Watch an Exciting World Unfold Before Your Eyes with David Thornburg at METC 2012

The Midwest Education Technology Conference 2012 Keynote on Tuesday, February 14th is Dr. David Thornburg on Can You Hear Me Now: The Powerful Rise of Mobile Learning.

Dr. Thornburg has been active in the world of technology since the early 1970’s when, at Xerox PARC, he invented  user interface tools still in use today. His focus on educational technology became full-time in the 80’s and he has written hundreds of articles and numerous books on the potential for emerging technologies to transform education. His current focus on alternatives to traditional classrooms, and the explosive rise of mobile learning tools, continues a journey he has been on for decades. Dr. Thornburg presents at numerous conferences throughout the world each year, and helps educators and districts through his consulting practice. He splits his residence between the US and Brazil.

Besides his keynote address on the 14th, Dr. Thornburg also presents the following sessions during METC:

Education on the Holodeck: Learning in a Theater Without Audiences
For too many children, school is disliked. Part of the problem comes from the physical structure of classrooms with teachers facing the front of the room with the teacher being the performer on stage. This presentation describes a project that breaks this mold, engages students, advances their curricular knowledge, and does all this in a new environment called the Educational Holodeck. With special computer installations, this empty white room can be transformed into a space ship, or a time machine, or a microscopic vessel taking students through the human body, or become just about anything else you can imagine. During the student-controlled voyage, they encounter challenges that have to be addressed  challenges that reflect those that might present themselves during a real voyage! The Holodeck becomes a theater without audiences; a fully immersive and interactive space where learning is supported in new ways. It is an example of an “epistemic game,” in that participants are engaged in the content, skills, identity, values and thinking styles of people working in the topic area of the mission. This presentation shows the problems with normal classrooms, describes the Educational Holodeck, places it in the context of modern educational theory, and illustrates all of this with information about the first one in the world built in Recife, Brazil. Tech Level: Intermediate, Advanced

Seeing Tomorrow, Today: How to Find Emerging and Future Technologies
Have you ever made a trendy technology purchase, only to see your investment end up in the dustbin a year later? Anyone who uses or purchases modern technologies wants to be sure that the tools they have are as up to date as possible. Yet, no matter how hard we try, it seems that last year’s tools are headed for the storage closet before we know it. If only we could anticipate the next big thing, we could make better technology decisions. Far from the arcane art of gazing into crystal balls, today’s futurists use a variety of approaches to see if a new device or capability is a fad or a long-term trend. This dynamic presentation shows a variety of lenses through which technologies can be seen with the goal of identifying those that not only meet today’s needs, but have the power to last. Each of the strategies described is illustrated with examples of current technologies, some of which may change the ways we learn and work. Examples aside, this session is not a laundry list of modern tools, but a description of proven strategies that let you craft your own visions of the future visions that will make differences in the lives of those with whom you work. The presenter, who has been called the country’s premiere educational technology futurist, has spent a vibrant career both as a technology inventor, and proponent for the effective use of technology in education. His insights inform leaders in education and corporations from small start-up companies to members of the Fortune 500. Hone your skills as a futurist, and watch an exciting world unfold before your eyes! Tech Level: Intermediate, Advanced

METC is a program of the Virtual Learning Center of Cooperating School Districts of Greater St. Louis.

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