Speaker Abstracts

Our Speakers Included:

Erik Metzger

Intel IP Attorney

Maria H. Andersen
Director of Learning and Innovation, Area9 (Affordable, personalized learning on a global scale)

Dr. Elaine M. Raybourn
Research Scientist, National Laboratory Advisor, Sandia National Labs,
Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative

Elizabeth Strickler
Associate Director, Digital Arts & Entertainment Lab (DAEL)GSU

Bryan Alexander
Educator, futurist, researcher, writer, speaker, consultant, author:
The New Digital Storytelling: Creating Narratives with New Media

Matthew Burge
Professor of Motion Media at SCAD

Eileen Smith
Director, E2I Creative Lab

Carolyn Handler Miller
AuthorDigital Storytelling – A Creator’s Guide to Interactive Entertainment

Benoît Morel
CEO and Co-Founder, Cantoche

Steve Harmon

Professor and Chair of the Learning Technologies Division in the College of Education at Georgia State University

Robert Matney

Director of Operations at Polycot Associates

Donna Kidwell

Product Director at The University of Texas at Austin, (commercialization, innovation, leadership, entrepreneurial training, and developing MOOCs)

Dr. Brian Magerko

Associate professor of Digital Media at the Georgia Institute of Technology

Additional Talks and Demos: 

Talk: Gamification for Learning
Billy Joe Cain

Talk and Demonstration: Nano Art
Cris Orfescu

Demonstration: Experimental Geography

Talk and Demonstration: Algorithmic Art
Joel Kahn

Talk: Art, Technology, and Augmented Reality
Marvin Neibuhr and Dr. Bruce Niebuhr

Talk and Demonstration: Makerspace, a space for young children to learn about STEAM oriented topics

Joseph Lopez, is the Head of Faculty of Convergent Media at the University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio

Talk and Demonstration: Building a successful STEM education infrastructure and outreach for students raised in lower-socioeconomic regions

Kayla DesPortes Human-Centered Computing Ph.D. Student in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology focusing on Learning Sciences and Technology.

Demo: Organic Math

Wes Terrell and Zach Hurdle Science and Math Professors at Skybridge Academy

MIT - Experimental Geography and Award winning serious games

OPENING ADDRESS:  Intel's STEAM Initiatives

Presented by Erik Metzger

Intel's Erik Metzger will discuss Intel’s support of STEAM as it relates to “maker” culture, schools, and non-profits, as well as Intel’s pro bono legal support for the arts in Austin and throughout the U.S.  Maker education and non-profits are particularly important to Intel, because they help develop the innovative minds that will fuel the creative economy and Intel’s business in the future.  Intel volunteer attorneys also assist with counseling maker innovators and other artists and inventors on a variety of arts and technology-related matters through Intel’s involvement with non-profit organizations, such as California Lawyers for the Arts and Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts.

Maximizing the Use of Avatars to Maintain Your Learners’ Attention

Presented by Benoît Morel

A growing number of courses, devices, applications, tasks, and responsibilities compete for learners' limited attention. Sustaining users’ attention, while they interact with an online application or when they interact with an e-learning training course, is an important technique that can directly impact corporate bottom line and the organization's potential for learning.  Maintaining attention plays a key role in the design of future e-learning technologies.

This presentation will begin with a description of major theoretical approaches to the issue of human attention and how increasing cognitive load pressures on the learner make it imperative that e-learning practitioners use multiple techniques to maintain learners’ attention, including the use of avatars.  A description and definition of avatars and when avatars are most efficient for e-learning will be provided. Case studies of uses of avatars for corporate training will be discussed. Each case study presented will focus on one of the four main features of avatars: visual appearance, gestures & behaviors, voice, and interaction between the avatar and the environment. The discussion of the case studies will provide step-by-step analysis of how these companies used avatars to maintain users’ attention that are applicable across avatar solutions and platforms. Finally, current avatar research directions will be provided.

Takeaway summary

  • The fundamental theories related to maintaining human attention
  • The 4 main features of avatars: visual appearance, behaviors, voice, and interaction between the avatar and the environment
  • When to use 2D versus 3D avatars in your e-learning module to maximize attention
  • Lessons learned from successful use of avatars for e-learning across different organizations (case studies)
  • How to use avatars to maximize learner attention across different (trans) media
  • Research directions for avatar technology that can help e-learning practitioners maximize learning

Engaging Next Generation Learners Anytime, Anywhere with Transmedia Learning

Presented by Dr. Elaine Raybourn

Next generation learners engage use digital tools, games, and virtual environments more than ever before. Although these media are often deployed as stand-alone solutions, they can also serve as entry points into more complete, memorable, and enduring experiences that promote learning for anyone, anytime, anywhere. One way to facilitate more memorable learning is to incorporate storytelling. While storytelling is a common component within stand-alone educational technology, there is also a need for a storytelling methodology that connects stand-alone learning experiences with each other so that they become integral elements of one’s learning journey over time. This keynote introduces a paradigm shift for educators called transmedia learning. Transmedia learning involves empowering learners with stories, media choices that connect real and persistent virtual spaces, social networks, personal assistants for learning, and self-paced, personalized learning pathways. Transmedia learning is a cutting-edge approach that will fascinate parents and energize e-learning practitioners. This keynote will appeal to all those with an eye toward the future and an interest in understanding how they can make use of trends in new media to engage learners anytime, anywhere.

Creating the Avid Learner as We Redefine The Village: Serious Games, 24/7 Learning and Global Connectivity

Presented by Eileen Smith

Science. Art. To the ancient Greeks an educated citizen was literate in both. As we learn more about how the human brain works we cannot think we can make the changes necessary in education without grounding them in how each individual learner thinks and feels.  We have the technology to allow multi-sensory, multi-modal personalization, and the modern learner has tools at their fingertips for ubiquitous access to available technologies. We know that by design effective technology disappears into the background, leaving engaged learners to synthesize learning from diverse environments on their unique learning journey toward both intellectual and emotional understanding and literacy.  This keynote will discuss an emerging university-community research initiative at E2i Creative Studio looking at how to connect data, environments and activities aimed at creating the avid learner. Strategies under research incorporate next generation artistic and scientific tools, techniques and talent to design, develop and pilot test projects that empower learners to tackle difficult challenges, accept rigor and understand how to evaluate risk, and design solutions based on intellectual and emotional literacy. Educators and instructional designers need to seize the opportunity to incorporate learning in social context, allowing cultural connections and a community of practice to “place” learners directly into their learning experiences, which is a powerful tool for lasting impact. Taking advantage of interactive simulation’s ability to allow learners to explore time, place and scale deepens understanding between local and global issues. We need to begin to quantify how to understand the learner as a knowledge sampler, living in a continuous environment of learning, synthesizing and transferring new knowledge into deeper understanding and design systems to support and guide each of their journeys.

The Social Life of MOOCs

Presented by Dr. Donna Kidwell and Robert Matney

MOOCs are evolving, as is the technical and social context within they operate. Inevitable MOOC-based educational strategies will incorporate forms of social media to extend functionality and support engagement. This session will explore the possible integration of MOOCs with social media platforms, and how these forms will combine to redefine the virtual classroom environment.

Changing Minds: How Technology is Transforming the Landscape of Learning

Presented by Dr. Stephen Harmon

Technology has revolutionized every aspect of modern society except education. Chris Dede of Harvard has opined that if electricity was to somehow vanish from the planet tomorrow, education would be the least affected of society’s institutions. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Dr. Stephen Harmon, professor and chair of the Learning Technologies Division in the College of Education at Georgia State University will discuss recent developments in learning research, and information and communications technologies that have the potential to substantially alter the way we work and learn. But will these advances change the way we teach? Dr. Harmon will explore some new and emerging technologies that hold potential for advancing teaching and learning, and will propose a way of examining them to look for any advantages they offer for education. He will offer a theoretical basis for learning with new media that will help people decide which new technologies to use and when to use them.

Digital Storytelling and Immersive Learning

Presented by Carolyn Handler Miller

Digital Storytelling and Immersive Learning is an exploration of the enormous power of digital storytelling to involve students in educational experiences.  This keynote will investigate what it is about combining storytelling and interactivity that makes it such a compelling experience for the learner. Incorporated into the talk is a review of the fundamental characteristics of storytelling, including well-developed characters, a compelling plot, conflict, and tension. The keynote will also examine what happens interactivity is wedded to story, and how interactivity has the power to engage the learner. How can this power be used effectively and how can it backfire?

This keynote will utilize a variety of interactive digital media platforms as examples to determine what makes each of them particularly engaging. These platforms include locative narratives (experiences that employ mobile audio devices and that are set in specific geographic spaces); Alternate Reality Games (ARGs); interactive experiences on the Web and educational video games.

The talk will attempt to answer this fundamental question: How is it possible to smoothly integrate leaning objectives into an interactive digital media story?

Building a successful STEAM education infrastructure and outreach for students raised in lower-socioeconomic regions

Presented by Kayla DesPortes

The National Science Foundation’s 2013 report out on “Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering” highlights the dearth of women and minorities employed in science and engineering fields in 2010: Women made up 50.9% of the population but only represented 28% of those working in science and engineering occupations; Blacks made up 12.2% of the population and only represented 5% of those working in science and engineering occupations; and Hispanics made up 16.4% of the population and represented only 6%  of those working in science and engineering occupations. This data exemplifies the need for equalizing interventions, which work to increase the numbers of Underrepresented Minorities (URMs) in science and engineering.  

There have been many factors identified as reasons why there exists this lack of diversity in the engineering fields; however, much of the disparities have been attributed to absence of resources in ethnically diverse communities.  The book “Stuck in the Shallow End” exemplifies the disparities in availability of technology.  Through numerous studies of different school systems they reveal that, “students are afforded different, and highly unequal, computer science learning opportunities according to the racial and socioeconomic demographics of the students in the school”.  It is tantamount that we begin to intervene in the allocation of these resources both inside and outside of schools.  

 I am working on approaching this problem outside of the school environment.  I have designed an infrastructure that employs high school students from underserved areas in a job focusing on technology and engineering.  Not only will this gain them exposure to a field that they might not otherwise encounter, but it creates the opportunity for employment of the students to serve as an excuse to engage in computing.  In previous studies, the latter aspect has been highlighted as meaningful due to social and cultural views that the students and their communities sometimes possess towards engineering and computer science, which can be less than enthusiastic.  The students are to be employed in a makerspace environment in which they will attempt to make and sell their creations with the guidance of mentors who have an engineering background.  

The mentorship in this framework is imperative since has been a proven tactic for engaging and sustaining URMs in the fields of Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM). Furthermore, the community makerspaces have been growing over the past several years leading researchers to experiment with it as a means to successfully engage youths in engineering and computing.

 My work focuses on the scaffolding and training of mentors and their relationships with their mentees, within the context of an infrastructure combining the makerspace with an entrepreneurial environment.  

Parallel Reality

Presented by Stanza UK

Stanza is an expert in arts technology, CCTV, online networks, touch screens, environmental sensors, and interactive artworks. Stanza's artworks explore artistic and technical opportunities to enable new aesthetic perspectives, experiences and perceptions within context of architecture, data spaces and online environments. Stanza uses this experiential approach to explore new ways of learning about ourselves and our environment.

Recurring themes throughout his career include the urban landscape, surveillance culture, privacy and alienation in the city. Stanza is interested in the patterns we leave behind as well real time networked events that can be re-imagined and sourced for information. Stanza uses multiple new technologies to create distances between real time multi point perspectives that emphasis a new visual space. The purpose of this is to communicate feelings and emotions that we encounter daily which impact on our lives and which are outside our control.

Work has focused on the idea of the city as a display system and various projects have been made using live data, the use of live data in architectural space, and how it can be made into meaningful representations. These works reform the data, and work with the idea of bringing data from outside into the inside, and then present it back out again in open ended systems where the public is often engaged in or directly embedded in the artwork.

Some of his most well known projects include: - The Emergent City, visual artworks informed by critical analysis of city data spaces. Genomixer is a series of online artworks made using the artists DNA data sequence. Soundcities an online database system of thousands of city sounds and city maps. Sensity where Stanza has scattered hundreds of sensors across London to collect data about the environment. Urban Generation uses live CCTV and making online representations of the real time city.


Presented by Dr. Brian Magerko

In disciplines ranging from science to the humanities to the arts, computational thinking has become central to how we create, communicate, experiment, evaluate, iterate, and innovate. Computer science education research has generally focused on student engagement, compelling domains for learning computing, and specific pedagogical strategies. However, as a nation we have yet to make major strides in developing computing literacy as a core 21st century STEM skill for tackling multidisciplinary problems.  This talk will present the EarSketch project, an approach to teaching computational thinking within the context of music remixing with code.  It will present an overview of the learning environment, our results from employing EarSketch in multiple formal and informal learning settings, and our plans for the future for EarSketch to be incorporated into high schools and after school programs nationwide.

Storytelling catches up with the 21st century

Presented by Bryan Alexander

How is storytelling changing under the impact of new technologies?  We begin by revisiting digital narrative explorations of the 1990s, including Web-based projects and the Center for Digital Storytelling's curriculum.  Next we advance into the 21st century's first two decades, starting with new story spaces afforded by the new Web of social media and microcontent.  We consider gaming as a hugely significant narrative platform.  We discover the unique story capabilities of mobile devices.  

Tech Hustle and The Maker Bench

Presented by Kayla Desportes and John Chandler

There are astonishing low numbers of women and underrepresented minorities in engineering fields.  There is a need for equalizing interventions which work to increase these numbers.  The first part of the talk will focus on Tech Hustle: a proposed infrastructure for educating students from lower socio-economic regions in engineering and computer science through an entrepreneurial endeavor.  The framework is designed to employ high school students from underserved regions in a job that focuses on creating technology in a makerspace environment to sell for commission.  While the students work in this space they will be guided through by mentors with an engineering background.  This talk goes into the details of the research surrounding the project, and it proposes how to approach the creation of this infrastructure.
     The second part of the talk will surround design and creation of The Maker Bench.  The Maker Bench is a modular piece of furniture designed with the idea of allowing the end user to design their work space.  It is easily modifiable and customizable.  This talk will focus on integration of sensor choice and placement with modular furniture design to create a "smart" space tailored to the makerspace environment.  We will discuss the design choices made to enhance recording and retrieving data to allow for better collaboration and documentation.  This data can be used to improve mentoring relationships by providing remote access to information, people and real-time events.  It will help users document and share the creation of novel digital artifacts.


Presented by Cris Orfescu

This attempt to introduce NanoArt goes back in time to the first uses of nanomaterials
and nanotechnologies to create art and continues with the beginnings of NanoArt. Then, it follows a
status on this new artistic-scientific discipline and the movement that evolved from recent technological
developments in the multidisciplinary area known as nanotechnology. The presentation informs about the
international juried NanoArt competitions, displays select artworks collected in the NanoArt21 gallery,
and finally presents a few thoughts of select nanoartists and art people.

Art, Technology and Augmented Reality

Presented by Marvin Niebuhr and Bruce Niebuhr

We will describe how blending performance art with digital technology is an entertaining, intriguing, and innovative approach to augmented reality, and provides a platform for inspirational approaches to learning. We use the model of the 19th-early 20th medicine show updated with digital technology. Our medicine show has delighted audiences of children and adults at venues around the USA, including a number of highly successful performances at Plutopia events. At our presentation we will show video clips and live examples from the medicine show and its applications in learning.

Algorithmic Art

Presented by Joel Kahn

For a work of art to be considered algorithmic art, its creation must include a process based on an algorithm devised by the artist. Here, an algorithm is simply a detailed recipe for the design and possibly execution of an artwork, which may include computer codefunctionsexpressions, or other input which ultimately determines the form the art will take. This input may be mathematicalcomputational, or generative in nature. Inasmuch as algorithms tend to be deterministic, meaning that their repeated execution would always result in the production of identical artworks, some external factor is usually introduced. This can either be a random number generator of some sort, or an external body of data (which can range from recorded heartbeats to frames of a movie.) Some artists also work with organically based gestural input which is then modified by an algorithm. The artist's self-made algorithms are an integral part of the authorship, as well as being a medium through which their ideas are conveyed. While algorithmic art in general is an extremely broad subject, my presentation will concentrate on two relatively limited concepts:

1. Many kinds of algorithmic art, including the forms that I have been producing, require very little money; they can be created using Free Software and old inexpensive hardware.

2. Any genuine creativity requires taking risks. This includes the kind of creative work that I have been pursuing. The point needs to be understood and accepted in the field of education.

Innovative Approaches to Project-based Learning

Presented by Elizabeth Strickler

What can students do when they create a mashup of camera, computer, projector and sensors?  By applying the Maker’s Movement and entrepreneurship mindset to media content creation, distribution and access, we will look at how to engage students in creative and stimulating experiences in which the goal is to create engaging experiences for others. Using media, technology and business expert volunteers in Atlanta, we will discuss ways to extend the classroom to the community and bring the community into the classroom. In one semester, students create amazing media technologies, businesses or services with a solid prototype and industry ready pitch.

STEAM in the 21st Century:  Maker and Creative Spaces inside and outside the classroom

Presented by Dr. Joseph Lopez

 Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math aka STEAM has become a buzz word.  It is one being thrown around, but what does it really mean?  What does it mean at the collegiate level and K-12.  How do we bring awareness about the actual act of implementing STEAM programs and ideas into the classroom instead of using it as a buzzword?  

My talk will cover this topic through examples of STEAM being implemented at both the K-12 and collegiate level.  Working with Mark Barnett in San Antonio looking at his Makerspace and having him give in class demonstrations of STEAM curriculum in the classroom at the University of Incarnate Word I will provide an audio / visual experience that will contextualize how STEAM is impacting communities in real ways.

Motion Graphics & Kinetic Typography as keys to visual learning

Presented by Matthew  Burge

The use of motion graphics and kinetic typography is a mainstay in commercials, info graphics and film/TV titles. This talk explores the way complex subjects matters can be simplified through the use of motion graphics techniques. Everything from title sequences to attempts at explaining the national debt have benefited from the use of these techniques. This talk contains a brief discussion of motion graphics followed by case studies from the film industry and Kinetic Type pieces dealing with aesthetic and cultural issues as examples of this approach to visual learning.

How Video Games Can Revolutionize Education

Presented by Billy Joe Cain

Games can provide a different platform for learning and teaching through a technique called gamification. Gamification is a combination of Game Mechanics and Big Data to generate a unique experience for a user that is continually updated based on user behavior as well as other parameters that are important to that product or service.

Education has game mechanics like scores and levels built into the "system," such as tests and grade levels, but it hasn't been truly connected in a way that could be called "gamified."

By taking advantage of gamification in education, we can change learning and teaching methodology and blended / social learning in general.


Maker Make and the Funky Bench

Presented by John Chandler

Maker Make and the Funky Bench uses the open source grid beam system to explore the effect of user configurable spaces on enabling collaboration, informal learning, metacognitive reflection, and ultimately transfer within the context of constructionist learning.  The positioning of both physical and digital artifacts affect the way that people can collaborate within and between workspaces. By allowing or preventing movements, lines of sight, access to information, and proximity to other people the layout of the physical environment drastically affects the ability to work or learn within it. By allowing people to not just learn in situated environments but actually modify their environment as they learn, we are hoping to provide a stronger physical representation of the event within the memory of the learner, providing the ability to develop more robust abstractions, and ultimately higher levels of transfer between previously solved problems and new problems.