Monday, May 14, 2012

Leveraging the digital collection

The NEW access issue


Access to technology is not the issue. The growth and expansive explosion of technology is placing access in more hands. Look around the campus, in the hallways, the libraries, the commons and you will see technology everywhere. The laptops of yesterday are being replaced (or supplemented in some cases) by smaller, more powerful, more portable notebooks, netbooks, the new tablets, and a emerging smartphone or internet device. It’s not the WHAT that is important - if the device can get the job done, it will be used. As newer devices come to the marketplace, older devices are being replaced. In years past, we were concerned about access TO technology: were there “enough” computer workstations for each student was the question of yesterday. Today we are identifying ways to incorporate (or integrate) the devices into learning, whether in the classroom or outside of the classroom. Access to technology is a typical expectation.

Students come with their personal, digital devices. They arrive with a technological skill set that has served them successfully in their educational endeavors. They arrive and begin to expand and explore new, different and related technological areas. They use some of the same social media applications to maintain their connections to communities and to establish new connections to new communities. This is the world they have lived in for years. Technological dependence is their norm. Sending brief punctuated text messages is communicating. Locating content on smartphones is the new form of sifting through a handful of notecards. Tagging resources with their own personal taxonony or folksonomy creates a searchable content area. They create or recreate content almost in a single breath, and revise or reform the content with a similar sense of ease. To this group of technologically savvy individuals multimedia is a norm. No longer do they “just” read text, they listen, they watch: they are immersed and overwhelmed by a barrage of sight, sound and cognitive engagement.

With this new role of technology comes a new expectation for content. Immediate access. On demand access. Location independent and dependent access. These are some of the new concerns. Information once deemed irrefutable has quickly become replaced by dynamically delivered and changed content. The evolution of content requires a new and different skill set. It is now necessary to evaluate a wider range of resources and determine the legitimacy of each resource. Critical thinking and reflective thinking may be as important, if not more important, than the technological skills used to find the resources.

Access to or the availability of technology is not as defined a barrier today as in years past. For some, there is a need to improve and broaden personal technological skills. For others, there is a need to refine and deepen literacy skills in the broad sense. Technological literacy is not the focus. Digital literacy may need to be refined and redefined to improve critical thinking, for example. Information literacy, and the finite skills used to evaluate data, is one of the new frontiers. The creation and re-creation of content is demanding a new(er) focus for teaching and learning. The multi-media (or simply put, media rich) content is altering our typical sense of access.

Access to content is changing. The availability of digital content is becoming the norm. Technology connects to the digital content. Technology also creates and re-creates digital content. People need varying degrees and levels of support and assistance to use technology. We should focus efforts on access to, identifying engaging and challenging content. The wide range of technology available today continues to change, to get “faster” more mobile, and more powerful. We should focus our efforts on content, creating content, “mashing” up content to create new formats, and evaluating content.

Friday, July 01, 2011

CAT 7: Muddiest Point

Have you ever wondered if students were really learning? I mean REALLY learning? Classroom Assessment Technique 7, the "Muddiest Point" can give you, the instructor, some IMMEDIATE feedback.

At some point in a lecture ask the students "What's the muddiest point?" (Angelo and Cross, 1993, p. 154) or some variation. From their responses you can quickly see several things. First, has your instruction made sense to the students. It may have made PERFECT sense when you were preparing, but once it has been delivered something may have been lost in translation.

Especially if you are focusing on synthesizing information, or making connections, this assessment technique may help some learners learn better.

Angelo, T., & Cross, K. (1993). Classroom assessment techniques: A handbook for college teachers. (2nd Ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Books, digital and otherwise

B Lamar Johnson (1939) noted that to increase "the value of their libraries to their students" (p. 114), colleges should remember that "books are a constant and natural part of the student's environment" (p. 115).

As innovative as this was in 1939, it is equally important today, with some changes. The BOOK is evolving. No longer just the physical item, it is also the virtual or digital book. It is the digitized serial. It is the ebook. It is digital. Where the physical books were placed on shelves, digital books are on virtual shelves. The physical books were (and still are) checked out, circulated and returned. The physical proximity of the library limited the travelling range of the book (until Interlibrary Loan expanded the travel of the physical book). There are typically a set number of physical books available. Digital books, on the other hand, can be accessed anywhere, anytime, anyplace with almost any device.

This "new" book is available. The environment is not limited by time or space, but by technology, software, and connection strength and speed.

Digital resources can be accessed quickly and just-in-time. Students can find resources, bookmark them, and continue to use and access them. This "new book" becomes quickly integrated into the digital environment of the student. The growth of digital databases, electronic resources and ebooks have changed. The student's environment has changed even more. The growth of personal digital devices and the expansion of wireless connectivity have created an environment without boundaries.

Johnson, B. L. (1939). Vitalizing a college library. Chicago, IL: American Library Association.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Professional development topics

  1. [GOOGLE APPS] Using Google Tasks to brainstorm project ideas #profdev
  2. [GOOGLE APPS] Using Google Documents for journaling #profdev
  3. [GOOGLE APPS] Using Google Reader to find, sort, bundle and share resources #profdev
  4. [GOOGLE APPS] News of the world with Google News, tagging and sharing news #profdev
  5. [GOOGLE APPS] Simple searching with Google, for text, images and more #profdev
  6. [GOOGLE APPS] Google Moderator: the start of critical thinking #profdev
  7. [GOOGLE APPS] Using Google Chrome #profdev
  8. [GOOGLE APPS] Google Alerts, finding new content #profdev
  9. [GOOGLE APPS] All about RSS feeds and subscriptions #profdev
  10. [VIDEO, AUDIO AND MEDIA] Using Qik.com to create faculty development videos #profdev
  11. [VIDEO, AUDIO AND MEDIA] Creating presence with audio files (iPadio, TweetMic) #profdev
  12. [DIGITAL NOTE TAKING] Digital notebooks and Evernote #profdev
  13. [DIGITAL NOTE TAKING] Springpad and note taking, from anywhere #profdev
  14. [iPad and iPhone] Becoming mobile with an iPad #profdev
  15. [iPad and iPhone] Using the iPhone and iPad to engage learning #profdev
  16. [PURE PEDAGOGY] Critical thinking and technology, how to be mobile #profdev
  17. [PURE PEDAGOGY] Teaching digital students as a digital teacher in a digital classroom #profdev
  18. [CONCEPT MAPPING AND PRESENTATION SOFTWARE] Using web based concept maps to engage students #profdev
  19. [CONCEPT MAPPING AND PRESENTATION SOFTWARE] Prezi and presentations #profdev
  20. [TECHNOLOGY TOPICS] Finding resources on the fly and sharing them with shareaholic #profdev
  21. [TECHNOLOGY TOPICS] Developing a personal taxonomy of technology and active learning #profdev
  22. [TECHNOLOGY TOPICS] Using technology to create a learner centered environment #profdev
  23. [TECHNOLOGY TOPICS] Paperless and dynamic, using the cloud in teaching and learning #profdev
  24. [CONNECTING] Using Skype to engage students #profdev
  25. [BLOGGING AND MICROBLOGGING] Mobile blogging with Wordpress #profdev
  26. [BLOGGING AND MICROBLOGGING] Really simple microblogging with Posterous #profdev
  27. [BLOGGING AND MICROBLOGGING] Using Twitter to connect with a worldwide group of experts #profdev
  28. [ASSESSMENT, EVALUATION AND IMPROVEMENT] Rubrics that improve learning #profdev
  29. [ASSESSMENT, EVALUATION AND IMPROVEMENT] Rubrics that improve teaching #profdev
  30. [ASSESSMENT, EVALUATION AND IMPROVEMENT] Clickers and assessment of learning #profdev

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

What does it mean to be

What does it mean to be:

  • A DIGITAL LEARNER – “plugged in” and connected, always on [Google “what is a digital learner” ] [How do teaching and learning styles change?] [ISTE NETS-S http://www.iste.org/standards/nets-for-students/nets-student-standards-2007.aspx]
    • A digital learner wants media, multimedia, audio, video and images
    • A digital learner seeks to integrate media into “school” and “life”
    • A digital learner works within a circle of friends
    • A digital learner uses social media to connect, find resources, and interact (ask and answer questions)
    • A digital learner uses MORE technology to accomplish tasks
    • A digital learner uses technology DIFFERENTLY to accomplish tasks
    • A digital learner multi-tasks with multiple technologies or applications
    • A digital learner is a social learner
    • A digital learner is an active learner
    • A digital learner is a consumer, producer and creator of learning, and learning resources
    • A digital learner is learner focused and learning centered
  • A DIGITAL TEACHER – integrates technology to enhance learning and engage learners [Google “what is a digital teacher”] [How do teaching and learning styles change?] [ISTE NETS-T http://www.iste.org/standards/nets-for-teachers/nets-for-teachers-2008.aspx]
    • A digital teacher uses technology to extend, expand, and enrich learning
    • A digital teacher provides multimedia to explore “lecture” topics
    • A digital teacher connects with students through technology
    • A digital teacher provides or creates technological alternatives
    • A digital teacher creates a social space for learning
    • A digital teacher uses and participates in social learning
    • A digital teacher is learning focused and learning centered
  • In a DIGITAL CLASSROOM? – learning occurs anywhere, anytime, and anyplace. There is a “new” mindset of MOBILE learning, that follows us, or travels with us where ever we may go. [Google “what is a digital classroom”]
    • A digital classroom is dynamic
    • A digital classroom supports collaboration, locally as well as globally
    • A digital classroom encourages inquiry
    • A digital classroom provides access to technology
    • A digital classroom can be easily reconfigured
    • A digital classroom is more of an environment or space than a fixed classroom
    • A digital classroom supports and encourages social learning
    • A digital classroom is learner centered

Monday, May 02, 2011

Technology topics on the horizon, near and far

So, what technologies are looming on the horizon?

More and more references are being made to cloud computing. Using Dropbox to access and share files is easier than a flash drive. I can access my Dropbox from any computer, my iPhone 3GS, and my iPad.

I still find uses for Wordle. It is easy to take a document, and quickly produce a word cloud.

Prezi is a non-linear presentation software. More than simply clicking through slides, Prezi supports ANY sort of path through slides, and zooming in or out. Visually, very different.

Google Bundles. Using Google Reader, I can create a bundle from my RSS feeds. The Bundle can be any topic, but the topic originates from my Google Reader feed. Bundles can be shared.

Google Forms. Easy application to gather data, poll responses and assess knowledge. Simple. Web-deployable form.


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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Looking forward

"Books are a constant and natural part of the student's environment" (Johnson, 1939, p. 115).

It is important to read. Books. I am a self-confessed book person. Holding a book, turning the pages are all part of the pre-digital age. Now, books are available anywhere. Anywhere the wifi signal is strong I can read a book. The growing variety of ereaders makes it possible to read anywhere.

Books are a part of life.

There was a time when proximity to books and libraries was necessary. Now, with digital proximity, the opportunity to read improves. The digital library is filled with more volumes than ever before. The physical library provides access to books not available through the digital library. The digital library provides virtual access to those at a distance. Both the physical library and the digital library provide books to a much larger audience of patrons.

Digital books meet the needs of digital patrons.

Digital books are available regardless of location (provided the WiFi or broadband signal is strong enough). Digital books provide immediate access to teaching and learning resources.

Integrating digital books into social media applications increases the awareness of the digital resources. As more resources become available the need for social media increases.

Access to books is not limited with digital books. Anywhere, anytime, with many devices. Digital books engage learners immediately.







Johnson, B. L. (1939). Vitalizing a college library. Chicago, IL.: American Library Association.


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Monday, April 18, 2011

Journals and other digital resources I read

The resources I read for scholarly information and perspectives are full-text, digital editions. I can read them from a wide variety of digital devices. As a member of several professional associations, I find their publications relevant for a wide variety of uses.

As a member of AECT since 2002, several of the member benefits are the digital editions available, full-text. I have used and continue to read from http://www.aect.org, (1) Educational Technology Research and Development; covers current research in the field, and (2) TechTrends; provides a quick insight into the link between theory and practice.

Another standard resource for me comes also from http://www.aect.org, now, in the Third Edition, (3) Handbook of Research for Educational Communications and Technology; always a great resource to review and see what has been done, and current directions or trends.

From the PODNETWORK (Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education) http://podnetwork.org/index.htm, (1) To Improve the Academy, Resources for Faculty, Instructional, and Organizational Development; a wonderful resource and scholarly journal focused on the integration and implementation of professional development activities in a variety of settings,

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The role of technology for the library and student learning

Technology can provide “scaffolds and tools to enhance learning” (Bransford, Brown and Cocking, 2000, p. 207). The new hyperlinked world is waiting on us to click, just once, and follow the information. Whether integrated, inter-related or simply hyperlinked there is a world of information available for us.

We can find answers to general questions and to obscure questions as well. Having an understanding of simple search strategies can provide more information than previously imagined. Some search engines now let you ask a question, and the search engine will find answer(s).

Technology becomes one form of a scaffold. The process of scaffolding helps or assists learners to “acquire knowledge or skill which cannot be acquired without assistance at that point in time” (Bull, Shuler, Overton, Kimball, Boykin and Griffin, 1993, p. 241). A hyperlinked scaffold has the potential to provide just-in-time answers to questions. One concern, though, is information overload. Too many hyperlinks can make the simple search a quest of epic proportion.

To some, a scaffold is a resource. Resources “are people, tools, technologies, and materials designed to help learners” (Definition and Terminology Committee of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology, 2008, p. 12). Whatever helps the learner to learn can be a scaffold, or even a resource.

However, the greatest distinction is that a scaffold enhances the process of learning. The scaffold should help, aid, assist, make clearer, provide direction and overall SUPPORT the process of learning. It is possible to learn WITHOUT some sort of scaffold, but the presence of a GOOD scaffold can make the learning more engaging and more meaningful.

Bransford, J., Brown, A., & Cocking, R. (Eds.). (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school: Expanded edition. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Bull, K., Shuler, P. Overton, R., Kimball, S., Boykin, C., & Griffin, J. (1993). “Processes for developing scaffolding in a computer mediated learning environment”. Conference Proceedings of the American Council on Rural Special Education (ACRES), Albuquerque, New Mexico. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service: ED 429 765).

Definition and Terminology Committee of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology. (2008). “Definition.” In Januszewski, A., & Molenda, M. (Eds.). Educational technology: A definition with commentary, pp. 1-14. New York, NY: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

The impact of technology on the library: Broadening the shelves with digital resources

The role of technology is forever changing the way we live and learn. Technology is changing the library, and the library is changing the ways we use technology.

Technology can bring “exciting curricula based on real-world problems into the classroom” (Bransford, Brown and Cocking, 2000, p. 207). Through the use of digital assets, curricular materials can become richer with the integration of contemporary sources. Digital news can change a current event into an evolving current event.

e-Books, e-Texts and net-libraries provide access, in some cases, to the ORIGINAL source documents (digitally, of course). Through the growth and expansion of library offerings, there is access to MORE materials than ever before.

Bransford, J., Brown, A., & Cocking, R. (Eds.). (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school: Expanded edition. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

CAT 6: Minute Paper

Two simple questions: “What was the most important thing you learned during this class? And What important question remains unanswered?” (Angelo and Cross, 1993, p. 148). The two questions that can let us know if we are “on track” teaching, or “off the beaten path.” Asking students what they have learned can help us improve our teaching. Hopefully they learn something that has been taught. It’s always insightful to read responses, and learn what they THINK they have learned.

The other questions asks students to identify what hasn’t been answered. We may have covered the content too quickly, or made too many assumptions, and thus, the student has an unanswered question.

But, what do we do with the results? It’s always easy to use the answers to the first question to validate our teaching, and never share the results. But, that’s where probing may be worthwhile. What made learning occur? Did we use great examples? Was our explanation thorough? Asking why students learned can help us continue to improve our teaching methods.

The second question is, for some, troublesome. Why didn’t they learn? How can they STILL have a question, after my riveting lecture or discussion? The answer to the second question may indicate places where we need to do MORE, or do things DIFFERENTLY. Did I explain things? Did I make the content relevant to their lives? Do I need to use multimedia to help students learn, or to help me teach?

Take the time to ask the questions. Read their answers. Use the answers to start the NEXT class period, and clear up any unanswered questions. Use the answers to shape or RESHAPE the next class period. It’s just two simple questions.

Angelo, T., & Cross, K. (1993). Classroom assessment techniques: A handbook for college teachers. (2nd Ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Transforming and reforming content

I am really amazed. I am using several applications that are, in my opinion, completely reshaping the way content is being created. these are personalized, individualized content creators. It's always a challenge, sorting and sifting through the never-ending avalanche of information.

I subscribe to multiple feeds, that are aggregated in Google Reader. Google Reader does a good job collecting the feeds. But sifting through the feeds takes time.

www.feedly.com creates a digest, of sorts, of my subscribed feeds. My feeds are presented in an organized format. I can quickly see what's new, read two or three lines of the article and share the article with a wide variety of social sites.


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Monday, February 07, 2011

Three trends (for now) in technology

The three key issues in educational technology impacting the community college (and higher education as well) today are mobile computing, mobile devices, and the shifting notion of the book.

Mobile computing is quickly reshaping the educational frontier. No longer can we presume the classroom to be a fixed, stationary environment. Mobile computing is quickly placing an emphasis on truly learning and teaching anywhere. Transforming the educational world to adopt this environment will require forward thinking innovation. Textbooks will change, classroom time will shift from a fixed time, to a more fluid time.

The increased use of mobile devices and smart phones is contributing to the new notion of mlearning. Writing a paper, or in this context, creating content, requires a whole new skill set both from the student and the teacher. Embracing the mobile devices requires long established traditions to change and this is, perhaps, one of the greatest challenges facing us today.

The traditional focus of learning, the book, is shifting to an ebook, or etextbook. This shift to a more efficient and economical mode of delivery will require a shift in thinking and a shift in the library. How can we as educators, encourage students to learn with these new books, when we limit or have concerns over the use of mobile devices? How can the transformational power of the mobile devices improve and propel education forward when we discourage their use in the classroom?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Brookfield's Four Lenses and Technology, Part 2

Stephen Brookfield's "Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher" (1995) speaks of four lenses that "illuminates a different part of our teaching" (p. 28). Looking at each of these lenses in technological terms may shift the lens just a little.

The second lens is "our students' eyes" (Brookfield, 1995, p. 30). Simply "Google" yourself and quickly see what is out there. How our students perceive us online reflects our technological competence. Use an old or older technology, and quickly learn how it DOESN'T work. Program compatibility is another competency to learn.

Do we use technology to actively solicit student feedback? Are we sufficiently conversant with the wide range of social media applications to connect with students where ever they are?

To truly look at ourself as a student, we must be willing to give AND receive criticism. Providing feedback, with technology, is instantaneous. Technology can extend a dialogue, and make it deeper and incorporate more media resources than a dialogue without technology. Asynchronous as well as synchronous communication is enhanced with technology.

The student lens can be enhanced and refined with technology. Students learn and live with technology. Technology is portable, integrated into all aspects of learning and living.

Brookfield, S. (1995). Becoming a critically reflective teacher. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Brookfield's Four Lenses and Technology, Part 1

Stephen Brookfield's "Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher" (1995) speaks of four lenses that "illuminates a different part of our teaching" (p. 28). Looking at each of these lenses in technological terms may shift the lens just a little.

The first lens is "our autobiographies as learners and teachers" (Brookfield, 1995, p. 29). Digitally, our autobiographies change. No longer are our reflections about teaching private. Where we used to talk with colleagues about our teaching in offices, we now send email messages. We have transcended the medium of personal, direct contact to a sender-receiver immediate contact.

Our autobiographies are now multimedia presentations, with hyperlinks and file downloads. Our story is multilayered.

Brookfield, S. (1995). Becoming a critically reflective teacher. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.


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Sunday, January 09, 2011

Have we taught well?

Do we teach well enough? Do we teach to standard? Or do we teach the student?


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Monday, January 03, 2011

Apps on my iPad

  • Facebook HD - easy to use Facebook application
  • Twittelator - visually appealing Twitter client
  • Twitter - good, standard
  • Dropbox - easy integration with other apps
  • iDisk
  • Dragon Dictation
  • SketchPad HD
  • pdf-notes - annotate pdf's, highlight pdf's
  • Noteshelf - quick upload/export to Evernote and/or Dropbox
  • Audiotorium
  • gDocuments
  • Google
  • Keynote
  • Pages
  • Numbers
  • Office2 HD - work with Microsoft Office 2007 formatted files
  • Springpad
  • Simplenote
  • Sticky Notes - nice visual corkboard with stickies
  • Evernote
  • BlogPress
  • Flipboard
  • Mashable
  • Projector
  • Mindmeister
  • GeeTasks - Google Tasks
  • iCabMobile
  • YourVersionHD
  • iA Writer
  • PS Express - photo editing capabilities
  • Google Books
  • iBooks

Friday, December 31, 2010

Technology for the next year

Springpad. Link to Springpad. An impressive note taking application. Create individual notebooks. Tag notes. Attach tasks and due dates. Email the notes. On the iPhone, iPad, Google Chrome as client applications. This application can be used to update teaching materials, collect, tag and share teaching and learning materials.

Slideshare. Link to Slideshare. Great application to upload and share documents and slides. Tag documents, describe documents. Easy to virtually distribute to small or large groups. Works with both Microsoft documents, Adobe PDF files, and Keynote documents. This application is ideal for presentations where standard technology may not be available.


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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The year in review, or what technology has allowed me to do

It's hard to think about how technology has influenced this year. It has really made me think differently and use technology differently. For instance, I was the kind of person who would take notes on stickies or any other scrap of paper. I would try to write legibly, but to no avail. I would try and transfer my notes to a text editor, but that didn't happen that often.

I have started using the iPad to do more. I can take notes either with the Notes application or one of the many applications that uses a stylus. I am finding that the iPad is a really useful device.

I am finding that Google Chrome, with extensions and the new Chrome Store, is becoming one of my browsers of choice. But alas, no Google Chrome on my iPad. Mozilla Firefox with add ons and extensions is also a robust browser. Browsers that integrate with other web applications are important.

That's my thoughts, so far. Technology has changed the way we do things, and it will continue to evolve as we find greater uses for technology in our everyday lives.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Interacting and interactions

Understanding the changing dynamics of interaction. Moore (1989) mentioned three key types, (1) student to instructor, (2) student to content, and (3) student to student. There is now a fourth type of interaction, student to common digital device. The common digital device is more than a vehicle for content, it is more than a means to create content, it is the digital learning assistant – this device links students with content, students and the instructor simultaneously. Real-time conversations, desktop sharing and collaboration are now the commonplace instead of the exception. With the changes in interactions, teaching has to radically shift and change as well. Students are likely to interact with and through common digital devices – at all times. No longer can we presume that students will dutifully set in a classroom and take notes – students will be fact-checking course content, finding additional as well as alternative content. We need to engage students WHERE they are, not where WE want them to be.

Interacting with students allows time for feedback, focuses time on learning, and clearly communicates the expectations of the instructor AND for the student (Chickering and Gamson, 1987). Incorporating the common digital device, feedback can be instantaneous, as well as anytime and anyplace. The common digital device promotes and encourages learning EVERYWHERE. No longer is learning limited to a particular space, at a particular time. Learning occurs where the students ARE. The nature of interaction is changing. Learners are more ENGAGED with learning because of these common digital devices.

Interaction now includes (1) portable technology, (2) fluid teaching, and (3) a desire to use the new, common digital device to teach and learn anywhere, anyplace, and anytime.

Chickering, A. W., and Gamson, Z. F. (1987) “Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education.” American Association of Higher Education Bulletin, Volume 39, Number 7. [WWW document] URL http://www.aahea.org/bulletins/articles/sevenprinciples1987.htm (Visited December 21, 2010)

Moore, M. G. (1989) “Three types of interaction.” The American Journal of Distance Education, Volume 3, Number 2. [WWW document] URL http://www.ajde.com/Contents/vol3_2.htm#editorial (Visited December 21, 2010)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The common and uncommon

What would be considered common professional development? Is there such a thing as normal professional development? Trying to push the envelope is important and vital, I believe, for professional development. It is important to push the envelope, to challenge people to do things they would not normally do.

Uncommon professional development is pivotal. It addresses the unique needs of faculty. It may be small group, it may be one on one. It seeks to provide answers to questions. Uncommon should be the rule, rather than the exception. We should try to find the unique, the uncommon, the personalized approach to faculty development.

There are no universal approaches except to individualize opportunities for growth and enrichment. Professional development is personal, and we are each unique.

Be different. Be unique. Be uncommon.


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Sunday, December 05, 2010

Technology and assessment

Can technology, in and of itself, make a difference in educational reform? Or is it the use of technology that reforms education? Technology is like a textbook, like the chalkboard. By themselves, they are merely objects. But in the hands of teachers and students they are so much more.


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Friday, December 03, 2010

My recently completed readings

My recent readings are loosely associated. Technology WANTS us to communicate, but it doesn't help us CONNECT easily. However, technology can be LIBERATING when we use it for real educational reform. All three are good reading, and could each contribute to the improvement (or REFORMATION) of education.

Kelly, K. (2010). What technology wants. New York, NY: Viking.

Maxwell, J. (2010). Everyone communicates few connect: What the most effective people do differently. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

Moe, T., & Chubb, J. (2009). Liberating learning: Technology, politics, and the future of American education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The times and the talk aren't changing, much

More talk about changing the school calendar for public schools. The premise is if students are in school longer, they will score higher on the state standardized test AND not loose what they learned in the regular school year. Add to this the renewed discussions about teacher quality, teacher preparation, and the "need" for real reform, it is no wonder people perceive discord in the hallowed halls of education.

We need to remember that the act of learning hasn't changed much. Granted, technology has given us access to a wider array of tools. These tools may deepen and enrich learning. They may provide access to a wide variety of sources and resources that were previously unavailable or were limited in their availability. But the technology has not "changed" learning, it has expanded opportunities to learn. Technology has shifted the physical place of learning from a classroom to a bench, to a park.

There are so many voices clamoring for change it can be difficult to listen. We may need to change, we may need reform. But we may really need to understand that learners, or students, will always and forever be asking questions. It is our job, our duty, our mission to help them as they search for an answer.

Change is a part of life. The act of learning may not change, it evolves, it is always adapting to other changes around. The WHAT of learning changes. The HOW of learning changes as technology changes.

But, the WHY of learning is so intimately personal that we cannot change that. We respond, we react, we engage, we enrich, we empower ... we learn, and we teach.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

New and old technologies

I am not worried about scraps of paper. I am really trying to use more technology. Figure that the technology can improve my productivity. I started using Simplenote. It is a web app, platform and browser independent. In the case of notes, any technological advantage can help. I am bombarded with information each day, and keeping the avalanche organized either requires a handful of notes, that must be transcribed and added to a calendar, contact list, or document.

I can create a note with Simplenote, sync it to my iPhone, iPad, or any computer. I can tag notes, search by tag or other term, publish a note as a web page, or email it. And I can delete them when they are no longer needed.

No more scraps of paper for me.


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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What I Am Thankful For

I am thankful for my friends and colleagues.

I am thankful to be able to work with people who are genuinely involved in improving teaching and learning.

I am thankful to find ways to integrate technology and impact learning as well as teaching.

I am thankful that, even though I may not know the answers to their questions, we can ask questions and eventually find an answer.

I am thankful that I can smile and laugh, and struggle.

I am thankful that I learn each day, and every day.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

What I've learned

I've really learned a lot, from others, and by myself. Mostly, from others. It's always easier to listen to others and learn from them. Learning how to ask questions, really good questions. Watching all of the nonverbal communication cues.

And, I still keep learning.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Assessment, reform, and transformation

Given that professional development, good professional development, can improve teaching, introduce technology, and build community, transformation is possible. Assessing professional development requires time. Change takes time. Professional development takes time. Change is not only involvement and participation, but reflection.

Reform is measured by movement. Transformation is measured by enhancements in teaching, engaging learners, providing opportunities for sharing with others.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The flow of technology

As technology goes, I am becoming more and more impressed with the iPad. It is so fluid and flexible, I can focus on content creation, and not on technological issues. I think, I type, and I update my blog. If the technology is truly transparent, pervasive, and powerfully portable shouldn't it be used more?


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

My Google Chrome Extensions

Currently Used Extensions for Google Chrome (From Left-to-Right)

Monday, November 01, 2010

Strategic thoughts about technology

Technology requires a shift or change in the culture. The notion of a common digital device takes on even more significance. The common device, the personal device, is multitouch, allowing users to quickly, seamlessly, and effortlessly move through content. The device, the pen based input device provides users the ability to take notes, annotate content and create graphical content.

Technology enhances the learning environment, and should not disrupt the learning environment. A small, powerful, portable and pen based device becomes the device that naturally compliments learning. This device is a natural fit for learning, and is seen as a natural extension. It is intuitive and does not disrupt.

Technology requires a change or shift in teaching. As the common digital devices become more transparent, they are used in all classes. As the devices become more powerful, teaching needs to push the boundaries to meet the power the devices offer. A pen based device provides a greater force for change. This new digital device combines traditional and contemporary elements of teaching and learning.

Technology can reshape, reform, and transform the individual aspects of learning and teaching. As technology continues to evolve it is more important to view the uses of technology rather than the specific technologies. This is mobile, portable, powerful and personal technology.

Remembering that technology is a device, a tool, a mechanism, a personalized and personal part in the learning process. The device should be powerful enough to accomplish any instructional task. The device should support the display, creation and sharing of multimedia.

Technology will never improve learning, but provide access to divergent ways of thinking due in part to the multimedia or different media that may be used.

The growth of technology should not be seen as a limiter in the educational process, but an opportunity to grow, to engage, to reflect, to think, to problem solve and to heighten and refine collaborative and communicative skills.

Technology strategically deployed can continually reform and transform education. The availability of a common device, a common pen based device, can radically change the landscape for learners and teachers alike.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The "Common" Digital Device

Is it time to change our definition of the COMMON digital device? It's more than a simple laptop. It's more than a netbook. It's more than a tablet. It's these and so much more. The new device is small but powerful. The NEW common device is portable, powerful, pervasive, ubiquitous, and transparent. The device is pen-based, and supports multi-touch. It is intuitive. It is so uncommon.
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