Plenary Sessions

Opening Plenary Session

Friday, October 6, 2017 | 5:15–6:30 pm

Teaching, Learning, Technology, Memory, and Research—Oh My!

Peter E. Doolittle, director of the School of Education and professor of educational psychology, Virginia Tech

Technology is awesome! Technology is a distraction! If you're not teaching with technology, you're just not teaching! Teaching is a human enterprise in which technology simply gets in the way! That's a lot of exclamation points and the answer is, of course, it depends—technology is neither good nor bad, but using it makes it so (with apologies to Shakespeare). So, how do we leverage technology? Let's break teaching with technology down into a few essential research-based principles of learning, layer on a couple of fundamental considerations of working memory as the crucible of thought, and create usable pedagogical approaches that foster deep and flexible learning. Unfortunately, there is plenty of rhetoric and noise in today’s higher education system; it’s time to move forward proactively in creating instructional environments that focus on student learning and leverage technologies toward that end.

About the Presenter:

Peter E. DoolittlePeter E. Doolittle

Peter Doolittle is currently the director of the School of Education and professor of educational psychology at Virginia Tech. His academic background includes 30 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate students using traditional, blended, and online formats across several subject areas at various institutions in the US and abroad. He has published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles, performed over 100 national and international keynote addresses, and has been awarded in excess of $2 million in external funding. In 2013, Doolittle gave a TED talk at TED Global in Edinburgh, Scotland (How Working Memory Makes Sense of the World). His current research focus includes the investigation of the impact of working memory capacity on student learning in multimedia/digital learning environments.

Morning Plenary Session

Saturday, October 7, 2017 | 8:30–9:30 am

The Importance of Critical Thinking in this Post-Truth World

Julie Smith, instructor, Webster University

How do we teach our students to value truth in a world where what we believe is more important than what is true? The democratization of media production makes it possible to create anything online, but do our students recognize material created by the New York Times compared to material created by Joe down the street? Julie will share techniques that she uses in her classes to help students evaluate the authenticity, validity, and importance of online information. Critical thinking has never been more important. Our democracy depends on it.

About the Presenter:

Julie Smith Julie Smith

Julie Smith has been teaching media literacy courses at Webster University in St. Louis since 2001. She is the author of Master the Media: How Teaching Media Literacy Can Save our Plugged-In World and the host of the Digital Truth podcast series. Julie travels nationally and internationally speaking on media literacy, social media, and classroom engagement.




Afternoon Plenary Session

Saturday, October 7, 2017 | 3:45–5:00 pm

Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning

José Antonio Bowen, president, Goucher College

Technology is changing higher education, but the greatest value of a physical university will remain its face-to-face (naked) interaction between faculty and students. Technology has fundamentally changed our relationship to knowledge and this increases the value of critical thinking, but we need to redesign our courses to deliver this value. The most important benefits to using technology occur outside of the classroom. New technology can increase student preparation and engagement between classes and create more time for the in-class dialogue that makes the campus experience worth the extra money it will always cost to deliver. Students already use online content, but need better ways to interact with material before every class. By using online quizzes and games, rethinking our assignments and course design, we can create more class time for the activities and interactions that most spark the critical thinking and change of mental models we seek.

About the Presenter:

José Antonio Bowen José Antonio Bowen

José Antonio Bowen is president of Goucher College. He taught at Stanford, Georgetown, and Southern Methodist University where he was dean of the Meadows School of the Arts. He has written over 100 scholarly articles and has appeared as a musician with Stan Getz, Bobby McFerrin, and others. He has written a symphony (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize), music for Hubert Laws and Jerry Garcia, and is an editor for Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology. His latest book Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology out of your College Classroom will Improve Student Learning, was the winner of the Ness Award for Best Book on Higher Education from the American Association of Colleges and Universities. Stanford honored him as a Distinguished Alumni Scholar in 2010.