Technology syposium coming

By R. Paul Dyck

Calling all technophiles!

The Centre for Information and Communication is holding a free, one-day symposium on Oct. 22. Held on the 5th floor of Biological Sciences, the one day symposium, Smart Starts, will cover changes in communications technology and how it will affect Canadians in the future.

"This is very much oriented towards students," said Centre Academic Director David Mitchell. "The social context of information communication technology will touch everybody irrespective of faculty; this is not only while they are at the University of Calgary, but in any number of walks of life afterwards."

A number of respected delegates from various fields will speak about new applications in information and communications technology (ICT), and how to help understand it.

"This is essentially a discussion about cutting-edge technologies," said Research Associate Andrea Matishak. "It would be to the students’ benefit to be well-informed in areas such as e-commerce because that’s where jobs are going to be created."

The concept for Smart Start grew from Connecting Canadians, a set of initiatives proposed by Federal Minister of Industry John Manley to create an accessible information highway.

"The new initiative is to connect Canadians, particularly in terms of communities, with the kinds of services they need," said Mitchell. "That’s the gist of what this is about."

The symposium will feature presentations on many different facets of ICT, ranging from telelearning, telehealth, and e-commerce, to their professional applications in communities.

Smart Start will take place at a number of sites in Alberta and across Canada. Following the symposium’s theme, all the sites will be connected through either audio or video conferencing.

"The main sites that will always be interactive will be here and the University of Alberta, and we will also be connecting with SAIT,"
said Mitchell. "We’ll also be connecting one of the sessions with Ryerson in Ontario with video conferencing."

Smart Start has covered the majority of its costs through university funding from the Telus Distinguished Visitors Fund. As a result, it is offered free of charge.

"We’re not interested in capitalizing on this event," said Mitchell. "We’re just interested in providing a forum to get things rolling… to get people thinking about these kind of things."

Organizers hope people from different faculties will fill the 120 spots available for U of C students and faculty.

"We’ve notified people that might be more interested, but we’re
opening it up to the whole university," said Matishak. "Everybody is welcome."

Mitchell agrees, stating the relevance of these technologies to students in any particular field.

"I really look forward to student attendance," said Mitchell. "Most of us oldsters are on our way out, one way or the other, but everyone else has their lives and careers ahead of them. ICT is the water they’re going to swim in."

For more information, call Vivian Pander at the Van Horne institute at 220-8640.

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