During the week from 24 to 29 March I attended the 24th Annual Conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) which was held in New Orleans. I was grateful for Faculty support, both financial and for time away to attend the conference. The necessities of travel resulted in some free time on the weekend prior to the conference when I was able to see some of New Orleans and a couple of nearby historic plantations. I have shared some photographs in a Flickr set for those who may be interested.
Despite my best intentions to prepare this report during the period of the conference and submit it by email on the way home that did not happen because I was busy during the conference and had a few other pressing tasks that needed to be completed before I returned to the office. I did manage to report on the conference as it happened by ‘live tweeting’ from the sessions that I attended. That material is conveniently collected on a website at http://eventifier.co/event/siteconf13/palbion and includes key points, images of key slides, and links to relevant sites. I find that live tweeting helps me to focus on the presentation and avoid losing concentration as a consequence of shifting timezones.
I was involved in 3 presentations during the conference. Re-visioning Teacher Preparation for Mobility: Dual Imperatives was co-authored with Romina Jamieson-Proctor, Petrea Redmond, and Wendy Fasso (CQU). It reported results from the DEHub funded project we completed last year and has been accepted with minor revisions for publication as one of about 25 chapters in the SITE Research Highlights book for 2013. A copy of the paper will be submitted to USQ ePrints but I am happy to provide a copy for anybody who wants one. The other two presentations were panels in which I participated in my role as Editor in Chief of the Journal of Technology and Teacher Education. In the first of those the associate editors of JTATE engaged in discussion with prospective authors about the journal focus and publication process. In the second I joined editors of other journals in the field for a short presentation and discussion with participants interesting in publishing work in the field.
In addition to presenting and attending presentations I was involved as JTATE Editor in meetings of the Consultative Council and SITE Executive and in a SITE Leadership meeting that elected the next President of SITE who will take office at the conference in 2014. I was also co-opted to assist with jading the poster presentations.
Each of the 4 days of conference began with a keynote. Day 1 was Milton Chen from the George Lucas Foundation who spoke about the issues addressed in his book, Education Nation: Six Leading Edges of Innovation in Our Schools, primarily around the action that is needed for schooling to respond to changing times. The remaining keynotes all addressed global issues of equity from different perspectives. Paul Kim from Stanford University spoke about MOOCs from the perspective of the work he has done in developing countries and the MOOC he developed to around designing new learning environments to address some of the issues. Mariana Patru from UNESCO spoke about the developments in policy and practice required to build a digital-age teaching profession around the globe. Peter Dzvimbo from University of South Africa addressed the challenges for integrating ICT in teacher education and schooling in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to the keynotes I was able to attend 2 significant invited presentations – one by former SITE President, Ann Thompson, about the past present and future of ICT in teacher education and another by Don Knezek, recently retired as CEO of the International Society for Technology in Education, on the need for advocacy around ICT in teacher education.
Despite difficult economic conditions in the USA and elsewhere attendance at SITE was up this year with about 1300 attendees from 65 countries. Most of those had some involvement in one or more presentations so there were typically 12 or more choices available during parallel sessions. I managed to attend more than a dozen parallel sessions, each with 2 or 3 presentations. Topics included TPACK (measurement, necessary leadership conditions, video cases for development, development in secondary programs), mobile learning (mobile portfolios, mobile app for monitoring teaching practice), digital stories, action-oriented research, hybrid and online doctoral programs, and more. The full proceedings of SITE will be available through the Education and Information Technology Library database for those who may be interested in more detail. Expect that to take a week or two to become available.