DisruptED20 Conference Wrap-Up: What We Learned About the Human Side of Tech

Dylan WoodcockBlogs, Conference Wrap Up

Nowadays, access to education is increasingly dependent on technology. Online learning is increasing at post-secondary institutions across the country. Educational technology is vital in ensuring that online courses enhance teaching and learning.

Four team members from Campus Manitoba standing in front of DisruptED20 sign
Gang’s All Here: Kaitlin, DawnDena, Dylan, and Jason at DisruptEd.

That said, human beings are at the heart of technology’s growth: they are developers, learners, and educators with goals and aspirations. On January 30 and 31, some of our very own humans — Jason Andries, Dylan Woodcock, DawnDena Gordon, and Kaitlin Schilling — spent time learning about the importance of humanity in the face of rapid technological growth.

DisruptED20: The Human Side of Tech, presented by RBC Future Launch, brought together major players in the tech industry who have significantly influenced or ‘disrupted’ the technological landscape. Attendees came from diverse backgrounds and experiences: post-secondary faculty and staff, IT services, private sector tech developers, Government, and social justice professionals. All in attendance engaged in hard-hitting, direct conversations about the role of human beings in educational technology, with strong emphasis on using EdTech for social good.

Q: What was one thing you learned at DisruptED20?

Dylan: I loved the emphasis on compassion as the unequivocally ‘human’ quality. It was often noted that humans always have the competitive advantage through our ability to be sensitive to the feelings of others. It was an important reminder that justifies the work of so many of us who work ‘for’ other people, regardless of how much technology evolves. The lesson really was that we will always be able to harness this energy into social good, we just have to make the choice to do so.

Kaitlin: Learning about Privacy by Design was really intriguing. Dr. Ann Cavoukian did an incredible job at explaining Privacy by Design. I enjoyed learning about informational self-determination and the importance of protecting privacy.

Q: What was one thing that inspired you at DisruptED20?

Jason: I was inspired by listening to the stories of Canadian innovators as they discussed challenges and successes. I also enjoyed the continuing theme of privacy through many of the presentations. It is important to remember that we should always have control over our own lives, and information. Technology cannot, and should not, automatically take that away.

David Usher on DisruptED20 stage
David Usher showcased his musical talents as part of his talk. (CMB).

DawnDena: David Usher inspired me with his focus on ‘growing’ creativity. Taking only thirty minutes to dedicate to yourself each day goes a long way in improving body and mind. As a result of this self-care, creativity will be enhanced.

Q: Who did you most enjoy hearing from DisruptED20?

Dylan: Bruce Linton gave a frank and honest talk about developing his business ventures. Despite the shrewdness of business, he never once forgot the importance of creating a workplace culture that values humility and respect. He applied this thinking to everyone, from the CEO to the maintenance staff.

Jason: I can’t really put my finger on a favourite. But, the most entertaining person to see this year was definitely David Usher. He weaved music and creativity together to form a dynamic presentation.

Q: What is one thing you hope to see going forward?

Jason: I hope to see continued focus on innovation, creativity and privacy through the work happening across Canada.

Kaitlin: As LeVar Burton says, “I’m excited to see how current and future technologies revolutionize the way we learn.” I look forward to seeing technology and humanity continue to collide. We must always look for ways to work collaboratively with our partners to provide access to education.

Campus Manitoba is a consortium of Manitoba’s public universities and colleges. Through collaborative projects and shared services, we facilitate student mobility and expand access to post-secondary programs for students in Manitoba. In addition to campusmanitoba.ca, our websites include ecoursesmb.casetyourcourse.ca, and openedmb.ca.