Creativity and Innovation at the SLATE 2018 Conference

Three computers on a table

I recently attended the Southern Learning and Technology Expo SLATE 2018, to present on a Learning Innovation health informatics project. SLATE was hosted by the Wake Forest School of Medicine, Center for Experiential and Applied Learning. The conference was excellent, focusing on learning design, educational technology, and teaching innovation, and included educators, designers, and trainers from industry and higher education. SLATE was held at Biotech Place at Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, a state-of-the-art biotechnology research and innovation center.

conference center

Key conference topics

Key conference topics included:

  • Chatbots for Learner Engagement, Social Learning, and Micro-learning
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Delivering the best learning experience
  • Emerging trends and technologies
  • Gamification
  • Instructional design in medical education
  • Management and strategy in learning design
  • Virtual/augmented reality

In addition to the great breakout sessions SLATE featured exhibits and DemoLearn sessions, short 5-minute presentations to showcase new and innovative technology solutions. Here are a few ideas from the conference keynote, focused on creativity and innovation:

Unlock your students’ creativity

Shirley Disseler, Associate Professor of Education and Coordinator of STEM Education at High Point University delivered the keynote on “Unlocking Creativity Through Play.” Disseler leads the Center for Educational Outreach and Teacher Training at High Point University and is a member of the LEGO Education Advisory Panel. Through hands-on activities, Disseler demonstrated how the integration of play into learning and work is crucial to critical thinking and problem solving. See Five Ways to Boost Student Engagement with Flow Theory.

Spark creativity with mind mapping

A mind map is a graphical representation of ideas and concepts that helps students to generate new ideas and to form connections among concepts. Mind mapping can be used as a presentation tool for groups to brainstorm project ideas and solutions, to spark creativity in project planning, to brainstorm research topics, and to create visual outlines.

Mind mapping is also a great way to reinforce learning. Instructors can begin class by asking students to mind map key ideas from the previous class and then integrate active learning techniques to facilitate discussion. See Using Concept Mapping to Make Students’ Prior Knowledge Visible. Here are a few tools to get you started:

  • Coggle – simple, collaborative mind maps
  • MindMaple – great choice for visual thinkers with google drive cloud share
  • Popplet– Visually curate your ideas and host team brainstorm sessions
  • Bubbl.us: present ideas, map a team hierarchy, design a process

Use creative problem solving techniques

Discussion based activities are a great way to encourage creative thinking and to promote active learning. Creative problem solving techniques support dialogue and discussion and support inquiry thinking and critical thinking. The Osborne and Parnes Creative Problem Solving (CPS) Model is a well known six-stage creativity model that utilizes divergent thinking patterns to challenge ideas and to generate new ideas. See Teaching creative problem solving methods to undergraduate economics and business students.

SLATE logo

Looking forward to next year’s SLATE conference!

Learn more about SLATE 2018.

Sophia Stone, Ed.D.

Author: Sophia Stone, Ed.D.

Sophia collaborates with faculty to provide pedagogical and academic technology consulting, training, and project management, for campus-based and online initiatives. She consults on innovative teaching practices across academic disciplines, and works with faculty on course planning, course design and development, and assessment strategies. Her research interests include global online education, instructional design, faculty development, distance education, and international learners.