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Gina JonesTraveling to Madrid and attending the fourth annual International Conference of Education Research and Innovation (iCERi) was a great learning experience. I gathered so much information and realized how similar my experience (life) is, compared to my colleagues around the globe. I believe I had that insight before, but the realization that my ideology was true has changed me in many ways.

I attended various sessions, and will share some of the major highlights:

  • Importance of student-inspired, student-led, and student-facilitated undergraduate research;
  • Global education: requirements for students and faculty to engage in active learning related to multiculturalism;
  • The use of technology to promote learning: video trailers of research initiatives;
  • Social education and service-learning as a tool for effective career development: vocational education vs. active and participatory learning; and
  • Retention of students may just be about fun and games.

I made connections with great folks from Kentucky, Australia, Canada, Germany, New York, New Zealand, Chicago, Kansas, and Africa. I also connected with people from our own backyard. During the conference, I had the pleasure of meeting Heather McCune Bruhn from University Park. Heather is originally from Morgantown, W.Va., but she relocated to UP when she and her husband began their graduate degree programs—and like so many of us—decided to stay with the University. Heather is one of the leading adjunct faculty and staff members working on e-learning for Penn State.

Penn State is everywhere—even in Madrid! Walt Disney said it best: "It’s a small world after all."