Page 46 - Campus Technology, May/June 2019
P. 46

C-Level View
“We want to continue to scale
these things up, without killing
the magic that made them possible in the first place.”
process of storytelling in such a way that they can move forward and experiment and explore within that space. This same approach enables new ways to engage students around designing immersive video as well.
CT: What other fluencies are taking hold?
Bowen: In the same way that the digital story- telling space has matured, what we see on the horizon is a range of fluencies. Some are here today — things like making, with the mindset that a student applies to creating things in the physi- cal world. Also we see things like immersive flu- encies, where students may demonstrate ideas in virtual environments, or things that go beyond reality. And as an example in terms of the near future, a lot has been done in the area of digital prototyping. Whereas there is currently a heavy focus on coding, there is a bigger opportunity there, in finding ways to help students under- stand experience design for digital tools, leading to entirely new forms of engagement.
CT: What is the impact on the student, as a result of Penn State’s exploration of digital fluency? Have you seen real differences yet in the student experience because of this approach?
Bowen: Certainly. We’ve been exploring how to support students in their creative work for some time, but what we’ve more recently come to identify is that this exploration can lead to a real change in how we, as an institution, support creativity.
For example, if we look at a goal for the stu-
dent like developing a storytelling fluency through media of different kinds, we can see that the storytelling fluency has actually become a key part of many courses throughout the insti- tution. We have and support more than 20,000 students a year in the creation of video as part of their coursework, entrepreneurship and research. Once you’ve helped students unlock, if you will, that creativity — that digital fluency — then they can apply it to new problems in their career interests. If they want to take on new challenges or define new genres, they are now equipped with the tools to do that.
We can also see a similar effect in other areas, like making, or 3D printing. We approach these fluencies as a part of any academic environment for which they make sense. For example, even for an English writing assignment we can introduce an element of invention, using 3D printing, that will engage students in achieving the outcomes for a given course. At Penn State, this is happen- ing for thousands of students every semester.
CT: What do you see for the future of digital fluency at Penn State? How you make all this scale and normalize, to become part
of the overall campus environment in an ongoing and sustainable way?
Bowen: We want to continue to scale these things up, without killing the magic that made them pos- sible in the first place.
As we look forward into the future, our environ- ment will only get more diverse. Our big question — and our big opportunity — is: How do we effec- tively leverage both the diversity of the technology environment and the scale of the institution?

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