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Faculty, Staff Talk EduTech at TLT Symposium

What I saw on Saturday at the Teaching and Learning with Technology Symposium made it clear that Onward State’s success at Penn State has been no anomaly. Whether it’s for THON, the football team, or even Penn State itself, social media is being used across the university to connect and inform in ways that are truly innovative.

Hundreds of faculty and staff gathered this weekend at the Penn Stater Conference Center to talk about how technology can help the university educate students more effectively. Over the next week, we will be writing about some of the cooler initiatives discussed at Saturday’s event. Until then, you can read our recap and join the ongoing conversation by using #psutlt on Twitter.

The symposium began with Michael Wesch, an anthropologist at Kansas State, giving a keynote address and speaking about the need to meet students where they are digitally and intellectually. You can explore his work on YouTube.

After the keynote, attendees were able to attend a couple of sessions before lunch, which was followed by another two sessions. There was also a panel discussion after lunch on ‘Using Social Media to Engage Students.’

Some sessions were focused on specific technologies, such as VoiceThread, Kaltura, and YouTube, but most focused on how specific classes and organizations were able to use a variety of social media technologies to better facilitate learning and the sharing of information.

What impressed me most was that the conference itself exercised best practices in using technology to enhance the educational experience. Through the entire event, the backchannel– that is, the realtime text conversation that occurs simultaneously with a lecture or other type of presentation– was of incredible value for attendees. Not only were individuals in a specific session able to share thoughts about what the speaker was saying and filter up some of the most interesting questions, but by following #psutlt, attendees were able to hear the best parts of sessions they were unable to attend themselves.

The event was put together by Jeff Swain and a team of Penn State Educational Technology Services staff members. The full schedule is viewable here. Videos of most sessions will be posted on the TLT Symposium’s websitecheck out blog posts about the event on [email protected].

[Photo 1: Opacity via Flickr] | [Photo 2: Weanders via Flickr]

About the Author


Creator of @OnwardState. Big fan of sweaters.


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