Emory Report
October 2, 2006
Volume 59, Number 6



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October 2, 2006
New technologies and format for EDUCATE 2006

Alan Cattier is the director of academic technology services in the Academic and Administrative Information Technology division.

How can one possibly keep up with all the technologies that are changing our classrooms and our labs, much less figure out how to evaluate them in light of our own personal practice? This is the fundamental challenge that EDUCATE 2006, the fifth annual Educational Conference on Academic Technology at Emory, seeks to answer in offering a modular program on Oct. 25 at Cox Hall.

In the past, the EDUCATE conference, sponsored by Vice President of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer Richard Mendola and the Academic and Administrative Information Technology division, spanned two days. It offered a variety of sessions where Emory faculty shared their experiences in trying new technologies. EDUCATE 2006 is still an all-faculty forum, but this year the schedule has been compacted, offering more targeted tracks on emerging technologies in higher education and hands-on training that underscore the real-world commitment to incorporating these technologies into personal practice.

Focus topics for this year’s conference include the potential of the iPod and podcasting, effectively incorporating personal response systems (clickers) into the classroom, an introduction to Geographical Information Systems and an overview of Emory’s evolving High Performance Computing initiative and infrastructure.

Additional topics include the latest features and functionality from BlackBoard, the promise and perils of Google Scholar, and new assistive technologies to harness the power of social software, like blogs and wikis.
If these topics sound like they derive from a foreign language, then EDUCATE 2006 is the right conference to translate the terms. Many of these technologies are not “bleeding edge” in our culture, but their use in higher education is definitely “leading edge.” For those who are more familiar with the focus areas, EDUCATE 2006 represents an opportunity to see applied examples of using these technologies from a faculty perspective and to hear what Emory offers in academic computing support.

Highlighting the conference will be a joint keynote address from Mendola and Rick Luce, vice provost and director of libraries. Reflecting the fact that the relationship between information technology and library services is continually evolving, their presentation will look at the changing face of technology at Emory and what potential exists on the digital campus horizon.

Also in this year’s conference will be a showcase area where a number of the focus technologies will be available for faculty to try for themselves. Included will be a live Personal Response System “mock” mini-classroom where faculty can see how this technology gathers student responses and allows for real-time evaluation of whether concepts are being fully understood by the learners. Also available will be the latest software for producing podcasts and making them available for distribution.

Support for EDUCATE 2006 has been generously provided by the IT Governance Instructional Technology Subcommittee, representing the IT governance process. In addition, the faculty and staff of the Woodruff Library have been active in the planning and execution of the conference.

It is often the promise of technology to save us time. It is rarely the experience. Instead, it is far more often that technology allows us to use time differently, and hopefully more effectively. Technology for teaching, learning and research is no different. EDUCATE 2006 aims to use the community’s time wisely in offering targeted examples and training on new technologies. For a detailed overview of the day’s program, including presenters and sessions, and to register online, visit http://educate.emory.edu/.