Teaching and Learning With Technology Symposium 2011

Each year Penn State University holds a special event for their faculty called the Teaching and Learning With Technology Symposium. It's an opportunity for faculty from across the various branch campuses to come together to discuss, share, and collaborate regarding teaching and learning with technology. The conference invites faculty to engage in various social media spaces including Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter. They also ask participants to blog about their experience. All participants are asked to use the tags tltsym11 (Flickr), #tltsym11 (Twitter), and tltsym11 for blogs.

The day begins with a continental breakfast (every great conference always has delicious food). We are then always inspired by a fantastic keynote speaker. This year is Clay Shirkey. Following the speaker, there are concurrent sessions, lunch, and then more concurrent sessions. This year participants voted on four round table discussions that are happening durring the concurrent sessions. In addition to these events, they also have some exhibits for participants to check out new technologies.

This year's keynote speaker, Clay Shirkey, was inspirational. He shared stories about how communities were powerful in supporting meaningful learning. For example, he shared a story about a gentleman who builds extensive lego models for a hobby in his spare time. His motivation for spending this amount of time is the fact that he can share his plans on moc pages. This gentleman sometimes updated his personal blog, but he always updated his moc pages. This concept of valuing the community and his membership in the community caused Clay to adjust his teaching. He dropped two weeks of course content and had his students submit their final papers two weeks early. That way the students were not just submitting them to him, but rather they were going to be reading, giving feedback to, and getting feedback from their peers. He saw that the quality of the papers increased exponentially. He attributed this increase to the students' value in the community.

Listening to Clay made me think about my instruction. There will be more to come in future blogs about rethinking my instruction. What I can say is that I LOVE this conference! I always leave here motivated and energized! I enjoy the numerous ways that I can participate! It is like no other experience I have as a participant!