Friday, August 22, 2014

Doing Development Differently

Teachers Need Training Too! A New Model For Development

by Landon Phillips

Development plays a pivotal role in a teacher’s career, yet many departments haven’t settled on how to best implement an effective development program. Even here at Technology and Learning we are constantly looking for new and improved ways to offer training to faculty. We have several Faculty Professional Development programs that run throughout the year, we have a semi annual Technology and Learning Conference, and we run the Faculty Speaker Series several times a semester just to name a few. As I was wondering how we can improve this preexisting methods, I began to look for examples of what others do. And where better to look than to the 2014 teacher of the year, Katie Brown?
Apparently Bill Gates had a similar idea (great minds think alike) and so he sat down with Katie for an interview. In it, they discuss the importance of collecting data, collaboration, and professional development. During the interview she mentions:
“We’ve known for a long time that most students won’t learn if you just stick them in a classroom and make them listen to a lecture. They have to put the learning to use and make it relevant to their own lives. And yet most teachers still get their professional development at seminars and conferences, where they sit listening to lectures. ‘We would never do that with kids,’ Katie said, ‘but we still do it with teachers.’”
So in order to improve teacher training, Katie and her school broke it down into four main areas, explained here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPSRbHucF24#t=63


Be sure to check out the entirety of the article here. Do you think this method would work here at Pepperdine? If you could structure training or development differently, what would you like to see put into practice? Let us know! You can contact us at techlearn@pepperdine.edu. We'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Google Classroom

Unpacking Google Classroom: What it Does and What You Need to Know

by Alan Regan

There has been quite a bit of buzz about Google Classroom for the past several months. Back in May, Google launched a PR campaign and asked interested teachers to sign up for a preview.  It started with a limited set of folks, then in July they started to roll out more and more sneak peeks.  Now Google has officially announced the release of Google Classroom to all Google Apps for Education customers.

What Can You Do With Google Classroom?

Google Classroom is new. As such, it only has a small number of features. If professors are expecting equivalent features to a full-blown learning management system, they will be disappointed. However, Google likely plans to build on this platform and roll out additional functionality over time. In the meantime, what can Google Classroom help you do today?
  • Announcements. Professors can post text announcements that appear in the "classroom" in the announcement stream. The announcement can include a file attachment, link to a Google Drive item, YouTube video, or website link.
  • Assignments. The teacher can create a basic assignment that students can submit for grading.
  • Course Description. In the "About" area, the teacher can post a description for the class, list the room details, and post materials.
  • Email. From the "Students" area, a professor can email individual, select, or all students through Google Mail integration.
  • Invite Students. To populate the class with students, the teacher can "Invite" the participants to join the class.
  • Materials. At the bottom of the "About" area of a class, the teacher can upload attachments, link to existing Google Drive items, link to a YouTube video, or share a website link.
 If you explore or experiment, you'll see that it has a similar feel to Google+ since the main page is the "stream" where postings of announcements and assignments can be found.

So What Is Missing from Google Classroom?

While Google Classroom is interesting to explore, it would be difficult for a university professor who expects more advanced functionality to teach with this tool. Again, it is likely to expand over time, but as of this writing the service is missing some core functionality:
  • No Gradebook. While professors can create assignments and grade each student within the assignment, there isn't a central gradebook to summarize the overall progress of each student.
  • No Automated Course Creation. At this time, there isn't a mechanism to automatically create classes based on official class data from WaveNet.
  • No Automated Student Enrollment. At this time, there isn't a mechanism to automatically enroll or unenroll students based on official school registrations. Professors must "invite" students manually and students must accept the invitation (or join by using a join code).
  • No Plagiarism Detection. There isn't a tool or feature to scan an assignment submission for potential plagiarism. Google is the master of search, so perhaps this could happen in the future.
  • No Sequenced or Modular Learning. While there is a stream where you can scroll back chronologically to past announcements or assignments, and an area in the Abour section to post materials, there isn't a place to create a series of text and media rich content for learning modules or lessons. 
  • And the list goes on...

What are the Gotchas?

With any system, there is usually a set of gotchas or known issues. The key gotcha relates to the assignment process. Actually, it's not as much of a gotcha as a "be sure to be aware" notice.

When a student submits a document to a Google Classroom assignment, that document will transfer from the student to the teacher's Google Drive folder (moving it) and switching the permissions.  The teacher becomes the owner and the student will now only have view privileges. On return of the document to the student, however, the professor's permissions shift, the student becomes the owner (and if the professor wants to edit the document, he or she will need to request permission from the student). So it's key that both teacher and student understand these permission and location items.

Wishlist Items

  • Integration of Hangouts.
  • Integration with Sites (or similar or something new) to create structured learning opportunities.
  • Plagiarism Detection.
  • Gradebook.
  • LTI Integration to plug Google Classroom into learning management systems or visa versa.

If a Pepperdine Professor Wants to Explore...

Google Classroom is enabled on our Pepperdine Google Apps for Education service. Professors simply need to visit http://classroom.google.com, log in with their Pepperdine University Google Apps account, choose "Teacher," and explore away!

Conclusion


In summary, Google Classroom is a basic tool with promise.  It seems perfect for K-12 teachers in schools that don't have a central learning platform.  For higher education, though, it is not poised to replace a formal learning management system. At least not right now.  We'll keep an eye out and see what new features or enhancements Google may roll out down the road.

Resources:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Adobe Connect: What Fonts Are Supported in PowerPoint Uploads?

Adobe Connect and PowerPoint: The Fonts that Work (and other options)

by Alan Regan

Adobe Connect is a powerful tool for online teaching and collaboration. A great feature is the ability  to import content such as PowerPoint presentations, PDFs, or MP4 videos. Professors commonly import PowerPoint files, but sometimes the conversion looks different than what normally appears on their computers. The most common reason is that a font in the PowerPoint is not supported by the Adobe Connect service.

So what's a professor to do?

There are five options to explore:
  1. Use fonts in your PowerPoint that Adobe Connect supports
  2. Save your PowerPoint as a PDF and upload the PDF
  3. Save your PowerPoint slides as JPEG images to add to a new PowerPoint
  4. Save your PowerPoint as a video (MP4)
  5. Embed your fonts in your PowerPoint

Fonts that Adobe Connect Supports

One of the easiest approaches is to focus your presentation design on core fonts that Adobe Connect supports. Adobe reports that Adobe Connect's hosted service runs on Windows servers and supports the fonts that are standard on those systems. The short list to help professors and instructional designers is:
  • Arial
  • Calibri
  • Cambria
  • Candara
  • Comic Sans
  • Courier New
  • Georgia
  • Impact
  • Lucida Console
  • Lucida Sans
  • Palatino Linotype
  • Symbol
  • Tahoma
  • Times New Roman
  • Trebuchet MS
  • Verdana
  • Webdings
  • Wingdings
If you choose this approach, be sure to limit your use to these fonts. Please be aware, there are often derivative fonts that have similar names. For example, there is a font called "Arial Narrow." These derivative fonts are not supported. Similarly, there may be similar font confusion on the Mac, such as Times vs. Times New Roman. Mac users should select the font names that match the list above.  Many of these fonts are provided when a recent version of Microsoft Office for Mac is installed.

For the full list of supported fonts, please visit Microsoft's website.

Save Your PowerPoint as a PDF

Adobe supports PDF documents in the "Share" pod, so another option is to save your PowerPoint presentation as a PDF. When you save a PowerPoint as a PDF, each slide will be a static "page" in your PDF.

Design Considerations:

  • Animations and transitions will be lost
  • Layer multiple bullet point reveals onto separate slides (if you want to focus attention one bullet point at a time)
  • Layer multiple image reveals onto separate slides (if you want to reveal each element one point at a time)
  • Embedded video and audio is not supported (you'd upload the video or audio file and share those elements separately)

PowerPoint Instructions:

The following steps are from Office 2013 for Windows. See the links below for other versions of Office.
  • Once your PowerPoint is ready and designed to flatten to individual pages in a PDF...
  • File > Save As
  • Choose the location on your computer and name the file accordingly.
  • From the "File Type" drop down, select "PDF" (if you have Adobe Acrobat Pro installed, you may be able to select File > Save as PDF directly)
  • Click "Save."
Preview the PDF to verify that each page appears as you desire.  You can then upload this file to your Content area in Adobe Connect or via the Share pod in an Adobe Connect meeting.

See also: PowerPoint 2010 for Windows, PowerPoint 2013 for Windows, PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Save Your PowerPoint as JPEG Images

Similar to saving your PowerPoint as a PDF, you can also save your PowerPoint as individual JPEG images.  Each slide is saved as a single JPEG image and you can then create a new PowerPoint file and insert each image onto separate slides. This involves more time than the PDF method, obviously.

Design Considerations:

  • Please refer to the previous design considerations in saving as a PDF.

PowerPoint Instructions:

The following steps are from Office 2013 for Windows. See the links below for other versions of Office.
  • Once your PowerPoint is ready and designed to flatten to individual images...
  • File > Save As
  • Choose the location on your computer where you want to save the files.
  • From the "File Type" drop down, select "JPEG File Interchange Format (.jpg)."
  • Rename the file if desired, else click "Save."
  • When prompted, select "All Slides."
  • When prompted that it will create a new folder, click "OK."
  • PowerPoint will create a new folder with the same title of your original PowerPoint file in the location you selected. Each slide will be an individual JPEG image.
  • You may now create a new, blank PowerPoint and insert each image on new slides. You may need to remove the placeholder textbox on each slide for the image to automatically autofit to the full slide.
See also: PowerPoint 2010 for Windows, PowerPoint 2013 for Windows, PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Save Your PowerPoint as a Video (MP4)

This is a hidden gem in modern versions of Microsoft PowerPoint -- many people don't know that this option even exists! If you want to preserve the full experience of your presentation (animations, transitions, etc.), this may be an option to explore. It does require some design setup, such as declaring the transition time (advance slide "after" time) for each slide. To help with this, you can use the "Rehearse Timings" feature to help set these numbers for you.

Design Considerations:

PowerPoint Instructions:

The following steps are from Office 2013 for Windows. See the links below for other versions of Office.
  • Once your PowerPoint is ready, you've set your slide timings, etc....
  • File > Save As
  • Choose the location on your computer where you want to save the file.
  • From the "Save as Type" drop-down, select "MPEG-4 video (.mp4)."
  • Rename the file if desired.
  • Click "Save."
  • Be patient and don't close PowerPoint! Your presentation will now be converted and saved into a video file. The larger and more complex your presentation, the longer it will take to convert.
See also: "Turn your presentation into a video (PowerPoint 2010 Windows)," "Save your presentation as a video (PowerPoint 2013 Windows)," "Save presentation as movie file (PowerPoint 2011 Mac)."

Embed Your Fonts in Your PowerPoint

Full Disclosure: This is only an option for Windows PowerPoint (not Mac PowerPoint). Also, results may vary. We list this option since Adobe has mentioned it as a potential solution, but we caution you that we've had mixed results.

This option involves embedding your custom fonts into your PowerPoint when you save the file. While Microsoft Office allows you to embed both TrueType and OpenType fonts, it seems as if Adobe Connect will only support TrueType fonts. Also, since you're including the font within the PowerPoint file, it will also increase the size of your resulting PowerPoint file, too.

PowerPoint Instructions:

Remember, this option is only available for Windows versions of PowerPoint.
  • Once your PowerPoint is ready...
  • File > Save As
  • Choose the location on your computer where you want to save the file.
  • Name or rename the file.
  • From the "Tools" drop down near the bottom, select "Save options."
  • Scroll down and select "Embed fonts in the file" and the desired option (e.g. "Embed only the characters used in the presentation (best for reducing the file size)").
  • Click "Ok."
  • Click "Save."

See also: "How PowerPoint font embedding and replacement can save your presentation (PowerPoint 2007, 2010, 2013)"


We hope the above options will help you deliver powerful, effective, and professional presentations in Adobe Connect.



Sunday, August 17, 2014

Simple Code Hack to Avoid Media Overlap

A Smidgen of Responsive Design for Faculty

by Alan Regan

Has this ever happened to you? You've embedded media in a blog, web page, or learning management system that has a right column, and your media overlaps the site's right column?


The reason? Your media is wider than the space available. Some web pages will adjust and push the right column, others will overlap like the above image shows.

In the event that you have access to modify the HTML code with your embedded media, a simple coding hack may be able to help. With one "style" addition, you can ask the page to please not display the media (image, video, etc.) beyond the limits of its content column or container.

The Code To Add: style="max-width: 100%;"


Here is an example using YouTube iframe embed code.

BEFORE

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/zpGcjQHPpTc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe>

AFTER

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/zpGcjQHPpTc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" style="max-width: 100%;" ></iframe>


Give it a try! I hope this will help your media stay within the bounds of your blog post, column, or frame. Works great in Sakai! If only we could convince YouTube and other media sites to add this simple code to the embed process by default...

Resources for the Tech-Curious:


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Windows 8 Shortcuts for Presenters

When you Forget Your Laptop Function-Key Combo:

Windows-P to the Rescue for Presenters

by Alan Regan

Anyone who trains professors with classroom technology has a few key items on a checklist:
  1. Do you have the correct display port, adapter, or cable to connect to the room projector?
  2. Do you have a backup copy of your presentation file (hard drive, flash drive, and cloud storage)?
  3. Do you know how to send your display content to the projector?
For #3, it's critical that a professor can confidently send the presentation to the classroom projector or display. While many modern laptops will auto-detect and enable the display capabilities once an external display is connected, this isn't always the case.  For Windows-based machines, it gets a little more complicated since since almost every manufacturer has a different set of Function (Fn) key combinations to switch on/off the presentation mode of a laptop.  For example, most Dell laptops use the keyboard combo Fn-F8 while many HP laptops may use Fn-F4.

Thankfully, there is an even easier and consistent way to push the presentation display to a projector in Windows:

Windows-P

"Windows" stands for the Windows key, often with the Windows logo on the keyboard.  The "P" stands for "Presentation Mode." Pressing and holding the Windows key and then tapping the "P" key will display the available options: "PC Screen Only," "Duplicate," "Extend," or "Second Screen Only."  Professors will commonly select "Duplicate" to mirror the display on their laptop to the projector or display, or "Extend" to keep their laptop content private and move selected windows to the second display. The "Windows-P" shortcut is available in Windows 7 and Windows 8.
  • "PC Screen Only" - means that the computer content will only appear on the main display, commonly the built-in display of the laptop or a connected monitor on a desktop. No information is sent to the secondary projector or monitor.
  • "Duplicate" - means that the computer content will be mirrored (appear identical) on both the main display and the external display/projector.
  • "Extend" - means that the "extended desktop" feature will be enabled. The main or laptop display will have the primary operating system interface while the external display/projector will act like extra screen space. Professors would drag an application window over to the secondary display to show to attendees. This can be helpful if the professor wants to preserve some information for his/her "eyes only" and selectively move content to the projector for attendees to view.  Advanced presenters can switch which display is the "primary" and which is the extended secondary display through the "Display" Control Panel.
  • "Second Screen Only" - means that the display signal will only be sent to the external display/projector and the main or built-in laptop display will go dark. This can be helpful is a laptop's video capabilities are poor and can only support one display at a time.

Alt-Tab


Another tip for presenters is smoothly moving from one application to another. For example, moving from a PowerPoint presentation to a web page.  Rather than exiting PowerPoint and fumbling through application windows, try quickly toggling to your destination with the keyboard combination: "Alt-Tab." Press and hold the "Alt" key on your keyboard and tap the "Tab" key. Keep holding the "Alt" key and either tap the "Tab" key to move forward, "Shift-Tab" to move back, or simply use the arrow keys to navigate the available windows. Once the desired window is highlighted, release the "Alt" key to switch to that window in a snap!

Other helpful presenter shortcuts

  • Use Presenter View. In PowerPoint, use "Presenter View" to display the slide show on the projector but have presenter details (timer, notes, slide selection) on the laptop or primary display. In the Slideshow ribbon, make sure "Use Presenter View" is selected.
  • Quickly "B"lack the screen. In PowerPoint, press the "B" key during a presentation to "B"lack the screen temporarily. The period key (".") will also accomplish the same effect. This is very helpful to focus attention to the presenter rather than the screen. Press the "B" or "." key again to return to the current slide.  (If you prefer a white screen, press "W" to "White" the screen. The comma (",") is the equivalent.)
  • Start your presentation in a jiff.  In PowerPoint, press "F5" to start a presentation from the beginning or first slide.  Press "Shift-F5" to start from the currently selected slide.
  • End your presentation like a pro. In PowerPoint press the "ESC"ape key.
  • Move through slides with ease. In PowerPoint, there are many ways to navigate your presentation.
    • Next slide: Left mouse click, Space, Enter, Right Arrow, Down Arrow, Page Down, and "N" key will all advance to the "n"ext slide or animation.
    • Previous slide: Right mouse click, Backspace, Left Arrow, Up Arrow, Page Up, and "P" will all move back to the "p"revious slide or animation.
    • Jump to slide via slide number. Press the number for the slide and then press Enter. For example "3-Enter" will jump to the third slide.
    • Jump to slide via thumbnail (Office 2013). Press the hyphen ("-") key and then use arrow keys to select a slide. Press Enter to display that slide. NOTE: Pressing hyphen again will shrink the thumbnails, pressing equal ("=") will increase the thumbnails.
    • Jump back to first slide (Office 2010 and 2013). Press and hold the left and right mouse buttons for two seconds. NOTE: Your experience may vary with this tip. On my laptop, an external USB mouse worked and the pointing stick buttons worked, but the buttons on my trackpad did not produce the desired effect. You could always press the number "1" and press Enter for a quick jump to the beginning, too.

Learn More:



Thursday, May 22, 2014

Gamification of education in video Start Point to end



Gamification of Education:

This article is about all the good resources on Gamification of Education.  Much of this has been posted previously, but I decided to make a clear guide to the top videos for Gamification Education.  The best overall is the new month long 4 episode series on Extra Credits about Gaming and education.  However, if you don't know the basics it's confusing or at least less engaging then if you were familiar with the concept.  If you’d like to apply game like learning to the class watch the following videos in the order provided and you will be ready to start your journey.   To begin lets watch a video on what Education and Game like learning is about.  Nothing is as good as the following video for that.




After, I would recommend diving a little deeper into some of the concepts.  The video below talks about the importance of student choice in classes, and shows how faculty can apply choice to classes.




Once you learn about student choice.  Watch this amazing video on failure also by extra credits.


Once you learn about how classes and homework may invoke fear in students watch this last video to learn about mastery based learning and eliminating fear in classes through the appropriate use of assessments and there interaction with failure.

video 

If you've watched all the videos and you still want to know more about gamificaiton and education.  Now watch the rest of Extra Credits.  Here is playlist of all there videos of games and education.  Good luck and if you use this information in your class let me know.


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Gamification and Student Choice

This VLOG is the second in my Gamification videos.  This is about Gamification and the importance of Student Choice and Grading inside a class.  I hope everyone will think and reflect about this and think of ways to implement it in a classroom.

http://youtu.be/xkEhX52hmy0

Friday, April 25, 2014

Mastery Learning and Gamification

Gamification and Mastery Learning

 by Keenan Kibrick

Today's Blog Post is the first part in multi-part series on Gamification and Education. Each of these videos will cover a small part about the concept of Gamificaiton and Education.  Each video shows a concept from video games that relates to prior models of education, and how they have been merged in schools to improve education.  Today's first video is on the topic of Gamification and Mastery Learning.   I hope you will all use the information to improve education in the classroom.  When you do please let me know about your successes so that I can compile a list of successful implementations.

Finally a special thanks to Erik Ward of the Oxnard Union High School District who taught me about Gamification and Education.  The teachers of his district were inspiring and are some of the examples in this video.   I hope you all will enjoy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WnRgBLvn7c

Monday, April 14, 2014

Education through Video

by Keenan Kibrick


I decided to change the format this week for the blog.  Instead of reading it’s time to watch.  I have 2 videos for you that are both very good and about education.  One is quick and the other is longer, but both will make people think and reflect about the practice of education.

Extra Credits: Games in Education


Why I Watched It:   I love so many videos from Extra Credits and I think they are great educational resources.  I recently watched one about Games in Education and I wanted to compare it to the idea of Gamification (the concept) in education.

Why I wrote about it:   This video addressed a misconception about the gamification of education that I felt needed clarification. When people first hear about the concept of gamification of education their first thought is it means bringing games into the classroom.  In reality, it’s about making the classroom a game.  This video reflects why bringing games into the classroom isn’t necessarily a plan for success.  It focuses on the aspects about video games that make them so enjoyable to play, and highlights that bringing them into the classroom may hinder a games appeal.  The choice of playing a game impacts a student’s desire to play games, and the piece focuses on how a classroom requirement might reduce that choice. If video games are placed in a class for a grade or credit then the students lose that choice over their actions and the game becomes ineffective in the classroom.  Technology in education is great for the future of education, but we need to be cognizant about how we implement technology in the classroom.  Imposing technology is like imposing games, it’s not as effective as allowing technology to naturally blend into the classroom.  This is another great commentary on education and technology and I recommend all read it to spark creativity on ways to implement games in the classroom.

It’s perfect for:  Wanting to implement games in the classroom, Technology implementation best practices, Favoring pedagogy over technology and letting learning lead technology implementation



Talking Creativity with Dr. Jonathan Plucker

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugcpdO2EoJI#t=17


Why I watched it:  I know the interviewer Tim Green very well.  He was my professor when I was in Graduate School at CSU: Fullerton.  He posted up this interview and at first it was just interesting about creativity, however by the end when they discussed merging technology and creativity it became a video that I began taking notes on to help apply to classrooms.

Why I kept reading it:   It was research based, and it focuses on defining the word creativity and trying to help standardize the terminology in terms of the education community.  It gives example of how to phrase questions for students to evoke creativity in their writing, and helps faculty be cognizant about question writing on assignments.  Around 16 minutes in is a great discussion about how a 15 word instruction for assignments hindered creativity for an entire class.  The realization of this gave me pause, and helped me reorganize the words I use on assignments.  20 minutes into the video they begin the discussion of technology and creative output which is also fascinating, and really helps guides the academic discussion about the online community as a place that fosters creativity.  

It’s perfect for:  Rethinking learning, wanting to improve creativity in the classroom, researched/tested methods of incorporating creativity

Monday, March 31, 2014

MyLibrary - Library Resources at your Fingertips

MyLibrary Helps Students Find Library Resources

by Alan Regan

In almost every course site is a little tool called MyLibrary. If a student clicks this tool, it will present information tailored to their subject area or even their specific class and section.


How the Tool Works

When a student or professor clicks the tool, it looks at the course site. If it finds a specific match for that class site, section, and semester (e.g. ENG 101.01 F16), then it displays custom information for that class.  If it doesn't find an exact match, then it looks for the subject area (e.g. ENG), and displays the general information for that subject. Finally, if it finds no matches at all, then it displays a list of all general resource lists and the main library information.

The tool can also support up to two subject librarians per course.  For example, if the primary subject librarian is at the Malibu campus, and there is an additional subject expert at the Irvine campus, then a student can click the link at the bottom to display the other librarian's contact information.

Background

MyLibrary was a collaborative effort between Pepperdine IT and Pepperdine Libraries and has evolved over the years.  It began in 2007 when the library approached us about students not knowing where to go or who to speak with regarding research for class papers and projects. Working with library staff members, we mocked up some options and developed an initial tool for our previous learning management system (LMS). This version was originally created with Java, Flash, and Actionscript, which were popular at the time.

In 2009, we started our pilot of Sakai as a replacement for our previous LMS. We ported our prior version of the tool to a Sakai-friendly version. This version was also based in Java, Flash, and Actionscript. Slowly, we started to see more and more mobile devices appear on campus, and many devices were not compatible with Flash content. In 2012, we began a revision, and starting spring 2013 we launched the revised MyLibrary in HTML5/Javascript so that iPad and iPhone users could benefit from the tool.

****

We're very grateful for our collaboration with Pepperdine Libraries and hope that students and professors alike benefit from library resources and contact details readily available from their class sites.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Exploring all aspects of education and technology

 

Exploring all aspects of education and technology

by Keenan Kibrick


I decided to change the format and instead of writing headings “why I clicked it” and “why I wrote it”.  I wanted to replace it with the actual terms that I mean.  Instead it will begin with why I read it for myself, and the second part is why I wrote about it and wanted to tell others about it.  The writing and reasons will be similar then they were before, but the section choices will better reflect what I actually write about in those sections.  I hope you all enjoy the change. 

Today’s wrap up is a mashup of educational material.  It covers a lot of topics from inquiry based learning, the role of a teacher, and gamification motivation.  While it is a mashup of material I hope the techniques will be beneficial to faculty in their pursuit of improving classroom achievement.

Role of the Teacher in a Blended Learning Classroom


Note you have to sign in to read the article, but it is just for verification.

Why I read it:   The separations into the rule, the example of the rule, and the technology Dos/Don’ts were easy to navigate.  I liked reading the Dos and Don’ts and felt they provided good tips for technology in the classroom.

Why I wrote about it:   The content embedded in the format is wonderful to read. It covers so many vast important topics of the 21st century classroom that are applicable to all classes.  It covers data driven culture, high expectations of students, relevant and engaging learning, positive feedback in classes and many more.  For each topic the separation of sections is wonderful.  The rule is simple to follow and the explanation of how each rule works are just one page.  After, they give a detailed example of a school that enforces the rule and exemplifies its success.  Finally it ends with a few quick tip dos and don’ts for the rule.  These tips are powerful and can help guide someone to success in exploring the topic.

This is a long paper compared to my brief entries, but it is valuable information about 21st century learning best practices.  I encourage all faculty to read this, and if need be (because of length) not all at once.  Try working on one tip at a time, and using the information to improve the classroom.  Use as much or as little of this as you want, but please read it because each topic is succinct and valuable to transforming education.

It’s perfect for:  Understanding 21st century learning, creating a toolkit of best practices, wanting examples of support to justify teaching techniques.


Can University Professors Benefit from K-12 Progressive Teaching Tactics


Why I read it:  I enjoyed the narrative of a college educator in a k-12 education conference.  It is interesting to see how different college and K-12 think they are, yet when they are put side by side how similar they really are.  The perspective kept me interested and the more I read the more I got hooked on the epiphanies that this College Professor had.

Why I kept reading it:   One paragraph in particular hooked me into this paper.  The assignment about apples paragraph in the middle of the paper is a must read.  It shows a perfect example of education in the future using the inquiry model, and it’s flawless in its design.  It succinctly explains how the classroom should be a place of inquiry where students should be encouraged to explore multiple topics while learning the main topic of a class.  If students can be motivated to learn through tangential exploration into side topics that lead to the main topic it’s perfectly acceptable and should be encouraged in a class.    It focused on the purpose of what students are learning and highlighting the importance of emphasizing that purpose inside a class.  This is just one example of the great ideas form this article.  The article focuses on how College faculty can benefit from High School Principles of learning.  I believe the ideas in this article are inspiring and should be lessons for all educators regardless of classroom level.

It’s perfect for:   Learning the basics of the inquiry based model, rethinking the college classroom, venturing outside the comfort zone of academia to find innovation.

Rewards of Glory and Other Ways to Keep Gamification Interesting


Why I read it:  I am always fascinated with gamification reward structures.  I know many, but they always feel stale sometimes.  The idea of rewards for glory and multiple reward systems is a great idea.  From the first bold words of rewards of glory I was hooked and wanted to implement these reward systems in classes.

Why I kept reading it:   While this article isn’t about gamification in education.  These same concepts can apply to almost any gamification experience.   Each of them is a great way to help engage students in very simple practices the drive achiever learning style students. Rewards of Glory are a great idea. People need to repeat actions in classes sometimes and motivating repetition is great for classes where repetition is a necessary practice.   Rewards of access are great for students who want to explore a class, and who want to feel rewarded for exploring outside the general class.  Further, by rewarding students with access it lets students realize there are alternative paths to success.  Each of the rewards is a great way to inspire student motivation in class and can be used in class to motivate students to perform tasks they are not usually willing to perform in a class.  I recommend faculty playing around with these different rewards and seeing how students respond to each in class.

It’s perfect for:   learning how to reward students in a class, motivating student achievement, designing a gamification based class