Timothy Allen talks about education innovation at Wharton - Technical.ly Philly

Jul. 9, 2010 5:36 pm

Timothy Allen talks about education innovation at Wharton

Timothy Allen has to clarify. The programmer and analyst with Wharton Research Data Services is something of a community organizer to boot and July is busy enough that Allen has to make sure that the record is set straight. There are three events — “very exciting events” Allen clarifies — happening at Wharton in the […]

Timothy Allen of Wharton

Timothy Allen has to clarify.

The programmer and analyst with Wharton Research Data Services is something of a community organizer to boot and July is busy enough that Allen has to make sure that the record is set straight.

There are three events — “very exciting events” Allen clarifies — happening at Wharton in the coming weeks. These clusters often happen on campuses when most students are elsewhere.

In addition to the East Coast debut of the famed decade-old Supernova conference that, for full disclosure, Technically Philly is co-sponsoring at the month’s end, in two weeks, Wharton is also home to two events dedicated to innovation in education.

Allen says that has something to say about Wharton and what the relationship of the city’s technology community to education can mean for the region’s future.

The paid, two-day Wharton Higher Ed Web Symposium takes off July 21, which includes keynote addresses from Don Norman, author of The Design of Everyday Things and Cory Ondrejka, a co-founder and the first vice president of technology for Linden Lab, the creators of Second Life.

Then, the second annual free, un-conference HigherEdCamp Philly will be held the Friday directly following, on July 23rd. We talk to Allen about what the end of July means for Wharton.

As always, edited for length and clarity

Does this education innovation conversation represent a reputation Wharton wants to have?

As with many academic institutions, the Wharton School continues to experiment with technology to enhance the educational experience. By engaging our students in a true blended learning process, we intend to continue as a leader in business education. We have shown with our Learning Lab the kinds of ideas that serious games and simulation inspire in our students, and are excited of the future of technology in education.

Tell us a bit more about the ‘blended learning process’ and its role with technology.

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We always have had a technical advisory board made up of students with strong interest in technology who help shape the future of technology at the Wharton School. This has led to using a wide array or teaching methodologies, which combine to make a blended learning experience. We intend to keep abreast of the continuing evolution of technology and be a leader in technology in education across the board, from undergraduate to executive education.

What about Wharton’s Learning Lab, tell us a bit more about that, particularly related to the gaming and simulation being used.

Through research simulations and serious games, we have learned that interactive, participatory education can be more engaging that traditional lectures. It also has the advantage of allowing students to experiment in low or zero-risk situations similar to those they will face in the business world.

Why should we make it out to the free HigherEd Camp July 23 if we’re more tech heads than education buffs? What’s special about this event? What’s different from other BarCamps?

After a more traditional conference on July 21st and 22nd, it will be a great opportunity to discuss the future of technology in education in a more relaxed atmosphere. Last year, it was great to see so many academic institutions represented, excited to share their ideas. We know there are a lot of us excited about education here at the Wharton School  and having a chance to share ideas with our counterparts at other institutions is a great opportunity.

What is the school’s connection to the technology community?

Wharton has made a distinct effort to engage the local technology community, to share ideas to continue to improve education. The people here are passionate about technology and realize it is important to the future of the Wharton School. We host these yearly events, but also regularly host groups from PANMA, Philly.rb, PhillyPHP and PhillyCFUG throughout the year to keep the excitement of technology present.

Technology, education innovation and Wharton’s business reputation come together to form a rosy picture. Do any of these conversations — and events — relate to retaining the talent from Wharton here in Philadelphia? Are there more related steps that can be or are being taken?

The answer is yes, in several ways.

We continue to become more of an event hub to show our students the diversity, passion and high level of talent of professionals in business in the Philadelphia area.

It allows us to have a campus presence showing what life in the Philly work force is like. We have made strong pushes to hire local talent with passion for the Philadelphia area. We will continue our outreach to Philadelphia across the Wharton School. Naturally, those of us in Wharton Computing will continue to be very involved in the Philly tech scene.

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Every Friday, Technically Philly brings you an interview with a leader or innovator in Philadelphia s technology community. See others here.

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