The plenary sessions in particular have been brilliant, my faves:
- Bryan Alexander (Director for Research at the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education) did the futurist thing and offered five scenarios that we could be living by 2015 depending on decisions being right now, an entertaining speaker brimming over with thought provoking ideas
- HG Nelson (Sportscaster extraordinaire)
regaled us with the benefits of adopting his "five pillars", with outside the square ideas that included turning the grounds into market gardens, floating humanities department on the stock exchange and encouraging students to gamble on their academic success
- Diana Oblinger president and CEO of EDUCAUSE took us on lightening survey of the changing geography in higher ed provision in the USA, things are changing and changing quickly
- Richard N. Katz former vice president of EDUCAUSE took an even broader look at the changes in higher ed, focussing more on the threats to traditional views of what academia is, like the increasing commodification of education
Saw a really brief preview of Office 365 which is the next step in the development of live@edu and thrusts it into the google docs space (but it looks more like the office suite in a web browser) and also integrates with Sharepoint, IM and video IM. A startling leap in functionality - I hope we get it soon and it's not an expensive upgrade. I think we get it all except sharepoint as is.
ECU have done some usability testing of Summon, one finding I found amusing was that although the google-like interface gave the students confidence to search, it can't give them the ability to search, they still get stuck on alternative keywords, narrowing searches, realizing what they are seeing, determining format
Lisa Cluett presented on an ALTC funded project in WA to promote emerging technology awareness in a more organic manner than the traditional formal top-down approach we usually get with IT training. It runs with the idea that learning is viral (and they use that theme a lot). People who spread knowledge are known as 'infectors' rather than early adopters, or trainers or experts. One of the ideas is that the best person to learn from is someone who knows a little bit more than you rather than a heck of a lot more than you. One task they perform as part of their 'incubation' is survey students for the technologies they like, use, feel comfortable with, don't feel comfortable with, bring on campus - that last one was important - lots of students had laptops but few of them bought them on campus.
Stick around for part 2 when I get my notes off the ipad and list all the new buzzwords I learnt and the sites and services I noted I had to check out.