DisruptED19 conference wrap-up: What we learned about educational technology
Every aspect of our lives is becoming increasingly tech-driven, and the education industry is no different. But the future is somewhat unknown: what changes will educators and students face? What skills will be valued? And how will we all work together to adapt to our changing environment?
To find out these answers, as well as how to keep Campus Manitoba at the forefront of the latest educational technology trends, our coordinator of network systems operations, Jason Andries, recently attended the DisruptED19 conference in Winnipeg. DisruptED is a tech conference that brings work and education together.
We caught up with Jason to find out what he learned, what most inspired him, and what new communication technology ideas he plans on incorporating here at Campus Manitoba.
Q: Who did you most enjoy hearing from?
Jason: I most enjoyed hearing from Dr. Karyn Gordon, who spoke about the challenges and benefits of a multigenerational workforce. Dr. Gordon provided great strategies for encouraging different generations to work together and resolve conflict issues, which is often a challenge when dealing with generational gaps. She also talked about the importance of mentoring, co-ops and cultivating the right office culture to help create a love of learning and a family-type environment for the workplace.
One of her most interesting methods focuses on fostering empathy through a better mutual understanding of each generation. Since each generation comes to maturity at a distinct time in history, it’s important to remember that this means that their outlooks, beliefs, and perspectives on what work means to them have been molded by the socioeconomic, political, and cultural atmospheres in which they grew up.
Q: What was one thing you learned?
Jason: One of my main takeaways from DisruptED19 was that emotional intelligence drives our engagement on so many levels. The hard skills you possess are meaningless if you cannot engage and empathize. Several presenters focused on the importance of developing metacognition (awareness and understanding of one’s own thought processes), empathy, and creativity.
I think that both emotional intelligence and critical thinking are important in the education field, particularly, because they are essential skills in enabling the learner to move beyond rote memorization. Empathy and critical thinking could be seen as the “why” piece of the puzzle whereas the “what” is the simple memorization of information.
Q: What was one thing that moved or impacted you?
Jason: Throughout the conference, everyone from business people to educators, policy makers and technology leaders were rallying behind the same key idea: despite the emergence of smarter technology and artificial intelligence, there will always be a critical need for “thinking out of the box” and creativity. Keynote speaker Jennifer Riel focused on the importance of integrative thinking in her talk, and she shared this quote which really resonated with me: “Creativity is the ability to imagine something will someday be different than it is today.”
“Creativity is the ability to imagine something will someday be different than it is today.”
– Jennifer Riel
Q: What is one thing you hope to see going forward?
Jason: I think it will be interesting to see what kind of data-driven educational technology will become the primary tool to change the landscape in Manitoba. Many DisruptED attendees I met were discussing how to incorporate tools like Microsoft Power BI (Business Intelligence) into their projects. Going forward, I plan on maintaining a working knowledge of the emerging data-driven technologies, testing them, and implementing them as needed among the various projects we have running here at Campus Manitoba. The landscape of data-driven technology is evolving so fast that you have to stay on top of how it’s changing and how these programs are being used in the wild.
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