The inaugural EdTech Engage symposium brought together Penn State students, faculty, and staff with industry leaders to share knowledge and discover opportunities to collaborate on research and development around AI and machine learning in higher education. The symposium featured engaging keynotes from IPSoft, IBM, and Google; panel discussions from thought leaders on the promise and peril of AI; and faculty sessions showcasing the innovative work happening across the University.
Scroll down to visually immerse yourself in the event and check out our Facebook page to see even more pictures from the two-day symposium.
The event kicked off with check-in and a networking reception at the Nittany Lion Inn. Situated right in the atrium, it provided the perfect opportunity for attendees to mingle with colleagues from across the University and meet industry innovators.
Daren Coudriet, Penn State EdTech Network Director, welcomed everyone to the inaugural event and took attendees through what to expect from the two-day symposium. “We are entering the greatest era of technical change in our lifetime. Change will occur at an exponential pace and create vast disruption,” said Coudriet. “I believe the future belongs to those who innovate. Together we can work to drive transformation in education.”
The first keynote of the symposium was Jonathan Crane, Chief Commercial Officer at IPSoft, who discussed an algorithmic world, where machine and humans augment one another and the role of universities in that new world. "The gold of now is data. Making it useful is our challenge. Let's remind ourselves why we're here. We need to drive digital innovation,” said Crane.
The second day of EdTech Engage began at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center. Daren Coudriet welcomed everyone by setting the expectation of what the day’s events would entail. “We are bringing together industry and Penn State to innovate within higher education,” and the day did not disappoint.
The second keynote of the symposium was Catherine Solazzo, Vice President, Worldwide Developer Engagement, IBM Digital Business Group, who spoke about transforming learning in the cognitive era with IBM Watson. She started by sharing IBM’s view of AI, “IBM sees a new partnership between man and machine, not man versus machine.”
The event featured two sessions of “lightning talks” where select Penn State faculty and researchers were given three minutes and a single slide to convey their work, ideas, challenges, and opportunities for collaboration, resulting in a dynamic, fast-paced session focused on a variety of AI initiatives.
Right before lunch, the keynote companies (IBM, IPSoft, and Google) hosted breakout sessions. These sessions illustrated the various technological capabilities of each company and showcased the impact and advancement of AI and machine learning. “Cognitive AI enables you to build experiences around people and simplicity,” said Aid Galijatovic, Solutions Director for IPSoft.
Right after lunch Neil Sharkey, the Vice President of Research at Penn State, gave special recognition to the top five Nittany Watson Challenge teams and described their winning solutions. Congratulations to the Collanote, Intelligent Academic Advisor, Student Connection, Transfer Match, and Virtual Advisor teams. Learn more about the challenge.
Our third and final keynote of the symposium was Jonathan Donaldson, Technical Director, Google Cloud, who spoke about the wonder of machines that learn. Jonathan ended by saying, “We’re on the precipice of incredible change with machine learning and AI.”
EdTech Engage wrapped up with a student and company networking reception at Hintz Family Alumni Center. The evening event showcased Nittany Watson Challenge demos and allowed students to share ideas and meet others interested in the future of EdTech and AI.
Thank you again to everyone who was a part of the inaugural EdTech Engage symposium. Make sure to mark your calendar for next year’s event: October 16 – 17, 2018.