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New Media Consortium Summer Conference

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I attended the 2012 New Media Consortium’s summer conference located in Boston at the MIT campus for the first time, accompanied by Joe Antonioli. It was an invigorating several days of talks around new technology and education. I want to introduce you to some of the great speakers and ideas that I encountered. The embedded videos are short but get to the core of many of these ideas. Please take at least a few minutes to scan them and watch further if you find them interesting.

I began the conference with an entire morning session with Dr. Jeff Borden of Pearson called “Personalization : How Far Can (Should) We Go?” He advocates encouraging creativity, giving students safe places to fail but holding them to mastery. He cautions that too much personalization can be a bad thing, when “filter bubbles” over-personalize our experience, but data can provide invaluable feedback to both educators and students. He covers a lot of the same material in the following short video from a different conference. It’s worth watching.

This video, clips of which were shown during Kaltura’s presentation “Enhance Your Online Learning Environment with Video”, highlights the profoundly transformative effect that technologies as simple as YouTube can have. Just the first 7.5 minutes of this video will get this point across:

Several of the talks I attended were about game based learning and gamification as powerful tools for engagement and active learning.

In “Just Press Play: A Unified Game Layer for Education” Andrew Phelps (Rochester Institute of Technology) introduces “Just Press Play” an achievement/badge based system which provides a scale of accomplishment for students to engage in a range of activities and track what they have experienced.

Brett Bixler’s 20+ ways to Add Game-like Elements to Your Learning Designs

During “Which? The Academic Technology Card Game” David Thomas put forth the simple idea “Time is valuable. Entertainment values your time.” We played a card game that “inadvertently” got us talking about academic technology. It sparked inquisition and discussion and it really was fun. The following video is his short TEDx talk “What Makes a Place Fun?”

Helen Keegan urges us to take risks to get people curious. She used a “pedagogy of deception” when creating a fictional person whom the class followed via social networks.

My takeaway was that there really are opportunities to do things in new ways now, genuinely new ways that don’t simply transplant old practices into new technology, that are worth exploring. The message seems to be, take risks, encourage creativity, and get students engaged in learning by leveraging the new social, mobile, visual, storytelling, and gaming technologies.

More to engage with:

New Media Consortium Summer Conference presentations playlist Includes Joichi Ito’s opening keynote.

Tweets (Some top tweets from our own Joe Antonioli!) (click the all link for the full list)

iTunesU contains many of the talks

NMC Summer Conference Report

Last week, I attended the 2011 NMC Summer Conference at UW Madison. It is a beautiful campus, surrounded by a charming and accessible city. The Terrace, on the backside of the Memorial Union, made me think of the Waterfront in Burlington. The stores and restaurants on State St reminded me of the feel of Church St, although I do not believe I could have found Ashak here in Vermont, which was delicious. Continue reading