Technology as a Community Resource

Early Bird Session Leaders: Dr. Jan Pearce & Dr. Matt Jadud

The pace of technological change can be inspiring or daunting, depending upon your perspective. Social networks, cloud services, internet forums, YouTube, activity trackers, MOOCs, blogs, podcasts, mobile apps, 3D printers, tablet computers, robots…and the list goes on.

In this active workshop, we will examine newer technologies while helping participants learn how to sort through the hype to identify what is truly useful for their particular needs. Participants will consider and imagine ways to utilize, share, connect, and learn through newer learning technologies and leverage other resources in community development projects. We will also experience first hand how easy it is to create some of these yourself by exploring one of these technologies hands-on.

We will also discuss how participants can leverage local and remote institutions of higher education in win-win collaborations. College campuses have resources and expertise which can be accessed no matter where the campuses are physically located. Because student learning more meaningful when students are able to work on real projects, faculty members are often eager to partner students with projects that address real community needs, leading to a mutual benefit for students and community members both local and remote. Hence, we will also exchange ideas on how to approach making such connections.

Who should attend?

  • Anyone interested in increasing awareness and application of new learning technologies and greater engagement with higher education resources.

What can I expect to learn

  • To help local communities – organizations and individuals – learn about utilizing new technology in conjunction with higher education resources.
  • Handouts briefly describing new technologies, their primary purposes, and where they are likely to be found will be provided.

Session Capacity: 16

Drs. Jan Pearce and Matt Jadud teach Computer Science at Berea College where they regularly engage in partnerships with community organizations. Some of their projects include designing and building smart home sensors, partnering students with community organizations to design and build web pages, community-based-research with a local nonprofit on environmental toxins, robotics outreach for children at the public library, and creating local apps for tablet computers and smartphones. They both believe strongly in the win-win nature of community partnerships and institutions of higher education.