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
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