Technology in Education Symposium (TIES) 2014

Posted on 31 March 2014 Conference, Teaching, E-Learning

March 27th & 28th, 2014 I attended and volunteered at TIES (Technology in Education Symposium) at Western University, hosted by the Faculty of Education. The morning of Day One I greeted attendees in the foyer and reception areas, providing directions to events and facilities. The highlight of the afternoon was the presentation from Ryan Hunt, co-founder of the DHMakerBus, which was also in attendance at the technology sandbox.


Teaching with Made Technology - How DIY Technology Can Be Used in Your Classroom

In this workshop, Hunt demoed a few different DIY projects which can be recreated cheaply and easily, and have classroom applications.


New Directions for Teaching and Technology in the Age of Access Education

Day Two began with the keynote from Michael Geist which summarized his history of involvement in grassroots copyright reform movements, as well as his thoughts on new trends in open education. There has been an explosion of open educational resources (OER), but there are varying degrees of "openness". Open textbook initiatives are providing genuinely free resources to students; however, MOOCs, as extensions of university marketing departments, are "open" in a more complex way. 80% of registered students already have a post-secondary degree, 1/3 never view any course materials, and as little as 4% complete the courses.

Perhaps the central takeaway of the presentation was the tremendous effort, through political advocacy, social media, and community organization, required to achieve the user rights we presently hold. Geist describes, "the move to open access was not inevitable - it was, in fact, unlikely".

Michael Geist with Captain Copyright Slide
Image credit: Christy Sich, @cdsich


Technology & Performance / Technology Sandbox

Following the keynote I moderated a session on Technology and Performance, which included a demonstration of an app being developed by Western Music faculty Mike Godwin and Leslie Linton. This app allows users to isolate and zoom in on an individual instrument or player within an orchestra or band. It has a lot of utility for music education both in the classroom, through play, and for young children. They're currently ironing out issues surrounding streaming data versus local storage, but I'm looking forward to the final product.

In the afternoon I attended presentations in a session on student access and feedback in online classrooms, followed by the poster displays and technology sandbox. I played Tetris with a Makey Makey, received a demonstration of the Promethean ActivTable, and tested out Google Glass. The Glass was a huge highlight of TIES! Being able to try it out firsthand (I feel it might be better if I had been wearing contact lenses), but also learning that it's currently in use at Western for teaching of pediatric patient care.

Can you ask for much more from a free conference at your home institution? I think not!