I was invited to speak to a large group of people responsible for marketing and communications across Penn State. This was a relatively large group of about 90 really interested people coming from all campus locations to learn about what is going on with University Relations. I spent a little over an hour sharing the embedded presentation and answering questions. It was a terrific audience that really seemed interested and excited about the ideas we were sharing.
Today I was lucky to present a session to the Allegheny Intermediate Unit Superintendents of schools. It was a two hour session that shared insights into student trends, use of technology, and their associated affordances. It was a very fun session and the discussion after it has left me with some lingering questions to explore. One question in particular that struck a chord with me was related to what my vision would be for the 9th grade classroom my duaghter walks into. That is a good 7 or so years away, so it gives ample time for change to happen. What do schedules look like, what does the use of social computing look like, how are teachers/parents/students staying connected. Big question with lots of room to think on.
I had an Op/Ed published in the print and online editions of the Christian Science Monitor today. The piece looks at the rise of participatory culture fueled by web 2.0. I use the example of the youtube video, "Charlie bit my finger - again" as the starting point to share thoughts on how these platforms are fueling the potential for global, ongoing conversations.
I was asked to present during ITS' Forum series about how ETS and TLT are working to engage our communities. I shared thoughts on our use of Twitter, blogs, wikis, youtube, and other social tools to connect with members of our extended community. We've taken the approach of trying to connect in as many ways as possible -- using a mix of face to face and web I feel like we're making progress in getting people moving together. I think one of the things that really resonated was the story of how we took advantage of the ETS Wiki to plan the Learning Design Summer Camp in the open. I think people were surprised to see how interested people were in helping form the event.
On Friday I presented to the Association of Opinion Page Editors conference in State College, PA. This group was a very interesting and engaging collection of people from the newspaper world. I spent a little more than an hour talking about new ways to connect with and engage new audiences. My overall claim was that there is a new dynamic happening online -- a dynamic fueled by the social web. I spent time discussing how we see both college students and teens as a demographic that must be engaged in new ways. I shared insights into Twitter, blogging, and the explosive nature of conversations on YouTube. It was well received and I enjoyed the overall conversation very much.
Today I will be delivering the lunchtime address at Penn State's College of Arts and Architecture's Designs on eLearning conference. I am a little anxious as I am integrating quite a bit of media into this talk. The audience is slightly outside of my typical range, so I will try to make the point that the use of digital media for expression is the basis for the new classroom conversation. I am however looking forward to it.
I had the pleasure of spending a couple of hours talking with the Faculty at Penn State Mont Alto about our students and ways to engage them. It was a great time! We spent our time looking at PSU and national trends about students' technology use and explored new ways to integrate technology into teaching and learning. I wrote about it on my personal blog.
Scott McDonald and I presented our thoughts from our C&I 597C: Disruptive Technologies for Teaching and Learning course at the Learning Design Summer Camp. We shared our feelings about how integrating several layers of social opportunities into the design of the course produced some very interesting and surprising outcomes.
Later this week I will travel to beautiful Madison, WI to take part in an invited panel forum, "Strategic directions for institutional support of blended and distance education." I am presenting with a couple others and we should have a good time. My portion of the talk is related to the work we've been doing to create an infrastructure to support faculty and students in the use of media for digital expression. I am looking forward to visiting Madison and speaking at an event that is more distance education focused. When the talk is complete, I will post a PDF of my slides.
Yesterday I spent an hour sharing stories of how ETS is using social tools to create and engage our communities. The talk was titled, "Engaging Communities" was relatively well attended and seemed to capture the attention of the audience. The best stuff happened during the question and answer period at the end when we got into a real conversation about how we could be thinking more broadly about engaging our audiences. People really seemed to want to discuss Twitter in particular -- the initial reaction is always centered around, "this is the dumbest thing I have heard of." We talked through how Twitter is connected to our primary website and how it has become our number one source of traffic at the ETS site. I think that kind of stunned people. The other thing that stood out was when I showed the ETS is ranked number 2 in search results for "education technology services" ... right behind our friends at Berkeley ... and in front of about 64 million other results. All in all it was an enjoyable hour and am more than happy to share more thoughts from it.