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Penn State’s hot teams explore cool ideas

October 3, 2012

fire dancers 2Yesterday was the first day of Educause Learning Initiative’s (ELI) Fall Focus Session, “Emerging Technologies, Innovation, and Academic Transformation”. One of the speakers was Allan Gyorke, Director of Education Technology Services at Penn State. Gyorke explained how his group uses Hot Teams to investigate new technologies and pedagogies.

Each hot team is made up of 4-5 people with diverse perspectives who meet over the course of four weeks to dig in and address seven questions:

  1. What is it?
  2. How does it work?
  3. Who’s doing it?
  4. Why is it significant?
  5. What are the downsides?
  6. Where is it going?
  7. What are the implications for higher education?

Sound familiar? The same questions are addressed by ELI’s popular series, 7 Things You Should Know About.

The hot team’s goals are to create a summary document and to develop capacity among a group of people. They also hope to get one or more faculty members excited about taking advantage of what the team learned. The most recent hot team report is Mobile Classroom Presentation Technologies and it includes a description of how a Math instructor used Doceri in her classroom.

This is a fascinating approach to exploring new developments, tech-related and otherwise. The four-week format is manageable and results-oriented. I like it!

Image credit: “fire dancers 2” by John Curley on Flickr

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