Technology within education has been growing by leaps and bounds, and now educators and institutions are even using social media tools within online learning and teaching.
The latest and greatest of this innovative technology was showcased during the 10th annual Technology Day at UIS on Wednesday, February 10 in the Public Affairs Center. The theme for this year’s event was “What Are You Learning Now? Teaching with Social Technologies.”
"It's appropriate that our campus would have Technology Day," said Provost Harry Berman. "Technology has become such a big part of our instruction. About half of our students take at least one online course and about half of our faculty teach online."
The keynote speaker for the event was Kyle Bowen, who is the director of informatics at Purdue University. Bowen spoke primarily about his role in the development of Hotseat, a new social networking-powered tool that enables students to collaborate via Twitter or Facebook both inside and outside of the classroom.
"Students use these during classroom time and are usually disruptive, but what they're doing at Purdue is trying to use these tools to get students engaged in classroom," explained Tulio Llosa, director of educational technology in the office of Information Technology Services at UIS. "They're changing the mode from a disruptive thing to an engagement thing so that students are asking questions, interacting with class and not falling asleep in the back row."
There were also more than 20 workshops and presentations throughout the afternoon with topics such as using social technology for marketing and recruitment at UIS, Lecture Capture (which is available for faculty to record their own lectures for student use), and training sessions for faculty on BlackBoard 9, which is an update from Blackboard 7 currently used at UIS.
A former UIS instructor also gave a presentation on free online tools that he is currently using to teach with. His presentation was done via Skype, a free online video service.
"We are a state-of-the-art facility in terms of having different technology available to our faculty," Llosa said. "During Technology Day, we try to show the world that we have these tools at UIS, what we're using these tools for and how we're making our classes more engaging for our students. We want to show people the exciting things we're doing here."