Now that I’ve journaled my experiences at #OLCInnovate I wanted to dive deeper into a couple things I feel were missing (to the extent I’d like to see) from #OLCInnovate.

Bring Students to #OLCInnovate

Since the conversations at #OpenEd16, especially surrounding the presentation that Adam Croom facilitated and involved student voices, I’ve seen more focus on including students in #edtech scholarship and discourse. In fact, I’m looking forward to the “We’re not DoOOed” session at #Domains17 (3:45PM) with Jenna Azar and Jess Reingold that focuses on the journey from being a student to becoming an instructional technologists. Student voices are critical because when absent “we put words in the mouths of students,” says Adam and I wholeheartedly agree.

Fast forward to #OLCInnovate, which is mostly void of students voices; consequently, there’s a significant issue of “Student Framing.” As Chris Gillard inquired in his recent #OLCInnovate post, “Who do we think our students are? Who do vendors think our students are? What is their investment in getting us to imagine students in that way?” Without students present in our spaces of scholarship we’re left to imagine as well as the claims by venders that they know our students. As Chris notes, this means that students were often portrayed as cheaters by those seeking to capitalize on this particular “Student Framing.” Chris goes on to ask what happens when this perspective permeates 3 days worth of conference—I can offer an example I observed at #OLCInnovate. During one of the Innovation Lab events where educators were improvising, they had to give examples of problems facing their courses, the first response without hesitation was “cheating.”

So, my challenge to everyone is think about ways you could bring more students to #OLCInnovate and more importantly into #edtech conversations. I recognize this poses financial and logistical challenges, but we need students to speak for themselves—student voices add much more to our scholarship than any vender ever could. Off the top of my head, it would be fantastic if more conferences (including #OLCInnovate) offered to sponsor undergraduates and graduate students that submit proposals, including travel/lodging. Alternatively, if instructors/institutions have access to funds that could be used to encourage students into our scholarship spaces to add their voices. We need to make this a priority.

(After writing this, I read Matt Crosslin’s post that covers these same ideas and more, so if you wish to explore further, check out his work! Also, if you know cases of student scholarships for conferences, please share them with me.)

Deconstructing Innovation

Last year when I was an avid virtual participant in #OLCInnovate, (I mean a VERY avid virtual participant), I was struck by how intensely everyone I witnessed was questioning of the definition of innovation. Rolin Moe in particular, led the charge on this conference reflection last year and continued with his #OLCInnovate Installation and Innovation Lab session (with Ben Scragg). Yet with many contributors to this conversation attending #OER17 during #OLCInnovate, I did not experience as much critical discussion surrounding the definition of “innovation” this year. That being said, I want to express my appreciation to Rolin for bringing this deconstruction to light last year for me. You do great work Sir!

Matt Crosslin, Dave Goodrich, and I had some good discussion about defining innovation while navigating the French Quarter. For me, even at a much smaller scale this year, I was excited to reengage in these conversations championed by Rolin. These discussions were especially important for Dave considering his New Years resolution:

Prophet of Innovation Doom & #OLCInnovateSnark

Otherwise most of the deconstructing of “innovation” seemed to originate from the Prophet of Innovation Doom twitter account and the #OLCInnovateSnark. Bravo to those satirists!

Snarkiness aside, this commentary inspired me to reflect on the definition of innovation at #OLCInnovate and beyond. Here are some of my favorites:

Like I said in my first #OLCInnovate post, my face is rather sore from laughing and smiling so much during the conference. So, thank you to everyone for a great time! I’m excited and eager to continue engaging in scholarship with you. 🙂

The featured image is provided CC0 by Luke Chesser via Unsplash.


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