Shawn McEwen, Business Development D2L, introduced the symposium in his blog with the following assertion: "Disruptive innovation challenges us to look beyond the obvious and explore alternative opportunities and seek new outcomes. It pushes the envelope to discover something big – something that matters and transforms the user experience". The theme that I drew from the speakers and presentations throughout the day was that we need to consider multiple pathways for learning, beyond differentiation with the traditional classroom. Mobile technology, data analytics, and creative, collaborative learning offer innovative and individualized educational pathways that might look different for different students. We need to take a "leap", put learning in the "hands" of our students, and identify authentic purposes for inquiry and creation. "Hands-on" learning is being re-defined by personal technologies and self-regulated approaches to education.
Dr. Mark Milliron, Chancellor of Western Governors University, had it right on with his opening address that captivated and engaged the audience, young and old, with his insightful, research-based interpretation of the integration of technology into existing education systems. Rather than "selling" new technologies as inevitable appendages of digital natives, we need to examine the pedagogy and learning approaches that match student needs, societal directions, and emerging goals. The message that technology can not be introduced in isolation from content and pedagogy was reinforced.