Lancaster Learns 2023: Post-Conference Notes

This past Friday, Heather and I had the chance to attend the Lancaster Learns 2023 conference, held at the PA College of Health Sciences, which brought together a diverse group of educators, researchers, and experts in the field of education. The conference provided a platform for participants to share their insights, ideas, and research findings on a range of topics related to education, teaching, and learning. The keynote speaker, Christina Katopodis, shared her research about creating inclusive designs for classrooms from selecting materials and time requirements to how students are assessed. Many of these topics and more are covered in a new book Katopodis co-authored: The New College Classroom (Harvard University Press, 2022). 

One of the key themes of the conference was the use of technology in education. Several speakers presented their research on the impact of technology on learning outcomes, as well as the challenges and opportunities that arise from integrating technology (including ChatGPT) into the classroom. Many participants shared their experiences and best practices on using technology to enhance student engagement, personalized learning, and collaboration. 

Another important topic of discussion was the effects of Covid-19 on students, teachers, and education. While some of the long-term outcomes of quarantine and total online learning are not fully understood, educators spoke about ways they’ve adopted the creative solutions they made during the pandemic to enhance their programs moving forward. Many noted that Covid-19 disrupted their traditional teaching practices, leading to the invention of new ways of teaching familiar subjects, some of which are more effective than their original designs. Participants also discussed the need for professional development programs to support teachers in acquiring these new skills. 

The conference also highlighted the importance of diversity and inclusion in education. Some speakers presented their research on how cultural, linguistic, and socio-economic diversity can impact student learning and strategies for creating inclusive learning environments that meet all students’ needs. The conference participants also engaged in lively discussions on topics such as cultural sensitivity, equity, and social justice in education. 

In addition to the formal presentations and sessions, the conference also offered many opportunities for networking and collaboration. Participants had the chance to meet and exchange ideas with colleagues from Lancaster, reconnecting with existing acquaintances and forming new partnerships. 

Overall, the Lancaster Learns 2023 conference was a great opportunity to engage with an active core of interinstitutional faculty and staff, offering a wealth of knowledge, insights, and inspiration for educators and researchers alike. The conference provided a valuable opportunity for participants to connect with like-minded professionals, learn about the latest research and trends in education, and gain new insights into teaching and learning. It was truly an enriching experience and reinforced the value of attending conferences as a graduate student. 



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