SITE 2015 – Las Vegas
I spent the first week of March (1 – 6) attending the 26th annual conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) in Las Vegas. That was also the first week of semester so, when I was not at the conference, I was kept busy responding to students in the course discussion forums. I’m grateful for the support of my School and Faculty to attend, including partial financial support. I’ve attended SITE each year since I first attended in 1998 and have always found that it is the most useful conference for me in terms of interest in the papers presented and connections with colleagues. This year was no exception.
I had booked my travel in mid-2014 and expected to arrive in Las Vegas on the morning of Saturday, 28 February, before we left Brisbane according to the clock and calendar. As it happened there was freezing weather in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and our 9:20 am flight from LAX to Las Vegas finally departed at 5:30 pm after the plane was thawed and able to depart DFW. I had hoped to use the time on Saturday to arrange an excursion to the Grand Canyon on Sunday but that didn’t happen. Instead we spent Sunday exploring The Strip and I eventually booked for a conference excursion to Red Rock Canyon on Monday. That trip did yield some interesting landscape photos to complement some from Las Vegas itself.
My long association with SITE has meant that I am involved in organisational matters as well as attending sessions and presenting papers. I have been Editor of the SITE-sponsored Journal of Technology and Teacher Education for the 2012 to 2015 period. On the Tuesday I attended a meeting of the Consultative Council as Editor, met with the incoming Editor, Rick Ferdig, led a panel presentation by the JTATE editorial team, attended the Conference Welcome Reception, participated in the SITE Executive Board meeting, and later met with the editorial team of the newly launched Journal of Online Learning Research on which I am an Associate Editor.
On Wednesday I had two presentations. The first, Remote Access Laboratories for Preparing STEM Teachers: Preliminary Exploration, was co-authored with doctoral student Wu Ting and other members of the RALfie team. The second, TPACK as shared practice: Toward a research agenda Award Paper, was co-authroed with David Jones and Amanda Heffernan. It won a best paper award. the scheduling of those presentations meant that I was unable to participate in a panel presentation as a member of the team responsible for organising EDUsummIT 2015.
On Thursday I was a member of a panel comprising Editors of journals in the field, participated in a meeting of the EDUsummIT team, and attended a get together of the SITE leadership group comprising editors, executive members and SIG leaders.
Friday was a calmer day. After the keynote I was able to spend time meeting with Australian colleagues to discuss matters of mutual interest before attending the final sessions and heading for the airport and the long trip home.
The keynotes at SITE 2015 were interesting, relevant, and sometimes provocative. On Tuesday Kathleen Tyner spoke about the Arts & Technology intersection. On Wednesday Jonghwi Park, from UNESCO in Bangkok, spoke about the challenges facing education around the world as a prelude to EDUsummIT 2015. The Thursday keynote featured the 3D work of the Smithsonian and its applications for teaching science and social studies. On Friday James Gee provoked thinking around games and language and their relationship to learning. In addition to the keynotes I attended a variety of other sessions, most notably those by Punya Mishra and the Michigan State University team about creativity and technology in education. My succinct reactions to the various sessions I attended can be found in my Twitter stream tagged for SITE.