On the Road Again… Halfway Around the World

Museum of Islamic ArtThis weekend I get to take the longest plane ride of my life, a 14-hour flight from JFK (in New York City) to Doha, Qatar. I’m speaking at the Technology in Higher Education (THE) Conference organized by the schools that form “Education City” in Qatar. These nine international universities, including Georgetown University, Texas A&M, Carnegie Mellon, Virginia Commonwealth, Cornell, and Northwestern, deliver undergraduate and graduate programs in Qatar as part of the country’s “transition from a carbon economy to a knowledge economy.”

This is, I think, the fourth year for the conference, and I’m honored to be a part of it. I’m looking forward to seeing a part of the world I’ve never visited before and to meeting my fellow speakers and conference participants, including former Yale University CIO Philip Long and Plymouth University learning technologist Steve (@timbuckteeth) Wheeler. I’m on the program twice, once for a keynote on using educational technologies in ways that leverage what we know about how people learn, and once for a concurrent session on social pedagogies. Abstracts are below.

I’m hoping to live-tweet from the conference, although with the time difference (eight hours ahead of Central!), you may be asleep while I’m doing so! I’m also hoping to post what might be the best photos I’ve ever taken on my Flickr feed when I get back from Qatar. Wish me luck dealing with jetlag while I’m there!

Keynote – Technology for Learning: Creating Active Learning Environments in Today’s Classroom

An understanding of how learning works can help us make teaching choices that more effectively foster student learning.  When new technologies enter the scene, however, it’s not always clear how they fit into this process.  Educational technology can facilitate new avenues for student learning, but if we’re not careful to use that technology in ways consistent with principles of learning, the technology can become just a distracting shiny object.  In this talk, we’ll explore a few of those principles of learning and how they can help us be more intentional and effective teachers—with or without technology.

Session – Social Pedagogies: Motivating Students through Social Media and Authentic Audiences

Social pedagogies are those in which students construct knowledge by representing that knowledge for authentic audiences.  Although these pedagogies can be implemented without technology, they provide a useful framework with which instructors can determine how digital technologies can support teaching and learning. In this session, we will use this framework to consider how social media (course blogs, social bookmarking, Twitter) can be used to connect students with authentic audiences, including their peers and the rest of the world, in order to motivate those students toward deeper learning.

Image: “At the Museum of Islamic Art Park,” Omar Chatriwala, Flickr (CC)

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