Good to be back, SITE 2023 New Orleans

by | Friday, March 17, 2023

The Society for Information Technology in Teacher Education conference has been an important part of my professional life for over two decades. My first presentation at a SITE conference was back in 2001 at Orlando, Florida, with none other than Matt Koehler. For the record, (not that anybody cares) our presentation was titled, Putting the instructor in charge: Component architecture and the design of a course web site.  

Over the years SITE has played a critical role in our careers. There was the 2008 keynote that transformed our professional lives—and which in many ways was instrumental in introducing the TPACK framework to the world. And then came the TPACK Special Interest Group (SIG) that truly established TPACK in the ed-tech world, and remains one of the most active SIGs at SITE.

Screenshot of Keynote from 2008

Over the years the SITE community has become an important part of my life, a group of friends and colleagues that I have come to know well. A group of people that I have come to respect and care deeply for.

For a range of reasons, I haven’t been able to go to the SITE conference for a while – moving to ASU and taking on new responsibilities, was partly the cause. And then, of course, there was the pandemic which messed things up at a global scale for a couple of years.

There was an in-person conference last year, in San Diego, and though I made it for that, it did not feel the same. Attendance was down, significantly. And even for the people who showed up the pandemic still loomed large in our minds. We were all a bit awkward and skittish about meeting in person, unsure of protocols, and how to engage and interact.

This brings me to this week, SITE 2023. This year was different. It was clear from the get-go that SITE was back. In full swing. It was as if there was a pent-up hunger that had built over the past few years, to truly meet and engage, to connect and appreciate what this conference had meant to us, individually and collectively.

I have had a wonderful time, meeting old friends and making new ones. It truly has been a amazing few days.

And yes, I did have a few presentations and panels I participated in. Those are given below:

Designing Innovative STEM Instruction that Encourages Student Creativity

Daniel Tillman, Thomas Soto, Danah Henriksen, Lauren Woo, Punya Mishra, Rhonda Christensen, Gerald Knezek

Abstract: This live Panel Discussion session will encourage audience dialogue during a conversation focused on learning strategies that inspire and encourage student creativity. The presenters each have specialized expertise in research and practice pertaining to the application of innovative educational technologies, and during this discussion they emphasize emerging opportunities in STEM education including: NASA space science resources, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), simulation, gamification, and makification. The general framework of creativity through repurposing will be presented by Arizona State University faculty, then professors from the University of North Texas will share low-cost educational technology implementations using NASA resources to encourage space science engagement, followed by personnel from William Beaumont Army Medical Center showing the use of healthcare simulation technologies as a tool to support pedagogy and content knowledge in foundational STEM education.

Chatbot or Hypebot? The Future of AI-Mediated Education

Elizabeth Langran, Punya Mishra, Leiping Liu, Michael Searson, David Gibson, Garron Hillaire, Jason Trumble

Abstract: With the availability and ease of AI tools such as ChatGPT and Dall-E 2, teachers and teacher educators need to understand their impact on education. Panelists will share their expertise and summarize their work focused on AI. Then using an audience-connected Q&A format, we will have a facilitated town hall discussion, critically exploring AI’s claims, promises, potential, and pitfalls in teacher education. Moderated by: Jason Trumble, University of Central Arkansas & Elizabeth Langran, Marymount University.

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Exploring Technology Contextual Knowing

Melissa Warr, Punya Mishra

Abstract: Although present in the canonical TPACK figure, context is often not considered in research that draws upon TPACK. In this presentation, we bring together TPACK with contextual knowing, a flexible understanding related to actors in a context (generally teachers and students) and across multiple scales (classrooms, schools, and the broader social, political, and cultural milieu). We discuss Technological Context Knowledge (TXKg) and propose key questions for consideration in technology and teacher education. An emphasis on context and its interaction with technology can encourage deeper reflection on diversity, equity, and inclusion in technology and education.

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TPACK and the Cambrian explosion of AI

Sean Leahy, Punya Mishra

Abstract: The Cambrian explosion of AI powered tools has raised important questions about their use in education. The TPACK framework address the knowledge and skills that educators need to effectively integrate such emergent technologies into their current and future learning environments. As technologies continue to rapidly evolve, TPACK must likewise adapt to new eco-technological changes. The recent emergence of freely available AI tools such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT have the potential to revolutionize education. In this brief paper we examine the use of AI powered tools using neural network-based models in education and how the TPACK framework can be applied to consider the implications of these technologies on teaching and learning. We also explore the opportunities for educators to create new, authentic, and deeper learning experiences in their learning environments using AI tools, while also considering the potential risks and challenges.

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