Create, connect and consume — Innovating today for tomorrow.
That is the theme of a unique conference hosted by Griffith University which will explore important issues facing higher education technology and education leaders, drawing international delegates from across the world.
The Higher Education Technology Agenda (THETA) conference will see more than 900 delegates who have travelled from Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden, United Kingdom and the USA converge at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre on May 11 – 13.
The biennial conference, held for the first time on the Gold Coast, attracts a comprehensive range of practitioners and senior decision makers across the whole spectrum of information technology, learning and teaching, library and knowledge management in tertiary education.
Griffith Vice Chancellor Ian O’Connor said the conference was not only a great opportunity to promote and share innovative ideas but it would deliver a $500,000 boost to the Gold Coast economy.
“This conference will provide an opportunity for delegates to come together and engage with some of the pressing challenges in transforming information technologies and services to continue providing a positive experience for their staff and students,” he said.
“In a global market information technologies are radically transforming the way we communicate, create, connect and consume information.
“Griffith is proud to host the 2015 THETA conference on behalf of the Council of Australian Directors of IT, Council of Australian Librarians and the Australasian Council on Open, Distance and e-Learning.”
Key speakers at THETA include USA’s Bryan Alexander of Bryan Alexander Consulting, Germany’s Martin Fenner of the Public Library of Science, Professor Phillip D. Long of the University of Texas and China’s Dr Xiaolin Zhang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Our innovative ideas
More than 20 Griffith academics and researchers will also share their innovative projects throughout the three day conference. Some of the projects include:
Chemistry Gamification: students teaching students through gaming
Information and Communication Technology and multi-media students have created an “addictive” chemistry game aimed at teaching and refreshing students on the basics of chemistry.
Led by School of ICT lecturer Dr Heather Gray, the 90 second online game, titled Element Bonding, involves “blowing up ions, with either fire or water, collecting electrons and completing bonds”.
Dr Gray said while this particular game allowed students to engage with a physical workbook on Introduction to Chemistry, the notion of “gamification” was taking over teaching and learning across the world.
“The student as a teacher approach to learning and teaching provides opportunities for academics to facilitate learning and teaching that extends the flipped classroom to an advanced social and cognitive constructivist learning approach using games as the learning and teaching platform,” she said.
“When it comes to gaming I would love to see more opportunities like this arise as it is a great way to enhance teaching and learning.”
Videoconferencing and teaching — from outback Queensland to Ireland and back again
Recent innovations in videoconferencing technology have allowed Griffith to connect students with real life experts across the world.
Just recently world leading film producer Lord David Puttnam has been guest lecturing to students of the Griffith Film School about the film industry and his own career from his home office in Ireland. Griffith is the only university in Australia that are part of the programme Lord Puttnam is delivering in real time called Cinema of Hope.
Griffith’s video conferencing administrator David Wilson, who will present at the conference with Audio Visual Team project manager Tim Gentile, said opportunities like this were invaluable to student.
“Ten years ago the best we would have got was a pre-recorded presentation, now it’s a live class with the opportunity for questions and interaction from students,” he said.
“We are also doing some great work with midwifery students in rural Queensland we are on work placement and complete their entire degree via videoconferencing with lecturers at Griffith.”
Social Media as a professional tool: Gimmick, Godsend or Risk?
Planning and Projects Executive Director David Gunsberg will co-host a panel debate on the value of being a “connected professional”.
He will explore whether spending time on social media has real benefits in the professional arena or if it was simply a “waste of time”.
“Participants will be able to review the relative merits of the major social platforms, learn ways to become more ‘social’ and strategies for managing a professional social media presents while at the same time understand the risks associated with it,” Mr Gunsberg said.
“It is intended to use real time twitter polling to generate and then share a data set of survey responses with session participants.”
How you can get involved
For a full list of presentations by Griffith see here.
THETA will be streaming live throughout the conference. Watch the keynote and feature speakers via live streaming here.
Find the full THETA 2015 conference program here.
To engage with your colleagues in real time use the official hashtag #THETA2015