College conference focus on connected classrooms

The conference will provide practical uses of technology in classrooms and course curriculum design.

Technology and connectivity in the classroom are remarkably changing methods of teaching and learning, leading education institutions to adapt to new models in order to stay ahead of the curve.

On Sept. 25 and 26, Okanagan College will host a new conference titled Tiltshift—an acronym for “technology in learning and teaching”—that will explore technology tools and innovative ideas to help the education community acclimate to new teaching platforms.

“From Skype to web-based software, video production and iPads, understanding how students use technology and how to maximize this knowledge to benefit their learning is imperative for the advancement of education and career preparation,” said Beverlie Dietze, director of learning and teaching at Okanagan College.

“Our aim with the conference is to broaden the perspective on where educational technology is heading.”

The conference will provide alternative perspectives for education, and the practical uses of technology in classrooms and course curriculum design. The interactive and demonstrative sessions will explore online learning, new tools and resources available, and technology leadership.

Leaders and innovators from the Okanagan’s thriving technology, business, and education community, and the general public, are invited to join in this exciting dialogue by registering to attend the Tiltshift Education Technology conference. Online registration is open at www.okanagan.bc.ca/tiltshift. A $50 conference fee applies.

Held at the college’s Kelowna campus on KLO Road, Tiltshift will kick-off the evening of Sept. 25 with a keynote address by Mount Royal University associate professor Norm Vaughan.

A published author, he has expertise in blended learning solutions (the combination of online and in-class courses) and faculty development.

The conference will continue with a full day of breakout sessions and presentations on Saturday Sept. 26.

The day also includes a second keynote address by Penticton speaker and author Nikos Theodosakis, who is the founder of the OliveUs Education Society and the architect of the Instill Life: Preserving Your Culture programs.

He is an advocate for shaping education experiences that are personal, relevant and meaningful.

“We’ve seen technology provide tremendous benefits to our students, resulting in accessible education that circumvents barriers to learning, including time, geography and finances,” said Laura Eagen, director of IT services at Okanagan College.

Eagen points to the example of an open online Applied Sustainability course the college previously offered.

Technology made the online course possible; more than 100 students from communities across the province, country, and abroad participated, including individuals in remote regions who would have faced a geographical and time barriers otherwise to attend.

The six-week course also highlighted how technology inspired shifted views on assessment. Using a gamification model, students strived to achieve different levels to advance to new content much like what you would experience in a video game.

“The speed at which technology is advancing may mean some educators don’t necessarily know which resources are now available to them, or the effective uses for them,” said Eagen.

“We wanted to offer a forum to allow experts in the community, and educators, to engage in conversations about how to advance the learning environments we provide, ultimately benefiting students, and the future workforce.”

For more  information about the conference, see the Tiltshift website at  http://www.okanagan.bc.ca/Page35405.aspx