather we'd been experiencing in Vancouver. The first day, June 19, only had a conference executive meeting at 5pm and some potential Smithsonian tours, but I opted to take a foot tour of Alexandria, Virginia near the Westin Alexandria  up to the Sheraton where we had reciprocal swimming pool access. I enjoyed a short, but cool swim and enjoyed floating off the jet lag. The walk was an hour there enjoying used book stores and taking in the architecture and potted plants people created on the street outside their front doors.  I stumbled across a Trader Joe's and got the requisite salads and hustled back to my first executive meeting. 

Last year at #EdMedia2016 I offered some feedback after attending off and on since 2009 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The team was so open minded, they invited me to join them throughout the winter and #EdMedia 2017 + to contribute my ideas moving forward. Meeting the team was thrilling as I had seen them in action, but never had the opportunity to be face-to-face at a boardroom table with them. 

Part of the meeting involved going over the program and assigning jobs introducing speakers, award winners, and setting up poster session evaluations. 
It was decided that I'll be introducing award winners and evaluating posters. I am so honoured to be part of this team. Other duties involve attending hosted lunches and Special Interest Group (SIG) lunch tables. What a great way to really get even more involved in the conference and engage with delegates. Over the last few years I had noticed how being a presenter opened doors to the conference because I had this new level of involvement going through the process of being a presenter as opposed to attending more passively as an observer and "student". I can see that this year I'll be learning from an even new perspective. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2017
The morning sessions began at 8am attending and helping host the "Newcomer's Welcome" event. After highlights are presented, the delegates do a kind of speed dating activity.  We were put into two lines facing one another and introducing ourselves for about one minute five or six times to the next person who rotated past us. I instantly connected with some people who were graphic designers, researchers who study how to engage learners in online environments, and a woman who was to share the consent waiver from her university (NC State). 
It never ceases to amaze me how that this kind of environment creates synergy with people you have never met. You can quickly find things in common with people and continue relationships over the years or politely move on and meet somebody else. However, I find it is more the rule than the exception that everyone you meet here has a fascinating research project or is supervising researchers and has something new to share or an inquisitive mind which is open to growth and innovation. This is definitely an environment in which I thrive. 

Immediately following the newcomers orientation session and a nice cup of Joe, we were introduced to the keynote speaker for the day: Richard Culatta (@rec54). His topic was "Using Technology to Personalize Learning". Richard was a topknot presenter who has been selected to give Ted talks, and his slides were a helpful addition to the words and ideas he presented.  
Just like the conference I attended at my polytechnic last week, Richard cautioned educators to not use a cookie-cutter approach to their learners' needs. He had a great metaphor of us imagining going to the doctor and the doctor prescribing a "yellow" pill on Mondays and a "green" pill on Tuesdays, for example, that would suit all medical needs. He advised for all learners that we do formative evaluations and get to know the students so we can create an environment that could work for them and optimize their learning. 
Richard shared "A White Paper Creating a Shared Understanding of PersonalizedLearning for Rhode Island"  available at and encouraged us to read it. The paper is freely available through a simple Google search as well. 
He reminded us that our goal is to prepare students to be owners of their learning and cultivate learners to be able to use technology actively instead of passively to be successful. Using technology actively includes the following uses:
  1. Interactions with experts
  2. Global connections
  3. Design
  4. Peer collaboration
  5. Coding
  6. Immersive simulation
  7. Media production. 
It would seem to me that today's students have the whole world at their fingertips and with the right skills can access information and exchange information and ideas instead of being seen as people who just spend all their time looking at their devices. The opportunity for them, I have noticed, can be overwhelming and stressful, yet they have such amazing opportunities to find partners worldwide and move beyond their own neck of the woods. Essentially Richard posited we must use power to enable and not divide. 

Wednesday Presentations

Guide to Designing Subject Outlines. Jorge Reyna. University of Technology, Sydney, Australia

Jorge refers to subject outlines as we in BC would a course outline. He has additional information that he suggests to include on our outlines at BCIT. 
  1. Using a conversational style in active voice in the introduction of the outline
  2. Including teaching and learning strategies which include some but not necessarily all of the following
    1.  Preparation before the classroom (flipped classroom and how this is linked to face-to-face sessions
    2. How students will engage in active and collaborative learning during the classroom, lab or practical 
    3. How the Learning Management System (LMS) will be used to support student’s learning 
    4. How formative and summative feedback will be given to the students 
    5. What additional tools and resources will be available for them such as library workshops, software download, and so on.
  3. Additional support for the subject should be explained to students, for example, library workshops on citation management, software required and IT support, Open Educational Resources (OER), training and so on.
  4. Assessment is also evolving with personalized learning environments. Verbatim off the paper are recommendations as follows: 
    1. "Each assessment task should be linked to the relevant subject learning objectives, Faculty/School graduate attributes and ideally with Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOS). Constructive alignment ensures that learning outcomes are aligned with assessments and task the students will perform during the semester. This approach is globally required in higher education institutions, as it will ensure the quality of teaching and learning (Biggs & Collis, 2014). Authentic assessment is a task that represents a real-life scenario and should satisfy the following criteria:
    2. [sic]Transferable to real-life situations
    3. Requires problem-solving and higher order thinking skills
    4. Produce [sic] does not reproduce knowledge
    5. Requires group work and collaboration
    6. Promotes depth of knowledge
    7. Provides multiple indicators of learning (Herrington & Herrington, 1998)."
  5. "Good examples of authentic assessments can be considered: 
    1. Conduct, write and present an experiment
    2. Develop a digital media presentation
    3. Write a grant application
    4. Analyse, discuss and present a data set
    5. Develop a brochure to communicate to the public
    6. Write a blog posting
    7. Design a website
    8. Produce an audio podcast
    9. Produce a conference poster".

Reducing the anxiety for students by taking pressure off of final exams, unless an Institute has a required policy for exams, can benefit students according to Jorge and others. Students of English as an Additional Language can also benefit from a flipped classroom model giving them time to prepare in advance getting them up to speed with native writers and speakers. "Authentic assessments could disadvantage students with visual impairment, dyslexia, anxiety or physical disabilities."  More and more we are being asked to be more inclusive of all learners in our formative assessments. 

Creating environments for more student success not only increases student engagement but also empowers academics to build their evidence-based practises. 

Finally, the new way of producing a course outline according to this author is to "consider having a subject
outline in a different format such as blended media format
(talking head + still images) or interactive presentation with a
table of contents. Students will have a more visual experience,
and it is likely they will engage in it." 

Attending conferences such as these brings new ideas and new discussions to include more learning styles. And what can be wrong with that?!

Free topics lunch
As a request by the executive committee, while the topic I chose to chair was supposedly facetious, I took the subject seriously and asked people about their presentation habits and why they chose this topic to join me. The topic was, "Don't speak with me, I'm busy preparing my presentation.  I asked the delegates at the table how they prepared for their presentation.
Two gentlemen from Turkey, Hasan and Omer, had slightly different perspectives.  Hasan stated that he made six application for presentations and papers, but was only excepted for five! These five papers were sponsored by him, yet written by his PhD students, and their presentations slides were given to him by the students who were unable to attend. He said that he knew the topic inside and out and had no trouble presenting on the topic. Omer, on the other hand, said he attends the conference for the networking and the face-to-face experiences and was able to evade the topic of presentations specifically. The two other women who joined us said their topics were old hat, and they were very comfortable presenting and didn't need to spend last-minute tweaks on their presentation. I wonder if more newly minted academics were the ones for whom this topic was addressing. On the other hand, when I present, I spend a lot of the day of the presentation practising and focussing on a fantastic delivery and engaging presentation that goes beyond just the facts. I wonder if there would be a big difference between the styles and the level of audience satisfaction and engagement.   I have been told that I am an excellent presenter, and I know I spend a lot of time and energy perfecting the nuances of not just the message, but especially the engaging delivery.

Afternoon Sessions
As my role as part of the executive has evolved, I was asked to escort some attendees to and from the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum
The museum closes at five pm daily and delegates would miss out of the opportunity if their conference attendance were only during the days of the conference. Working in an afternoon of what the Smithsonian has to offer is definitely an additional bonus to attending the conference. Seeing artifacts of air and space technologies over 100 years old was such a moving experience, and delegates were able to still meet as they commuted over to Washington by rail/metro. One of the advantages of attending conferences that are not only online or on our own campuses as someone mentioned at lunch was academic travel and face-to-face meetings. 
Well we began our troop numbering 18, we were but two who opted to return to the hotel. 
That was a pretty rewarding and awesome task for me to be asked to do this job on behalf of the committee. 
I came back to my room and reflected on the day and joined my colleagues for an hour at the dance and socialization time in the evening. I am back in my room working on this blog and realizing, once again, the amazing opportunity that my Institute has provided for me and hopefully my colleagues reading this and working with me in the future

I look forward to another engaging day in Washington, DC tomorrow.

PS I know there is a misspelled homonym in this blog that I can no longer find, so please, let me know by contacting me!

Best regards,

Sent from my iPad

No comments:

Post a Comment