Rapid changes in technology means that education is also rapidly changing. We were contacted by Michael Faber, the IT Innovation Program Manager at Duke University, with a great idea for an Iconathon. Michael runs a program called the Innovation Co-Lab — a creativity incubator that focuses on how emerging technologies are reshaping research and academics within higher education. The program aims to elevate and inspire Duke students who are solving problems through the rapidly changing technological environment.
Michael came to us with the idea of holding an Iconathon around new, technology-oriented teaching models practiced at some of the top universities. One of the hottest topics in education is the use of massive open online courses (MOOCs). These are open access classes aimed at large scale interaction and participation via the web. Duke is a leader in this space and was one of the first schools to offer courses in all areas of study to people around the world to enroll for free.
Distance learning is an online revolution, making education accessible all over the world. People who would not normally have the chance to take university level classes now have the opportunity to enhance their skills and gain valuable knowledge from some of the best schools. These programs are exciting because they create global communities of people around a shared intellectual endeavor. More importantly, they are helping people better their lives, their families lives, and improve their communities.
Technology is also affecting the physical classroom in higher ed institutions as well, not just in the world of online education. Educators are incorporating technology into traditional teaching methods including “flipped classrooms”, game-based learning, and badge systems to revolutionize our expectations of how we learn.
We started the event with an inspiring talk from Julian Lombardi, assistant vice president with Duke’s Office of Information Technology. Julian asked us to re-evaluate the current education system. What is the real value of a college degree if one can learn the same skills and information online? Julian affirmed that universities will have to adopt to the new realities of a world connected through technology.
New concepts like Flipped Classrooms and Blended Learning are utilizing the internet to make class time more effective, and things like Mircolectures are becoming more prevalent for teaching information online.
The entire set of icons created at the Iconathon is available for download and all the symbols have been released into the public domain.
Thanks to Michael Faber and the Innovation Co-lab for making this event possible. And a huge thank you Julian Lombardi and all our volunteers!
Originally published at iconathon.org on September 16, 2013.