Engage with Infographics

With the great focus on improving student performance in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) academic areas, there has also been an awakening for STEAM. The A representing the Arts.

The University of Florida has created a fantastic infographic to describe the reasons why the arts are vital to well-rounded students. The work they put into this is notable on its own. But guess what else they did? This very cool infographic is designed to be a feeder or marketing tool to pique interest in their Online Master of Arts in Art Education!

This type of marketing is more and more prevalent now. We receive emails embedded with cool articles, graphics, etc. and then when we click the “eye candy” we are taken to some sort of advertisement.

How can these lessons of engagement be applied in education?

Professor Liz Farley-Ripple, who is teaching Education Policy and Governance at the University of Delaware, has found a way! The very first correspondence students received from her was this Piktochart news-paper headline engagement piece.

ed policy class 1st contact

ed policy class 1st contact

EDUC 839 Intro | Piktochart Infographic Editor.

Taking a summer class is already a daunting task, but having the first connection be something visual and engaging put me at ease as a student. However, it also piqued my interest to log into the class LMS and start learning!

So, tell me, what ways will you engage students with infographics?

 

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Frustrated Researcher Part Deux

The three areas that I am interested in studying

  1. Understanding the effectiveness of online/distance learning in the higher education environment with a particular focus on cognition and technology
  2. Understanding how administrative decisions (or lack of) are guiding online education
  3. Understanding how instructor training of online education and instructor identification of his/her personal curriculum theory influences student satisfaction and learning

are varied, which leads me to believe that I will need to distill and define what I ultimately want to research for my EPP. With that said, I will discuss why I have a keen interest in cognition and technology, online administrative decision-making, and instructor training. Before I begin, however, I must first state that although my focus is about the online educational environment, I have found that criticisms and claims can be supported for both online and face-to-face teaching methods. For instance, I typically hear people criticize and compare the worst concepts of online courses to the very best of the face-to-face courses. Rarely, do people openly discuss the failings of the face-to-face methods when bashing the online teaching environment. We tend to create distinct separate silos for online and face-to-face, which I believe is an error in the overall goal to promote innovative education opportunities.

Cognition and technology in education needs to be desperately studied and I am very interested in knowing what works and what does not. When the brain is presented with several levels of sensory input, what does it select to use and retain and why? When we know that there are limits to the brain’s working memory, how can we create environments that support this limitation? How can the understanding of this information help

brain

educators make wise decisions when creating online courses, or selecting software tools to license. We cannot fully trust the marketers of these products to rea

lly know what the student needs. We must have a basic understanding of how our brains function for optimum learning in order to make informed decisions for our students.

Yes….there is a part 3 coming…

Frustrated Researcher P1

kitty thinking about food

I find myself to be a frustrated researcher. I have many ideas and concepts that I would like to investigate, but I do not feel that I have the resources to pursue them. I have a very strong interest in understanding the effectiveness of online/distance learning in the higher education environment with a particular focus on cognition and technology; I want to know how administrative decisions (or lack of) are guiding online education; and I am keenly interested in how instructor training of online education and instructor identification of his/her personal curriculum theory influences student satisfaction and learning.

I am interested in these topics due to the career path I chose several years ago, which put me in the forefront of online education at a higher education institution. I designed policies and procedures to facilitate the distance learning program from 1997 when everything was paper and video-based until 2012 when almost all aspects of course were entirely online. During this time in 2003 I became more interested in the instructional design aspects of teaching online and started helping faculty members create rigorous standards-based courses.

Unfortunately, I have not had the opportunity to actually conduct research in these areas. I have however, been witness to anecdotal information during my 15 years with the program and have read journal articles and tried to incorporate solid research-based ideas into my support of faculty and the program.

Join me In Part 2 when I will talk more about my identifying a topic and next steps.

Information Control

Image representing Netvibes as depicted in Cru...

Do you have information overload? Are you tired of checking a million places for your social updates? I know I am. So I have been looking for a solution to help me improve my personal productivity which will also improve my professional development. I want to be able to see the important news feeds, twitter updates, linkedin info in one area.

First of all, lets talk Dashboards. What are they? According to several sources (Dendas, NetSuite, Wikipedia, SAP) dashboards are user interfaces that allow you to view real-time information, i.e. data, like “key performance indicators” (KPI) and real-time trends. Many times these are created very specifically for businesses to manage their productivity. They can provide analytics that are helpful in making decisions and monitor trends and they do this in a very visual, graphical way. One company, Data-to-Dashboard.Com describes a dashboard as a way of visually describing data in order to achieve goals.

The Netvibe Dashboard we will be reviewing does have a similar high-level data analysis capability for their paid accounts; however, we will be looking at Dashboards as a way to control information.

Does your browser usually look like this with a billion tabs open?

Yes, when we are researching information our information flow tends to look like this; however, when we are “just” monitoring our professional networks, do we really want to have this kind of information system?  Probably not, or at least I definitely do not. I am tired of information overload.

There are browser dashboards that can help manage this flow. The one I really like is called Netvibes. I am primarily interested in Netvibes for the following reasons:

  1. to help control the way in which my many sources of information is displayed
  2. to keep me connected to my social networks

Check out my Netvibes Overview Here:

 

Also you can check out another YouTube video by MrClarkYIS. He wanted to share how he is Using Netvibes for Teacher Blogs. He describes how Netvibes can be used to manage class blogs. Check it out!

Have fun Netvibing!

“Standing on the Shoulders of Giants…”

shoulder to shoulder

shoulder to shoulder By alfromelkhorn

“Copyright law recognizes that creativity doesn’t arise in a vacuum. As creators, we all stand on the shoulders of giants.” Center for Social Media, Fair Use Language for Course Syllabi.

To answer Mathieu Plourde’s question for #udsnf12 blog question, only in one regard have I encountered copyright issues that I felt were inappropriate in the classroom setting: lack of credit to the originator. I have seen numerous times where the presenter does not give credit to images or content. With that said, I still feel that the instructor was able to use the materials without infringing on copyright.

Copyright Act of 1790:

“An Act for the encouragement of learning”

Based on the premise of fair use concerning the transformation of the content, I would argue that all educators who use any and all materials in their classrooms are transforming the use of the content. We are not trying to re-package it and sell it, we are trying to use the material to enhance, expand, support, promote, and solidify the concepts we are teaching. This is not the same thing as trying to re-sell it on the open market as our own creation.

Renee Hobbs’copyright research funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has highlighted the true nature of copyright law, which is to promote the social benefit that occurs from sharing knowledge.

zazzle hats

In Kirby Ferguson’s, Everything is a Remix series he reminds us that to become proficient we need to emulate and practice others’ materials before we can become masters who create new works and ideas. “Copying is how we learn.”

Florescent lights of the lms…

a lonely florescent breakfast

Yep, I love Jim Groom’s description of the florescent light of the LMS.

I completely support the concept of leaving the LMS behind when it is clunky or commercially cyborged. I truly understand the argument for the use of multiple tools and weaving together “whatever” works for instructors. Yet, is this expectation realistic? There are a handful of people I know who can do this…well. Other instructors need the well-structured universe of a standardized tool or “system.”

Good instructors take some risk, great instructors experiment and bring their students along with them. Unfortunately, I think that most people (students and instructors alike) feel that the stakes are too high to experiment. The student says, “I pay too much money for this.” (Whatever this is.) The instructor thinks, “I don’t want to look like a fool.” So, I think the edupunk movement has two-sides to the coin: instructor risk and student satisfaction.

My dilemma now that I am in an employee training field, is that we need to track employee course completion. Has the employee reviewed OMB circular A-21 or has she completed the necessary online training to handle radioactive material? How can we do this on an institutional scale where we can apply reporting and analytics to ensure that we have met the legal training requirements?

yay, legal documents!

Yet what is really interesting to consider is how the edupunk movement can evolve or expand employee training too, not just what we consider “standardized” k-12 education. Todd Hudson at the Maverick Institute considered this when he wrote the article “Lean Knowledge Transfer.”  How can we bring a new philosophy into training? He cites the lack of responsivity that formalized corporate training embodies. And that it is better to implement a “lean” approach where the learner is driving the experience.

I do think that the edupunk philosophy is critical to the advancement of education and should possibly be the foundation of all learning:

          1. Reaction against the commercialization of education

          2. DIY attitude

          3.Thinking and learning for yourself. (quoted from Wikipedia)

Ultimately, it probably is time for instructors to get some real-life sunshine and step out of the LMS’s artificial shadow.

“Quick” Learning on the Web

question from the audience

question from the audience

I attended UD’s First Friday Roundtable on Teaching on 10/5 (and had a blast, I might add!) about active learning techniques and my interest was piqued with the idea of “Bookending the Lecture.” Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to attend the mini-session to get the gist of what “Bookending” was all about.

For my blog post for #udsnf12 I will tell you about my online learning path to investigate this topic.

“Bookending the Lecture” where to start?

Initial Searches for 10-15 Minute Response Time

I came to absolute dead-ends at Class Central and Makerspace. However, when I looked at HowCast my return search topic was “How to Cast a Spell.” I thought this was interesting, but not quite on topic.

I finally went to google and found 23 results for “bookending the lecture.” The content returned was scholarly so I was able to build a foundation of how this engagement concept fits in with other strategies.

From here I decided to try YouTube with Zero results!

Searches for 1 Week Response Time  

calendar

a week or longer…

I then decided to go directly to the source and ask Kathy Pusecker, the director of the Center for Teaching and Assessment of Learning.

As I was waiting for Kathy’s email response, I went to the ASTD (American Society for Training and Development) web site. Again, searching specifically on “bookending the lecture” resulted in zero results. But then a little chat window popped up and asked if I wanted to chat! Well…yes, I did as a matter of fact. And, again, no resources for this very specific concept.

Now I am starting to feel like I am looking for the elusive Sasquatch.

I received an email back from Kathy and she pointed me to the Google docs they created for the event. At last, I can see the resources the Center for Teaching and Assessment of Learning used for this very specific topic. Now I have some resources to enable additional searching ideas.

I also went out on a limb and started a LinkedIn discussion with my ASTD group and asked the following question:

Have you used an active learning technique called “bookending the lecture?” If so, what activities did you incorporate?

And as of today, 10/15, five days later, I do not have any replies.

My takeaway from this exercise is that it is important to ask your community for help, even if you do not get a response. The point is to ask.