posted in: Conferences | 5

Two groups from UT Arlington’s Professional Learning Community (PLC), Tech Tools and Retooling the Core, traveled to Denver to participate in the Teaching Professor Technology Conference October 10-12. Alec Couros from the University of Regina, Canada gave an informative, enjoyable plenary address Friday evening on Embracing Social Networks for Teaching and Learning. We learned, we laughed and we cried. It was a great way to jumpstart the conference in addition to discussion over dinner where we had time to share stories and to get to know our fellow PLC’ers a little bit better. Saturday morning, Tim Wilson, another Canadian, from the University of Western Ontario, provided insight on brain function, memory, and learning. Making Sense of the Neuroscience Behind Learning is truly a vast frontier that has only just begun to be explored. Truly fascinating concepts.Then it was off to the sessions!

Please share your thoughts on the overall experience, highlights, thought-provoking ideas, what you took away from sessions that might not have been ideal, tools or ideas that are attractive for your teaching and/or research, networking experiences, or any other aspect you would like to comment on.

5 Responses

  1. Lynn Cope

    The conference was amazing! Many conferences I have attended in the past have good speakers in the beginning but as the conference proceeds, the information becomes less interesting. Not so at this conference. I was enthralled all the way from beginning to end, learning, learning, learning until I thought my brain would explode. One of the most helpful sessions was a round table in which various participants would demonstrate creative apps and tools used in the classroom. I could not believe how many apps there were (most were free) to spice up the classroom and actively engage students. I feel like I’ve been in a cave all these years. Where was I when all this was happening?

  2. Mike Killian

    The conference had a focus on the application and implementation of technology in the classroom and during online instruction. While most conferences may have an abstract or conceptual approach to these topics, this conference had a concerted effort to demonstrate technology and offer concrete solutions and applications. Enriching assignments and instruction through the use of different apps, online resources, or instructional techniques were valuable. For me, having those particular examples and seeing them demonstrated gave me a clear picture of how I would change my instructional model while teaching an admittedly difficult and otherwise unpopular class such as undergraduate research methods. I don’t think I’ve walked away from a conference needing to process what I had been shown or take the time to practice these new technologies and practical uses.

  3. Diane Galloway

    It’s a few weeks past the conference and what I gained by attending continues to motivate me to use and search out technology. I thought there were some sessions that promoted tech applications that were childish to use in a college class (i.e. PowToon). I think it’s important that we not sell-out to apps that are not ‘game changers’ in the world of higher order thinking and engagement.
    I’m using Kahoot! in my classes and pre-assessment and review. The spread sheet can be good data. In my grad class with required presentation I quickly got smart and now I have another student creating a Kahoot for the following week.

  4. Soyla Santos

    I have so many notes from #TPtech14. I have been researching the implementation of gamification in a college setting and the information provided at the #TPLevelUp session was very helpful. They had created a online game through their LMS to assist with faculty orientation training. Their results were impressive and the participants seemed to enjoy the process. I also look forward to utlizing tools like QPR codes, Airpano.com or videoscribe for some assignments.

  5. Laurel Mayo

    I enjoyed the cooler weather in Denver, especially since the last time I was there it was warmer there than down here in Texas! Having the time to spend with colleagues to discuss the ideas and tools that were being presented at the conference outside of our normal workaday rush contributed to my sense of time well spent. Several of us commented that comparatively our university is making good steady progress on using technology as a tool for better teaching and learning. But there is much more to do in our digital age!

    Here are a few of my top-rated sessions. Rebecca Knapp did a fine job discussing how to boost completion and retention rates through Social Media http://www.knappbiz.com/social-media.html. Avenues she has explored with her students are Pinterest, Vines, and Instagram, among others. Dave Yearwood is always energetic and engaging in incorporating technology into his classroom and convinced me that multiple projection screens should be de rigueur in all learning spaces. Soyla mentioned the session, Level Up: Multiplayer Professional Development, presented by Ollie Dreon and Greg Szczyrbak. They described a “game environment” inside (and out) of their LMS to investigate gamification and its implications for learning. It really sounded like a productive yet enjoyable way to conduct PD! I always enjoy chatting with Maryellen Weimer who is so wise and is such a fine teacher.

    Dinner with our combined Tech Tools and Retooling the Core groups at Marlowe’s was a great way to unwind and compare notes about the conference in a convivial atmosphere. Most of us found that the conference experience provided the raw materials for budding future plans and some not-so-small dreams for improving our teaching and collaboration back at home base.

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