2014 THINK Agenda

The discussions from this conference were a key first step in ORION’s year-long strategy planning exercise, the ORION Nexus Project. Being user-focused is critical to developing ORION’s long-term strategic plan. ORION created an event report on the outcomes of the conference, addressing issues around content, connectivity and technology and how these issues underpin future opportunities.

Download the report here: THINK 2014 Report


Emerging technology is transforming Ontario’s communities and institutions faster than ever, changing the way we compete and collaborate with regional and international partners. These developing trends present challenges and opportunities that we can meet – if we THINK forward and plan ahead now.

ORION’s 2014 THINK Conference will bring Ontario’s research, education and innovation communities together to discuss and develop strategies that will position Ontario at the forefront of developing technology and implementing trends.

Join us on April 15, 2014 in Toronto as we #THINKforward and discuss the growing areas of mobile connectivity, cloud resources and shared services, online learning and educational technology, and intelligent communities. Speaker presentations will allow us to peer into the future, while breakout sessions will engage your thoughts and ideas on how to move forward.

Together, we can #THINKforward and plan for Ontario’s continuing success in the future!


Click here to see the conference floor plan.

8:30am Registration (2nd floor lobby)
Breakfast (Colony Ballroom West)
9:30am Welcome & Opening Remarks from Darin Graham and Anne Sado
(Colony Ballroom Centre)
10:00am Keynote Speaker: Jaigris Hodson (presentation)
(Colony Ballroom Centre)
11:15am Morning Panel Discussion:
(Colony Ballroom Centre)

12:15pm Lunch and Leadership Awards Ceremony
(Please obtain your lunch from Colony Ballroom East and return to Colony Ballroom Centre.)
1:45pm Afternoon Breakout and Panel Discussions
Intelligent Communities (Lombard Room)
Intelligent communities make use of advanced communications tools to share expertise and spur innovation. This breakout session will examine how Ontario`s research, education and innovation institutions can contribute to local efforts participating in today’s broadband economies and opportunities. While Lou Zacharilla (presentation) will highlight the importance and impact of this global movement during the morning panel, the discussion will continue in this breakout session with Jim Gragtmans (presentation), the Chair of the Newmarket Economic Development Agency. A case study of Stratford, Ontario will also be presented by Paul West (presentation), who was instrumental in Stratford’s broadband implementation. Stratford has been named one of the top intelligent communities in the world by Mr. Zacharilla’s global think tank, the Intelligent Community Forum.
Online Learning & Educational Technology (Giovanni Room)
Online learning and massively open online courses (MOOCs) may be the hot-button issues in education, but there`s even more advanced technology on the way that will revolutionize the way we learn. This breakout session will examine some of the coming changes to education with Joseph Wilson (presentation), the Senior Strategist for Education at the MaRS Development District. Joseph will be joined by Chris Hawks (presentation), Research Lead at the Ohio-based Gaming Matter, who helped develop a game-based graduate course and works with the latest in learning management systems (LMS). A case study will also be presented by Paulla Bennett (presentation)of the York Region District School Board.
Mobility & Connectivity (Armoury Room)
The need to stay connected is more important than ever before – but how can we best take advantage of technology to keep up with users’ mobility expectations and the need to scale beyond the classroom? This breakout session will examine the strategic and financial issues underlying the challenges and opportunities for Ontario schools, hospitals, and government. Speakers include Dr. Sara Diamond (presentation), one of the key authors behind the research report “Taking Ontario Mobile” and Ali Hirji (presentation), ORION’s community development manager who helps many clients set up and use our collaboration software, 03.
Cloud Services & Shared Resources (Colony Ballroom Centre)
With research and education institutions struggling to more with less, cloud services and shared resources could be a solution that helps expanding capabilities while keeping costs down. This breakout session will look at how Ontario institutions can take advantage of these opportunities by discussing governance issues, risk mitigation strategies and other best practices. Speakers include Brian Fry (presentation), co-founder of RackForce Networks, which provides cloud services to clients in over 100 countries and is one of the most popular service providers in U.S. schools today. Shiva Amiri (presentation), Manager of Informatics and Analytics at the Ontario Brain Institute, will talk about her work with the ground-breaking Brain-CODE project.
3:45pm Summary of Breakout Discussions
(Colony Ballroom Centre)
4:30pm Closing Remarks & Announcements by Darin Graham
(Colony Ballroom Centre)
4:35pm Networking Reception