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Ohio State conference aims to integrate technology into classroom

Courtesy of Digital First

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Ohio State’s annual Innovate conference focused on using technology to engage students in the greater global classroom.
More than 400 people were registered for the conference Tuesday and Wednesday, and Michael Hofherr, OSU associate vice president for the Office of Distance Education and eLearning, said more than 500 people attended.
The Innovate keynote speaker, Jim Groom, is an adjunct professor and the director of the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va. Groom has made it his mission to give every incoming freshman his or her own domain and web hosting space on a third-party site called “UMW Blogs” to experiment with throughout his or her college experience, he said. Students are able to include these blogs on resumes and will not lose the domain name after graduation.
“You would be at OSU, you would do great stuff, you would have an archive, and you would move on. That would be a trajectory of your life, traced through this domain,” Groom said. “That was the vision. That the domain is a name space where you would develop your identity online.”
Hofherr said this is something that OSU is looking into. The blogs would be provided by a third party but would be hosted through WordPress, similar to the Mary Washington model.
“Our goal is to have web space available for every classroom and every student,” Hofherr said.
One of the sessions held on the first day of the Innovate conference featured a three-student panel focused on some technology challenges students face in the classroom. One of the student panelists, Courtney Kasuboski, a fourth-year in industrial and systems engineering, said she thinks technology has shortened our attention spans.
“Class needs to give me something I cannot find on the Internet,” Kasuboski said.
Now certain OSU courses are available on the Internet through iTunes U, one of the learning technologies discussed through a panel session at OSU’s Innovate conference. Astronomy professor Richard Pogge’s “Life in the Universe” course is one of the more than 15 OSU courses available for free on iTunes U.
Pogge said he received an email from a military lieutenant and his crew about the iTunes U astronomy lectures. The crew had been listening to the lectures while on patrol in Iraq.
“I have got everybody from lifelong learners to students learning this material,” Pogge said. “It makes our classroom the entire world.”
The Innovate conference was held at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center at 2201 Fred Taylor Drive on OSU’s West Campus. More than 30 sessions were held over the two-day span.

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