Ottawa County Innovation and Technology Forum 2016


Big Data Panel Discussion

Kevin Desouza, Rod Davenport, and Paul Stephenson, professor and chair of the GVSU department of statistics talk about the value and challenges of big data.



What is Big Data?


Big Data at GVSU

  • Real-world applications (link from the real world back to the classroom)
  • Big Data (real world context and data sets are available)
  • Complex Content
  • Internships and Jobs (students are interested)
  • Knowledgeable Community (educational institutions have a drive)
  • Students at universities have: tech skills, eager and creative minds, discretionary time.

Data Scientist Skills

  • Visualization, Communication, Storytelling
  • Basic statistics and computer programming.
  • Domain knowledge and teamwork
  • Sampling and data storage/retrieval
  • Statistical modeling and machine learning
  • Curious, evaluative (critical thinking), innovative, strategic

Challenges of Big Data

  • Data quality
  • Accessibility of data
  • Re-purposed data
  • Privacy and security
  • Complicated systems
  • Analysts that don’t understand the question or understand the solution
  • Inferential thinking (focus on error bars and intervals)
  • Differentiating “signals from noise”
  • Balancing time constraints

Realizing the Promise of Data and Technologies for Local Governments

Kevin Desouza, associate dean for research at the College of Public Service & Community Solutions and ASU Foundation professor in the School of Public Affairs at Arizona State University, presented at the Ottawa County Innovation and Technology Forum.


  • Complex platforms and governance now requires use of tech, data, mobile.
  • Data and technologies provide situational awareness, transparency, engagement, policy, innovation, and governance.
  • Open data includes many platforms, including crowdsourcing so that the data management and tool development occurs using the data.
  • Issues with open data include: limited tech talent, public/private partnerships, success metrics are not defined, and there is a transparency vs privacy concern.
  • Example: Arizona Budget Analysis Tool (AZBat) – Took for months to build and it was built with 8 undergrads for a reasonable cost vs hiring an outside firm.
  • Big data issues include: local governments lack IT infrastructure and talent to conduct large-scale predictive analytics projects. It also includes data that is “volunteered”. How can we link all of our separate databases? With the access to the data, what does that mean, ethically.  Should we/can we “discriminate” aka predicative policing, knowing that we have the data…
  • Mobile data includes Fitbit like devices that contribute data around health and activities, this data is given up by end users. Real-time data from phones, wearable tech, social networks, etc. is growing rapidly. Issues include byod, regulating apps, encryption, interoperability, video data processing and curation (police cameras).
  • Emerging tech such as autonomous vehicles will cost local governments big bucks. There are big data concerns and challenges.
  • We all make decisions based on data, once we made a decision we often stop processing data. People often have emotions, hopes, and instincts but without data you can’t align resources.

Top 10 Governing Data and Tech for Societal Value

  1. Start with a Goal in Mind – Evidence-based Decision Making. Knowing what the objective and outcome is needed.
  2. Explore Design Options – Designing for the customer vs designing with the customer. Needs are best met with working directly with the customer.
  3. Rapid Prototype Development – Open and frugal innovation.
  4. Manage Scope Creep – Bound the problem and hold.
  5. Build Partnerships – Leverage and connect to resources.
  6. Harness Collective Intelligence – Design civic labs and crowdsourcing platforms. Open and welcoming for people to experiment.
  7. Experiment Constantly – Test interventions, simulate intended and unintended consequences. Bring in end users to do actually test and use, simulate, experiment, try, provide recommendations.
  8. Release in Beta – Iterative and the project is really never done.
  9. Promote “Intrapreneurship” – Develop competencies from WITHIN and promote innovation inside of the organization to promote innovation.
  10. Outputs and Outcomes – Track both for evaluation and communicate the ROIs.


#MVUsym16 – Managing Quality in Online Learning

IMG_7756Session Description

A panel of online learning experts will discuss issues of quality as they pertain to online teachers and instruction, online content and course design, and program evaluation.


Peter Arashiro, Director of Instructional Product Design, MVU
Kristin Flynn, Interim Executive Director of Student Learning Services, MVU
Joe Friedhoff, Vice President of Research, Policy, and Professional Learning, MVU.


Session Presentation Slides

Redefining Quality Online Instruction

  • Moved contracted instructors to part time employees.
  • HumanEx screener tool was used to find student-centered staff with empathy, positive attitude, results oriented, etc. Phone screener was a 30 minute call with over 200 interviews.

Uniform Onboarding Experience and Establishing Consistency Online

  • Common policies around academic integrity.
  • Shared best practices in engagement, efficiency, feedback.
  • Collaboration opportunities via Google Apps for Education
  • Pre-flight Checklists
  • Instructor monitor checklists for classroom observations.

Do your faculty have a growth mindset? “When we are failing we are learning…”


Building Capacity Online

  • Annual performance reviews.
  • Ongoing professional development includes “synergy” sessions with part time faculty.
  • “Collaboration of the Minds” is an event to bring everyone together to compare notes and share best practices.
  • Webinars are offered regularly.
  • 1-1 Coaching Opportunity.
  • Reflection is captured through blogging.

Managing Quality through the Course Design Process

  • DESIGN is intentional (produces useful results, derived from process, able to stand on their own)
  • QM is used to monitor Quality
  • Scope and Sequence, Standards, Meeting Objectives, Alignment of Assessments (Iterative process is key.)


Program Evaluation BEFORE

  • iNACOL, QM, AdvancED



Program Evaluation DURING

  • Learning Analytics


  • Monitoring Gradebook and Student Achievement


  • Tracking Login and Activity within Blackboard


  • Tracking Tool Activities in Courses


  • Tracking Completion


Program Evaluation AFTER


#MVUsym16 – Digital Badging in Educational Settings

Session Description
Digital badging provides a mechanism to acknowledge both formal and informal learning by students. This session will provide an overview of digital badging and highlight several Michigan badging projects that are underway.

Michelle Ribrant, Assistant Director, Office of Education Improvement and Innovation (MDE)

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  • Career and College Readiness is a focus of MDE.

  • Personalized learning is based on intentional instruction and integration, competency-based education, flexible learning options with a foundation of multi-tiered systems of support.
  • Personalized Learning
    • Choice, Context, Pacing, Relevance, Proficiency
  • Personalized Teaching
    • Collaboration, Flexibility, Student Ownership, Faciliation
  • Educational Technology
    • Access, Customization, Engagement, Data Use
  • Open badges are part of a reporting system. Competency-based pathways include: demonstrated mastery vs seat time, explicit and measurable learning objectives, rapid and differentiated support, application of knowledge, and flexible learning options and multiple pathways.
  • How do we recognize and value the way we learn…
  • Badges are digital documentation of skills and achievement. A badge is a digital icon and within the badge are credentials of who issued, what did the user have to do to earn the badge, and the evidence of outcomes/standards of the badge that is earned.

Image from Classhack

  • Students has control of what they have learned, and they can share their badge on social media via Mozilla open badges.
  • Badges can play an integral role by supporting recognition on a skill or competency level and allowing learners to create custom pathways.
  • Why badges? Schools and the workforce can see student learning that happens in and out of school in informal settings. Completion of a project, mastery of a skill, and life experience represents student learning. Provide a comprehensive picture and demonstrated evidence of gained competencies. Student ownership of their learning. Assurance of credibility.
  • Considerations for issuing badges: Aligned to standards (academic, industry, out of school learning). Multiple pathways to demonstrate content. Communication of badges and levels of accomplishments.
  • Credibility is important in badging. There is informal credibility, but also there are formal badges and the continuum therein.
  • Cyber security badges is a good example. It could take a student years to get through the “gold standard” certification.
  • Sample MDE badges include Digital Adventures bade for Detroit Public TV, FIRST Lego League, MiBadges, CS First (Google program). MDE is using MSU’s site to help manage badges.
  • Credly is another great solution to issuing and collecting badges.
  • FIRST in Michigan is a great example of what is happening locally. This includes attendance badges of 60 hours and then there are levels of additional badging in 2nd and 3rd level.
  • Moving ahead:
    • Continue work with partners to develop criteria for awarding badges to ensure legitimacy
    • Alignment to TRIG, 21st Century Afterschool Learning, First Robotics, 21 Things for Students, CS First, DPTV, and other initiatives.
    • Design/enhance reporting systems that include competencies and badges to indicate student skills and knowledge aligned to career and college readiness.

#MVUsym16 – Effective Leadership for Blended Learning

FullSizeRender (76)

Session Description
This session will highlight emerging standards for blended instruction, lessons from recent blended learning research and strategies to effectively implement blended instruction into practice. Representatives of the MVU MyBlend team will share key implementation considerations as well as supports available to Michigan school leaders based on the work of and training from the Clayton Christenson Institute and The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University.

Jamie DeWitt, Manager of Blended Learning Services, MVU; Stacey Schuh, Blended-Learning Coach, MVU


“The challenge for our education system is to leverage the learning sciences and modern technology to create engaging, relevant, and personalized learning experiences for all learners that mirror students’ daily lives and the reality of their futures.” – National Education Technology Plan

  • Our kids are learning today, differently that we have experienced in learning in growing up. How can we best take advantage of the technology and students’ experience.
  • Blended learning is about taking advantage of the benefits of face to face with the digital.
  • Clayton Christensen Institute – Blended learning is combining the following: through online learning, brick and mortar location away from home,  modalities are connected to provide an integrated learning experience.
  • Good instruction is about deeper level thinking, having objectives, students are engaged and participating in the learning, conversational, relevancy, motivation, drive to learn, feedback.

Students should be able to tell us what they are learning, not what app they are using… Technology is a tool not an outcome.

  • Focused on instructional goals, and strategies chose to meet goals, not just use technology.
  • Intentional integration of technologies.  Teacher is the most important in a blended learning environment with combining the F2F and Online. The sweetspot is the classroom, personalized learning, more feedback, time on task.
  • Blended learning is an even mix of online and face to face.

Blended Learning graph
Image from Christensen Institute

  • Blended learning requires a change in mindset as a teacher as well as support and resources. There is so much on your plate as a teacher. The mindset change is the beginning, along with qualities such as coaching and mentoring, and finally skills of both adaptive and technical.


Image from iNACOL

  • Supporting teachers to try new things is really important. Students as well as teachers learn from failure.
  • Continuous improvement of student learning.
  • What happens when change starts with a group of innovative teachers? The early adopters are excited. There is often though a missing piece to the adoption because of the support network and resources are limited. In order to make change move forward, support needs to be aligned with teacher needs.
  • A visionary is important and a leader advocating change is important and it also encourages change. The innovative administrators keep going and help to encourage.
  • The key is to combine the innovative leaders with the excited teachers to develop integrated solutions for the success of all students!
  • Purpose-driven PD to enhance teaching and learning that is job-embedded is key.
  • Developing learning communities is important so that teachers can help teachers.
  • Take advantage of MVU resources as well as local REMC and district resources as well as social networks like #MichEd

Session Slides


#SXSWedu – Learning through Virtual Reality Experiences

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DigitalBodies Blog

Session Description

This workshop explores the impact of virtual reality on education. Participants will experience VR devices to analyze how this immersive wearable technology reshapes the teaching-learning environment and institutional culture. New forms of experiential learning will draw upon visually rich virtual and augmented reality experiences. VR is raising fundamental questions about the shape of future media, narrative and storytelling. Technology is rapidly moving from information access to personal experience, where deeply compelling learning environments are immediately available before our eyes, requiring profound innovation in pedagogy, learning space design and institutional culture.


  • Google Cardboard – 5 million card boards are out, 500,000 are part of the expeditions program. 1.1 million for the New York Times. Benefit is that they are highly mobile.
  • Oculus Rift and HTC Vive – Powerful but often can’t run on the computer as they require a powerful PC. They are also tethered.
  • Disney’s Augmented Reality Coloring Book
  • ZSpace 3D – A 3D monitor for visualization and interaction.
  • Microsoft HoloLens – Portable augmented reality.
  • Meta 2 AR Glasses (large screen projection) – Similar to Microsoft HoloLens (complete unit untethered).
  • Magic Leap – Lightfield displays.
  • Samsung Gear VR – $99 similar to Google Cardboard but more “sturdy”
  • Google VR Headset – Possibly coming before IO event.
  • Project Tango by Google – Tango is a mobile mapping project.
  • There is a cinema in Amsterdam that is one of the first VR theaters.
  • Virtual Reality as a New Medium – You are part of the content using your hands and even turning your head.

Education is a social process. Education is growth. Education is not a preparation for life; education is life itself. – John Dewey

  • Virtual Reality – Presence, Empathy, Experience, Action
  • Virtual Reality – Ivan Sutherland, 1965 “… A room within which the computer can control the existence of matter.
  • Learning Possibilites – Create new learning resources and go where you couldn’t before with VR.
  • Alchemy Learning offers analytics and data gathering about the virtual reality experiences.
  • Chris Milk …Virtual Reality as the “Final Medium”
  • Storytelling is a benefit of VR. Nonny de la Pena: Social Advocacy and Documentary Work.
  • Sundance’s New Frontier Exhibit – Real Virtuality: Immersive Explorers
  • Filmmaking and the Martian VR Experience
  • Holo-Cinema by Lucas Film Studio is a 1:1 experience that offers engaging full body interaction.
  • Creating a virtual reality playspace and “THE VOID” is an example.

Access Session Resources

Looking to the future how will we answer these questions through the lens of VR?

  1. What are the implications for learning as virtual reality blurs the line between reality and illusion?
  2. How will virtual and augmented reality accelerate personalized learning?
  3. How will virtual reality reinvent the concept of experiential learning?

#SXSWedu – InnovationU. Unlocking the University-as-Incubator

Session Description

Universities develop and commercialize IP in critical areas, from medicine to particle physics. Yet, despite being the most well positioned for the task, universities have not played as big of a role in developing EdTech. Instead of more technologies in search of a problem, university-grown innovation can help to develop user-focused solutions: technology made for educators, by educators. The university-as-innovation-playground approach allows entrepreneurs to prototype and iterate quickly with faculty and students on campus. Hear from academics-turned-entrepreneurs who have successfully used this approach to develop and launch technologies aimed at the biggest challenges in higher ed. 


  • The politics of a university can be a challenge or barrier for innovation – if you intend to commercialize or sustain the idea into a product.
  • Perry Samson from the University of Michigan created the Weather Underground and LectureTools which was recently purchased by echo360. Perry has also created a new incubator called Eduvators out of the University of Michigan TechArb.
  • The University of Virginia’s school of education has generated 5 startups through the Jefferson Startup Incubator.
  • Part of the incubation process involves extensive and rich use of the technology. Rich test beds of options for developers and new ideas can emerge and be engaged by users.
  • How do we best manage innovation at our universities… At scale?
  • Nimble and quick versus our monolithic large universities.
  • The interest in EdTech by faculty should be based on need in the classroom. Do teachers see the value of trying something new in the classroom? What are we providing re: EdTech – that makes your job as a faculty member better or easier.
  • If we know in week 3 that a student is likely to fail – based on data/analytics predications – now what do we do? If we don’t do anything, are we liable?

We need learning sensors in the field to forecast the success of students. – Perry Samson

  • How do we help students succeed is the key question. Everything boils down to this.
  • Some of the value of #EdTech is difficult to evaluate because in many ways we (higher Ed) struggle with valid assessment.
  • Ideas need to be vetted, because you can’t support everyone and some ideas are not ready for prime time.
  • Encourage students to take courses on entrepreneurship to create a culture of idea generation and venturing forward.
  • Delivery of content is 1 piece of #EdTech – but it can be much more. We need a broader definition of student outcomes like initiative, leadership + how do we assess these?
  • What are the REAL problems we are facing now vs what problems we are desiring to solve.
  • Where is our focus and how do we know where to start? Hackathons can generate ideas for solutions.
  • “Kegenars” with beverages allow students (of age) and faculty to have a conversation and generate ideas.
  • Support for bubble up ideas by central administration is important.

Every campus should have space to generate and collect new ideas while also putting some money behind it.

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    #SXSWedu – Playground offers a Plethora of Possibilities

    Have you been to the playground yet? Head on over to interact and explore an amazing set of tools and technologies to teach with…

    Session Details

    Stimulate your adventurous side in the SXSWedu Playground, an exhilarating space that promotes discovery through STEM, maker, gaming, virtual learning, accessibility, arts integration and more. Hosted by LEGO Education and VEX Robotics, this exciting destination will feature displays from a number of innovative organizations, as well as dynamic talks and hands-on sessions. Discover, participate and explore in this casual learning space.

    Look forward to engaging in interactive activities with the following displays, up and running for the duration of the Playground:

    Black Rocket
    Computer Science Department, The University of Texas at Austin
    Digital Media Academy
    Einstein’s Workshop
    Electric Girls
    Kurzweil Education
    LEGO Education
    New York Hall of Science
    NOVA Labs
    Office Depot
    Progressive Arts Alliance
    Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center
    The Learning Portfolio Project
    Urban Arts Partnership
    VEX Robotics