What is an unconference?

This is a participant driven event! An unconference is an event where the conference participants determine the agenda and format. Rather than being passive listeners to a pre-determined, top-down program, unconference participants get to propose topics and sessions, vote and discuss sessions, and actively participate in the sessions. It is a great opportunity to collaborate with others with similar interests. You can present information from your experiences, share resources you have developed, discuss key issues, get input on questions you may have, develop new resources, plan future projects and collaborations, and more.

Why are we having an unconference?

The UWM Digital Future planning process revealed the need to study emerging technologies and identify pedagogically effective ways these digital technologies can be used across campus to enable active learning opportunities and improve the student experience. The Unconference is one step for us to take as a community in developing the capacity to share our pedagogical practices, investigate emerging technologies, and better provide evidence of impact on student outcomes.

We are seeing a rapid increase in the number of emerging technologies that are available to enhance teaching and learning. From MOOCS and other open education resources, such as the Kahn Academy, to mobile learning and new and evolving pedagogies such as gamification, UWM has developed and made available to the campus community an array of strategies, resources, and solutions to enhance student engagement and success.

In developing an agenda for identifying pedagogical models of implementation, evaluating the effectiveness of these technologies and pedagogies, and diffusing proven solutions to enhance learning, UWM has additional considerations, such as quality, scale, cost, access, commitment, resource allocation, and ethical issues, in planning our future.

What is the goal of the Unconference?

Our goal of the Unconference is to bring folks from the UWM community together to build awareness and share teaching practices promoting effective use of and produce collaborations for future studies of pedagogies and emerging technologies. Specifically, the Unconference looks to bring together individuals from the UWM community, such as teachers, researchers, technology developers, advocates, support units, students, and business partners, to share information, brainstorm ideas, develop agendas, and build collaborations to assist the campus in meeting the needs outlined by our digital future efforts.

To that end, the Unconference for 2013 is aimed at sharing knowledge on technological changes to help further develop UWM’s reputation as an academic leader in using emerging technology, identifying effective digital tools and techniques, increasing the interdisciplinary opportunities for development, research, and scholarship to benefit teaching and learning, aligning campus culture with digital future visioning, and transforming the way we think about teaching and scholarship.

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The Unconference will be hosted by the Learning Technology Center and is supported by a Digital Future grant. For more on the UWM Digital Future planning process, please visit http://DigitalFuture.uwm.edu

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