Innovation Alive and Well

At Penn State, a new network and a national edtech summit.

GUEST COLUMN | by Rosemarie Piccioni

CREDIT Penn State EdTech NetworkAdvances in technology are pushing higher education into new realms. From the continuing growth in online degree programs, to incorporating mobile devices and multimedia into teaching environments, educational technology is being used to help improve student outcomes. Penn State is developing an EdTech Network to expand the educational technology sector in State College, Pennsylvania. The goal of the network is to attract entrepreneurs and develop relationships with companies by providing opportunities for collaboration with Penn State faculty, staff and students.

The goal is to accelerate the transfer of new ideas into useful products and processes.

Penn State’s EdTech Network is part of the $30 million Invent Penn State initiative announced by Eric Barron, president of the University, in January 2015. The mission of Invent Penn State is to leverage the University’s size and broad research strengths to be a driver for job creation, economic development and student career success. Educational technology will be one of several areas, including energy, food security, environmental protection, health care, manufacturing, medical devices and pharmaceuticals, where the goal is to accelerate the transfer of new ideas into useful products and processes.

EdTech Summit

The team behind the EdTech Network is a part of Penn State Outreach and Online Education (OOE), a unit of the University led by Vice President for Outreach and Vice Provost for Online Education Craig Weidemann. OOE also leads the team fueling the international reach and nationally ranked programs of Penn State World Campus.

To further advance Penn State partnerships, the EdTech Network will host a summit at the University Park campus November 2–4, 2015. Select companies, investors, alumni, entrepreneurial students and faculty who specialize in educational technology will be invited to attend. Segments of the summit will be live streamed including a presentation by Jaime Casap, Google’s chief education evangelist.

Students Succeeding

Penn State’s EdTech Network growth has already begun with the expansion of a partnership between Penn State World Campus and InsideTrack, a leading student success organization that supports colleges and universities in improving student enrollment, completion and career readiness. As part of a four-year agreement, the California-based company will co-locate six full-time employees and four student interns to an office on the University Park campus.

The expanded partnership with InsideTrack is the network’s first step towards creating similar partnerships with other educational technology companies to develop environments that will help students succeed.

Rosemarie Piccioni, Ed.D., is Director of The Penn State EdTech Network, with a mission to facilitate student success by improving the accessibility and quality of higher education through the use of innovative educational technology solutions. Write to: rpiccioni@psu.edu

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