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Educause Preview: Annual Tech Showcase Highlights Apps, Clouds, and Learning Systems

One sign of the growing presence of technology on college campuses is the rising numbers at the annual meeting of Educause, which kicks off Tuesday in Philadelphia. This year more than 7,300 people are signed up to attend, up from 6,500 at last year’s meeting.

The bulk of the attendees work as technology leaders on campuses, though many others represent the 266 tech companies setting up booths at the show to persuade colleges to use their products to support teaching, research, or administrative functions. (This year’s attendance is not technically the largest ever, but officials say it is “near peak,” which in this economy, counts as a kind of record.)

The Chronicle’s Wired Campus team will be there to file reports on new ideas, as will representatives of the ProfHacker blog.

All week long, the conference will offer sessions on campus technology trends—so many that printing out the program exhausted our printer’s paper tray. To get a sense of what all those panels are about, we decided to make a “tag cloud” of all the session titles from the conference (see above).

“Learning” appeared most frequently (probably a good sign for an education conference). More specifically, officials I’ve talked to recently said they were eager to hear about the latest in the battle to provide course-management systems to campuses, ideas for using “the cloud” (or, Web-based services), and examples of interesting mobile applications for teaching (for smartphones or tablet computers).

What do you see as the biggest trends in education-technology? Is all this gear helping learning?

Oh, and there’s one more indicator of how big the show has gotten: @Educause_Hulk, a Twitter feed purporting to be from the eight-foot-tall green superhero. All the messages are in all-caps of course.

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