This post is my overview of the Innovate Conference held this past week at The Ohio State University (OSU) in Columbus Ohio. The first keynote of the day was Jim Grooms from the University of Mary Washington. I’ve been familiar with Jim’s work in the open digital storytelling course called DS106 (that you can sign up for here). The DS106 concept is “everything you do online is a story”. Jim fervently believes in totally open educational experiences and open platforms. My favorite quote from him is “At its best, openness is an ethos not a license. It’s an approach to teaching and learning that builds community online and offline.
One of the interesting presentations of the day was on iPads in the Classroom, although perhaps a more appropriate title would have been iPads In and Outside the Classroom. This biology class divided the students into groups of 4 and gave each group an iPad to work on the day of class. Using tools such as Apple Configurator, iTunesU, Notability and Box, the students are given an assignment to work through. Some of the activities take place outdoors and involve documenting plants, the iPad is perfectly suited for this and by limiting the software that is installed on the iPad the students stay focused on the assignment.
One panel of the day that was surprising in its appearance and candor was one featuring three undergraduate students relating their “user experience” with technology in the classroom and online activities. They stressed a desire to follow their grades online and for faculty to post course materials online. They were undecided the use of discussion boards but did like the idea of posting short lecture materials online and leaving more time in the classroom for interaction with the teacher and course activities.
I could go on and on about the ideas shared at the conference and its incredible value. Did you know this annual conference is free to attend? I invite you to look at this year’s recordings here and mark your calendars for next year when the conference will be on March 25 and 26, 2014. Kudos to all the folks at OSU who I know must put a lot of work into this magnificent event for everyone interested in technology and teaching.