NIU set to host 10th annual SLATE Conference on supporting learning, technology in education

Logo of SLATE: Supporting Learning And Technology in Education/Celebrating 10 Years: “Build it Better”NIU will host the 10th annual SLATE Conference Thursday, Oct. 11, and Friday, Oct. 12, at NIU-Naperville.

Over the past nine years, more than 2,500 people representing almost 120 unique institutions from the Midwest, across the country and around the world have attended the SLATE Conference.

This conference invites all faculty, teaching staff, system administrators, CIOs, Web developers, instructional designers, librarians, students and user support staff from institutions that are deploying and/or currently using any Web-based tools, applications or programs in their teaching and learning.

Nearly 60 sessions covering a wide variety of topics will be presented this year as well as two pre-conference, hands-on workshops.

Scheduled sessions for this year’s conference include topics such as:

  • The Flipped Classroom
  • Learn Anytime, Anywhere: Designing Mobile-Friendly Courses
  • Mastering the Minefield: Learning to Manage Change
  • Addressing the Needs and Challenges Surrounding eTextbooks
  • Keep It Short and Tweet: Best Practices for Teaching with Twitter
  • Presenting Materials in an Online Class: Tools that Work for You
  • Creating Engaging Courses with Digital Content in Blackboard
  • Technologies That Meet the Diverse Learning Styles of Students

SLATE (Supporting Learning And Technology in Education) was formed initially as a regional Blackboard Users Group 10 years ago, from the understanding that all institutions that use Web-based teaching and learning approaches have similar questions and challenges, and can benefit from sharing best practices with each other. The SLATE Conference began as a forum where anyone interested in distributed learning can connect, gather new ideas, and find opportunities for future collaboration.

Ken Sadowski
Ken Sadowski

Ken Sadowski, executive director of SLATE, said the new venue this year at NIU-Naperville marks a new chapter for the conference.

“We recognized that people wanted more and that we could do more,” Sadowski said.

“Celebrating 10 years as a group and being established as one of the premier teaching and technology conferences in the Midwest, we have to position and prepare ourselves for the next 10 years and align this conference with the needs of our members.”

Staff from NIU Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center and Information Technology Services have been among those who have served on the steering committee and will be presenting at this year’s conference.

Jason Rhode, assistant director of the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center, said the SLATE Conference has been fantastic venue for faculty and staff to share ideas and form a community of practice.

“NIU was among the eight founding institutions that originally came together to form SLATE 10 years ago, and NIU staff and faculty have been involved with the annual SLATE Conference ever since. We’re excited to be hosting the SLATE Conference, regarded by many to be the premier conference on educational technology best practices in the Midwest, and we welcome those who perhaps haven’t yet attended to join us for who promises to be the biggest and best conference yet,” Rhode said.

NIU-Naperville signStephanie Richter, instructional technologies coordinator with the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center, shared the value she has personally found in attending the SLATE Conference.

“I always learn so much at the SLATE conference, and this year’s program looks even better. It is a great opportunity to meet faculty and staff from other institutions, and to learn about how they have successfully used technology in the classroom. I hope NIU faculty and staff take advantage of how close the conference is this year, and how affordable the registration is,” Richter said.

Space is still available to register.

Register by Sunday, Sept.30, for discounted individual registration rate of only $150 per person. Group registration discounts are available when registering three or more individuals at a time.

More information about the SLATE Conference is available at www.slategroup.org/conference.

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