Photo of 2015 TLT Symposium speaker Eric Mazur.

Dr. Eric Mazur

Brand-new additions to the program and a keynote by world-renowned educational innovator Dr. Eric Mazur highlight the 2015 TLT Symposium, to be held March 21 at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center. The event is free and includes a full breakfast and lunch. Those interested in attending the event can register at http://symposium.tlt.psu.edu/.

“This is a great opportunity for professional development that has several benefits for Penn State faculty and staff,” said Angela Dick, chair of the Symposium. “It’s an event that is centrally located in Pennsylvania and attendees don’t have to travel too far and leave their family for many days to attend. It’s cost-effective, since there is no registration fee. This event is just packed full of opportunities for networking, and you get the chance to see new technology and how other faculty and staff are using that technology. Plus, attendees get a chance to interact with some great speakers, whether it’s our keynote speaker in the morning or the end of day panel.”

The morning keynote, Dr. Mazur, is the Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard University and Area Dean of Applied Physics. Along with his prestige as a physicist, Dr. Mazur has also built a reputation as an innovative thinker in subjects such as education, science policy, outreach, and the public perception of science. He has founded a company called Learning Catalytics, which is developing a software platform for interactive teaching and was recently acquired by Pearson. He is also chief academic advisor for Turning Technologies, a company developing interactive response systems for the education market. His teaching methods have developed a large following and have been adopted across many disciplines.

As for what’s new for this year’s Symposium, there are two major additions to the Symposium program. “One of the new things that we are trying this year is an event called the Open Innovation Challenge that is being organized by the Rogue team, which is where Penn State faculty and staff can pitch ideas that can enhance teaching and learning at the University,” Dick said. “Participants will have the opportunity to submit idea proposals for the Challenge through Jan. 30. Out of those proposals, a handful of folks will be selected to give a five-minute presentation of their idea. This will take place immediately following lunch.”

Once the pitches are finished, Dick said, all the Symposium attendees will get a chance to vote, and the Challenge winners will be announced before the day ends. The winner will be provided resources to move their ideas forward. Also, she noted that even the ideas that do not win the top prize will get exposure to the 500 or so Symposium attendees and perhaps spark a collaboration opportunity of their own.

Along with the Challenge, the Symposium will close out with The Innovation Panel. Megan Kohler, Symposium program chair, has put together a panel that features several people from outside the Penn State community from other universities and organizations. The participants will be announced in the near future.

Along with the new additions to the program, Dick said the popular service area will be expanded, enabling people to check out tech demos and engage with people who are involved with the different educational technology services offered to Penn Staters. Also, the number of concurrent break-out sessions has increased to the most ever offered by a TLT Symposium.

A full agenda will be released in early February on the Symposium site. Questions about the event can be directed to tltsymposium@psu.edu.

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