Dr. Alec Couros is a professor of educational technology & media at the Faculty of Education, University of Regina, Canada. He helps adults and youth take up the incredible affordances of the digital age while providing them with strategies to avoid the numerous pitfalls.
Dr. Couros has given hundreds of keynote presentations and workshops to K-12, higher education, & corporate audiences across the globe. Popular topics include connected learning, digital citizenship, digital literacy, digital identity, social media in organizations, digital ethics, internet scams, digital privacy, and cyber-security.
Dr. Couros is an accomplished educator and researcher and has been recognized with numerous awards for teaching and leadership. He has worked with education, government, and corporate clients to develop policies and procedures related to technology integration and implementation initiatives.
Most importantly, he's a father of four wonderful children and is privileged to learn from them daily as they grow up in this amazing but complex era.
Developing critical literacies: What students need to know about “fake news”
In our “post-truth” era, fact and fiction can be difficult to distinguish, and fake news and misinformation spread rapidly and with ease. In this new reality, education plays a more urgent and important role than ever before: as educators, we must equip today’s youth with the skills and competencies they will need to critically and responsibly navigate the world. In this presentation, participants will be provided with an in-depth look at the “fake news” phenomenon and will be introduced to a variety of tools, resources, and strategies for helping students to become critically literate learners and citizens.
Identity, Networks, & Connected Learning
We are currently exiting the age of personal computers and entering a new mobile reality. Emerging technologies now provide us with the tools to dramatically transform our learning environments, and for the first time in history, learners now have the technical ability to learn anywhere, anytime, and with anyone. Yet, transitioning away from our industrial model of education will not be easy, and leaves us with many questions. What do teachers/leaders need to know about 21st-century learning? How can social networks and new media be used to support student learning? How do we deal with digital identity? This presentation will outline our new technological reality, feature examples of how social media can transform learning environments and guide participants in examining the potentials and pitfalls of modern learning.
Introduction to Personal Learning Networks & Connected Learning
Social Networking services often get the bad rap of 'time-wasters' or distractors. Yet, there are many social networks built upon passion, kindness, transparency, sharing, and collaboration. This session will explore these positive human networks as they apply to educators. Participants will learn how educator networks are transforming practice through the development of Personal Learning Networks. They will learn the most commonly used tools and techniques to support teaching and learning through social media. And, perhaps most importantly, participants will leave with the capability to extend and enhance their learning about this vital topic beyond the duration of the workshop.
Moving Beyond Tweets & Pokes: Social Media for Deep Learning
Social media services have exploded in use over the past few years. These new tools have fueled many debates around the relevance of new media in learning environments. Some see these tools as unnecessary distractions, while many other educators have accepted them into personal and classroom use. So what do we need to know about this new reality? What exemplars exist for social media in education? And, how can we use these tools to support student thoughtfulness, critical thinking, and creativity?
Understanding Digital Citizenship
Issues such as cyberbullying, sexting, and student access to inappropriate content are important areas of understanding for teachers, administrators, children, adolescents, and parents. In this session, participants will be presented with many of the important issues that face our schools in an era where access to information is ubiquitous, and digital messages are easily spread. Through a balance of information-sharing and questioning, participants will come to better understand such issues
Anywhere, Anytime, Anyone: Transitioning Toward 21st Century Learning
We are currently exiting the age of personal computers and entering a new mobile reality. Emerging technologies now provide us with the tools to dramatically transform our learning environments, and for the first time in history, learners now have the technical ability to learn anywhere, anytime, and with anyone. Yet, transitioning away from our industrial model of education will not be easy, and leaves us with many questions. What does it mean to be literate? What is the role of digital fluency in teaching and learning? How can social networks be used to support student learning and teacher professional development? This presentation will outline our new technological reality, feature examples of how social media and mobile devices can transform learning environments and guide participants in examining the potentials and pitfalls of 21st-century learning.
Introduction to Digital Storytelling
Storytelling is one of the most ancient and powerful forms of human expression. In today’s media-rich world, there is an abundance of digital tools that allow students to express themselves through digital narratives in ways that would have been impossible only a few years ago. This presentation will introduce participants to the tools of digital storytelling, provide rich examples of student work, and help to provide context to the relevance of storytelling in curriculum and instruction.
Ethics & Professionalism in the Age of Social Networks
Social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter have transformed how people communicate, form relationships, and share information. While some of these new affordances have fostered amazing opportunities for learning, creativity, and participatory citizenship, there are many downsides to this interconnected reality. How do manage information in such a fast-paced world? How has our relationship with privacy changed? How important is our online identity, to be Googleable as a professional? These and many other questions will be pursued in this media-rich and interactive presentation.
Open Learning & The Future of Education
Open Learning and Open Education are becoming commonly used terms in education but are concepts commonly misunderstood. This workshop will take participants through the history of the open movement, explore major components (e.g., copyleft, Creative Commons, open educational resources, open access publishing, and massive open online courses) and provide participants with a better understanding of how to embrace free and open technologies and content in their teaching and learning. Participants will leave with a solid understanding of how to find and share free/open resources, how to participate in open/online learning networks, how to connect students to anytime/anywhere learning opportunities, and how to adopt open pedagogies for greatly improved learning experiences.
Designing for Online & Blended Courses
While learning management systems like Moodle and Blackboard are still popular choices for facilitating online and augmented courses, these systems are being challenged by 'small-tools-loosely-joined' approaches to instructional design. This workshop will outline various pedagogical approaches used to construct learning environments based on freely available or low-cost tools. Participants will learn the ins and outs of some of the most common and powerful tools while coming to understand the pedagogical frameworks afforded by distributed learning environment design. Both closed and open models of learning will be explored throughout the workshop.
Becoming Open/Connected Educators
This session focuses on the mindsets, literacies, and actions that allow educators to become open/connected educators. Topics will include a discussion of open/connected philosophies, techno-pedagogical literacies for connecting in online spaces, and practical steps that educators can take to position themselves as connectors in personal/professional learning networks.
Taking the Next Step: Teaching & Learning in a Networked World
Many faculty are now becoming familiar with the basics of educational technology in teaching and learning. But, how do we take the next step toward instructional innovation using the full affordances of our current toolset? This presentation will describe the pedagogical concept of connected learning and demonstrate, using rich examples, how teachers and students are living and learning in our new networked reality. Participants will leave with a greater understanding of the potential of new social tools for teaching, learning, and ongoing professional development.
Reimagining Education: The Power and Promise of Technology in Learning
The educational landscape has long been saturated with technologies that promise to provide a panacea for the ills of education. Yet, given the enormous pressures of the modern classroom, it feels impossible to find time to assess and to implement each new educational innovation. This presentation will trace educational technologies, the winners and the losers, from past to present, to set the stage for reimagining learning in the 21st century. Participants will learn of the transformational potential of current technologies and discover how they can leverage these tools to redesign the future for their students.
The Power & Promise of Open & Connected Learning
In recent years, we have seen massive advances in technology that have brought enormous changes to the tools we use and the content we can now access instantly. In turn, these changes have shaped and shifted every aspect of our lives: today's world is truly a digital and networked global culture, far different from anything we have previously known. This new reality has profound implications for teaching and learning; indeed, the pedagogical possibilities of Web 2.0 tools seem limitless, yet our education systems have been reluctant to adapt to the connected world. In this presentation, Dr. Couros describes our changed (and changing) world and explores the ways that educators might take up the tremendous affordances of technologies to transform their practice, prepare students for a rapidly changing future, and create open and connected educational spaces that embody the best of our digital reality.
Embracing open/networked learning in a post-truth era
In this presentation, Dr. Couros describes our changed (and changing) world and explores the tremendous possibilities for collaboration, connection, kindness, and sharing that digital tools and social networks can provide, so that educators are better able to leverage the power and promise of technology in meaningful ways. Participants will explore the ways in which technologies and networks can be used to transform their practice, prepare students for a rapidly changing future, provide youth with the skills and competencies needed to critically and responsibly navigate our connected reality, and - perhaps most importantly - create open and connected educational spaces that embody the best of our digital reality.
Blogging as Portfolio Building
Blogs continue to be one of the most powerful forms of digital publication in teaching, learning, and leadership. Blogs allow for instantaneous, media-rich communication with local and global audiences. Blogs are also powerful tools that aid in the development of a positive digital footprint, especially when designed as ePortfolios. This workshop will outline the process in which blogs can be used to showcase learning for students, teachers, and educational leaders, as well as to provide a foundation for building personal learning networks that support lifelong learning.
Understanding the Digital Realities of Our Students
To effectively serve our students, we must understand the greater culture in which our children live and play. In the information age, this understanding must include the new networked and participatory worlds that have emerged as our society has become increasingly information-rich but attention-poor. This presentation will move beyond the simplistic narratives of the “digital native” to describe the rich reality of children who are largely shaped and socialized by Internet culture and the ubiquity of mobile technologies. Through the lens of responsible digital citizenship, participants will be led through the possibilities and pitfalls of our contemporary world and will learn how we can better equip our children to thrive and survive in a networked world.
Finding Humanity in the Age of Social Networks
Social media is often dismissed as a distraction, or even associated with narcissism and blamed for disconnecting us. Yet our students spend a great deal of time in these spaces, so we must understand the complex world of social networks rather than writing it off as a useless distraction. This session will outline some of the ways that our world has been changed by the explosion of digital culture. As well, participants will gain an understanding of the tremendous possibilities for collaboration, connection, kindness, and sharing that social networks can provide, so that they can better leverage technology integration in meaningful and transformative ways.
Educational Technology 101
Educational technology is increasingly important in our classrooms but keeping up with the latest information and practice seems nearly impossible. This session will go over some of the most popular apps and Chrome extensions that are used to make sense of constant information flow. As well, we'll discuss some of the key technologies and related practices that you should have in your toolbox as a teacher using technology.
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