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Monday, April 30, 2018

Reflections on the ASU Convening on the Future Learning in the Digital Age | Technology and Learning - Inside Higher Ed

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"Quietly unconferencing the unconference" notes Dr. Joshua Kim, Director of Digital Learning Initiatives at the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL).

Photo: Angela Gunder, and illustration by Karina Mullen Branson,

We may be at an academic conference inflection point. 

Higher education gatherings seem to be evolving away from conferencing and towards unconferencing. 

We may get to the point where we drop the “un” in “unconference”, much like we’ve dropped the digital from digital from photography. (Come to think of it, we should probably drop the “digital” from digital learning as well - it is all just learning). 

Last week I attended an ASU unconference on the future of learning in the digital age. The best place to catch up with what was discussed at the event is probably by scrolling through #shapingedu.

Academic unconferences differ from traditional professional meetings in at least 3 ways. 

First, they are usually small. There were 129 people at the event, with representatives from the of academic technology, online learning, media, consulting, instructional design, library, futurists, faculty, and edtech company tribes.

Second, they are often held on campuses - as opposed to at hotels or conference / convention venues. The location at ASU’s EdPlus offices was amazing, largely because anyone interested in the future of higher education needs to spend time with the people at EdPlus. 

Third, and most importantly, the participants of an unconference largely create the agenda as the gathering unfolds. The event featured a few talks, but mostly the host and convener of the event Lev Gonick (ASU’s CIO) energetically funneled the time into conversations (or neighborhoods) around specific topics.

Source: Inside Higher Ed (blog)