Last week I had the opportunity to attend the user conference of one of RISC Inc.’s VTA integrated technology partners, Turning Technologies. Turning Tech’s audience response system is used in academic and corporate environments as well as for conferences and special events. There were some great highlights to the conference including two fantastic keynotes and best practices shared by users that have creatively applied Turning’s audience response devices to create interactive, learner-centered classrooms.
The conference started off with Dr. Eric Mazur’s, Harvard University Dean of Applied Physics and author of “Peer Instruction, A User’s Manual”. Dr. Mazur discussed using audience response devices and classroom polling to facilitate peer instruction by guiding students to work together in small groups and re-introduce concepts to the classroom at large. Dr. Mazur said that instructors should, “focus on pedagogy and use technology to re-ignite the intrinsic curiosity of the human mind.” Learn more at @eric_mazur on Twitter or at http://ericmazur.com/.
The second keynote speaker was Dr. Mark Taylor who discussed “From Teaching to Learning with Generation NeXt.” In Dr. Taylor’s presentation, he explored the social factors that shaped learning styles by generation and their impact on instructional design. To learn more, visit http://www.taylorprograms.com/ where there are links to a number of Dr. Taylor’s publications and presentations.
In addition to the keynotes – and an outstanding evening networking event with live jazz at the Maison Bourbon – the conference had a number of concurrent sessions so everyone could find a topic of interest. Julie LaRose with Soteria Safety discussed using audience response systems in Safety, Health and Environmental awareness training – including job hazard analysis training. Julie highlighted both the benefits of peer instruction and the ability to give anonymous feedback to foster trust and honesty in the classroom. The theme of fostering a safe and honest training environment was continued when Doug Harris, CEO of the Kaleidoscope Group, explained his use of audience response system to share and understand differing viewpoints in the Kaleidoscope Group’s, “What do we learn from Ferguson?” training sessions.
All in all, the 2015 Turning Technologies user conference in New Orleans was a great event with a host of passionate system users and knowledgeable staff from Turning Technology. It is certainly a conference to include in your professional development rotation if currently leveraging audience response in your classroom or if you are interested in increasing engagement, improving retention and fostering conversation within the “flipped classroom”. To learn more about Turning Technology visit http://www.turningtechnologies.com/ and check out the press release on RISC and Turning Technologies Strategic Partnership.
Don’t forget the VTALive User Conference October 21-23, 2015 in Austin, Texas