Our hotel breakfast was simple, bagels and cream cheese, but slower than anticipated and traffic was heavier than on Sunday so we were late for the SIG meetings which started at 7:30 am.
Welcome and keynote followed at 8:30. Jim Bower, a computational neuro-biologist from University of Texas at San Antonio, provided the keynote. He pitched at the conference theme about exponential change and ran through some of the usual material about rates of change in population, computing power, and other technologies. He made strong points about the unsuitability of lecturing as a mode of education, originally introduced to solve problems of scalability in medieval universities but no longer relevant when information is so easily accessible from the Internet. The final part of his presentation dealt with the educational website, Whyville, he has developed for kids. The site provides for learning by working independently with simulations to collect data for analysis to drive the learning. There were some interesting examples of how kids, faced with the implications of the data they had collected, could learn through solving problems in the simulated world.
In the first parallel sessions I attended the first part of a symposium about TPACK investigations conducted in various parts of the world. The session was coordinated by Petra Fisser from Twente and included presentations about TPACK research from Ghana and Tanzania. In the next session before lunch I was part of a panel in a discussion with intending authors for the Journal of Technology of Teacher Education.
Over lunch I attended the meeting of the SITE Consultative Council as incoming editor of JTATE. The meeting discussed international initiatives of SITE and the appointment of new Associate Editors for JTATE.
Following lunch I presented my first paper for the conference – Looking for evidence of change: Evaluation in the Teaching Teachers for the Future project. The paper presented some comparisons of national data from the first 2011 TTF survey and data from USQ collected in that survey and in previous work from 2009 and 2010. The analysis found that USQ had significantly higher scores than the national means on most of the measures in 2011 and that there had been some significant increases on common items from 2009 to 2011. That seems to be reason for optimism about the work being done in our program and may have resulted from the reintroduction of an ICT pedagogy course (EDC3100) and the introduction of online offers exposing students and staff to more work with ICT with a resultant increase in confidence. I was fortunate to have the paper recognised by awards in the TPACK SIG and the general conference awards.
For the balance of the afternoon, before the SITE Executive Board meeting at 3:45 pm, I was able to catch presentations about evaluating the use of interactive whiteboards in Pennsylvania schools, a classroom observation tool for assessing ICT integration, a description of ICT use in a cohort doctoral program at Arizona State, and the use of video activities for learning literacy and content in Dutch primary education.
After the Executive meeting we had time to join the participants in SXSWEdu for an open air reception in Brush Square Park in downtown Austin. By the time that was done we had completed another 12 hour day and it was time to rest and recover.